The state of Tennessee is known more for whiskey, namely Jack Daniels, but it might surprise visitors to know that it’s become a hub for craft beer as well.
From Nashville to Memphis and Chattanooga to the Smokies, you’re sure to find a good pint at independent breweries in every corner of the state.
Oddstory Brewing Company
A surprising brew town is Chattanooga, an often overlooked destination for travelers. Many of the breweries, including OddStory Brewing Company, are within walking distance from one another, an ideal situation for beer lovers.
Founded by a local homebrewer, their downtown taproom is full of light, covered with plants and open windows. They also have a food menu of light bites.
The 1,400-square foot brewery with a barrel brewhouse and fermenting vessels was backed by Kickstarter in 2016. Their stable of year-round beers includes a pale ale, Belgian blonde, and Vienna lager. All beers use water from the Tennessee River.
Beer to Try: The saison packs a lot of flavor if you’re looking for something other than a light brew.
Hutton & Smith Brewing Company
Located just across the street, the cozy Hutton & Smith Brewing Co. draws their inspiration from the world of rock climbing. The rotating selection of beers is named for elements like the Belayer’s Blonde and Bivouac Black IPA. The brewery is even named for the founding fathers of the field of geology.
Early backers received hand-thrown pottery mugs that hang above the bar. Climbing ropes and other accessories decorate the taproom.
Beer to Try: Moh’s Mandarina is the perfect way to cool off from the Tennessee humidity with equal parts hops and tart.
Located in South Knoxville, Alliance Brewing is the perfect stopover for those exploring the nearby public parks and greenways. It has a large patio and indoor space to enjoy your brews.
Speaking of beer, the brewery has a little bit of everything from sours to IPAs to brown ales. They also have crowlers if you want to grab beer to enjoy as you paddle down the river.
Beer to Try: The Paloma Gose is a tart treat for sour beer lovers.
Pretentious Beer Co.
Despite the name, the folks at Pretentious Beer Co. are anything but. The company started with master glassblower Matthew Cummings, who created artisan beer glasses.
From there, he made the beer to fill them, starting as a homebrewer and expanding into the Old City location with a taproom and glass blowing studio.
Beer to Try: There are no “flagship” beers as everything is made every few weeks. Try the quirkiest sounding item on the menu!
Printshop Beer Co.
Printshop Beer Co. is conveniently located in South Knoxville across the street from the Tennessee River. As the name implies, it’s set in a former printing shop.
The brewery crafts American-style beers like IPAs and red ales. Don’t miss the mural outside, which honors the passage fo the 19th amendment.
Beer to Try: Tropical Lullaby is a double IPA with cashmere hops.
Memphis might be known for its music and ribs, but there’s a great beer scene popping up as well. Wiseacre Brewing is located in the Binghamton neighborhood but they also have an outpost downtown.
Opened by two brothers, their taproom is the best place to enjoy their wide range of beers, including stouts and IPAs, as well as to get cans to take home.
Beer to Try: Tiny Bomb is one of their most popular beers, an American pilsner that is easy to sip.
Yazoo Brewing Company
Nashville has become a surprising beer city, home to nearly a dozen microbreweries. Yazoo Brewing Company is one of the oldest and most well-known since 2003.
Named for the river in the Mississippi Delta, their beers have gone on to win countless awards. Located in the Gulch, the Yazoo brewery has a 40 barrel brewhouse and taproom offering their year-round and specialty brews.
Beer to Try: Dos Perros is a personal favorite as it can be difficult to find outside of Tennessee. The malty and hoppy brew is inspired by both Austrian and Mexican ales.
Other Tennessee Breweries
Common John Brewing, Manchester
Located in the small town of Manchester, home to Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, is Common John Brewing, inspired by the common man (or person). Opened by a former homebrewer in the midst of the pandemic, the space is a former roofing company building. The brewery is furnished with reclaimed items like tractor bodies used for tables.
The brewery carries the beers made in house, using Tennessee grains, along with other regional guest taps. There’s a mug club for frequent visitors to get more beer for their money. The food menu includes flatbreads, wings, and sandwiches. There are also games for kids to enjoy and live music.
Beer to Try: Straight & Narrow is a golden ale that is the most popular selection, easy to drink.
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