Wednesday, November 25, 2015

BEER SPOTLIGHT: Highland Brewing Company's Black Watch Double Chocolate Milk Stout

By Matt Kelsey

Black Friday ushers in the second Warrior Series release by Highland Brewing Company with Black Watch, a double chocolate milk stout named after Scotland’s historic military regiment that protected the Highlands. Be on the lookout for this high-gravity limited release on Friday, November 27, which displays the brewery’s intent to experiment with bolder styles and higher-gravity beers.

Black Watch combines more than 100 pounds of cacao nibs with five malts, roasted barley and flaked oats to create a rich ale reminiscent of brownie batter and marshmallows, with an aromatic nose and lingering dark-chocolate finish. This beer pairs well with beef BBQ, English cheddar, chili or any of your favorite sweets.

“We plan to release four Warrior Series brews in 2016,” said Highland Brewing Company President Leah Wong Ashburn. “The excitement about these beers runs through the whole company. Releasing pilot-system favorites on a bigger scale and developing new recipes shares our most talked-about beers with more people.”

Black Watch Notes:

ABV: 8.0%
IBU: 45
Hops: Chinook & Willamette
Grist: 2-Row Base, Munich Dark, Chocolate Malt, Carafa II, Roast Barley, Honey Malt, & Flaked Oats

Friday, November 6, 2015

Bell's Brewery Nashville Launch Week

In June we announced Bell's Brewery's plans to distribute to Tennessee.  We're excited to say that the wait is over... errr, almost.  Beginning next week, Bell's award winning brews will be available in Middle Tennessee and they're celebrating their arrival with an extended schedule of launch parties.

Here is the full line up:

MONDAY - 11/9 

Craft Brewed Nashville - 2 PM
2502 Franklin Pike
Nashville, TN 37204

Crowler/Growler Tap Takeover and Pint Special
Fill a crowler or growler to go, enjoy pints and join fellow imbibers in giving thanks that Bell's brews are here in Tennessee!


#EastNashville Bell's Pub Crawl - 5 PM

Stroll around the Five Points neighborhood while enjoying Bell's beers at five locations including 14 taps at Five Points Pizza!

3 Crow Bar
1024 Woodland Street
Nashville, TN 37206

Beyond The Edge
112 S. 11th Street
Nashville, TN 37206

Five Points Pizza
1012 Woodland Street
Nashville, TN 37206

Red Door Saloon East LLC
1010 Forrest Ave
Nashville, TN 37206

Tenn 16 - Tenn Sixteen
1016 Woodland Street
Nashville, TN 37206


Flying Saucer Nashville - 5 PM
111 10th Avenue S #310
Nashville, TN 37203

Bell's Night at Flying Saucer
Enjoy Bell's pints at one of downtown Nashville's craft beer oases, take home some gear and cheer the arrival of Bell's in Tennessee!


TUESDAY - 11/10

Broadway Brewhouse Midtown
1900 Broadway
Nashville, TN 37203

Bell's Tap Feature
Enjoy Bell's arrival in Tennessee at one of Nashville's original craft beer purveyors!


#12South Bell's All Day Pub Crawl

Walk up 12South while enjoying Bell's brews along the way finishing at 12South Taproom with 16 Bell's drafts flowing!

Sloco/The Meet Room's Sammie and a Sip - 11 AM
Sloco/The Meet Room
2905 12th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37212

Start the day with a Smoked Whole Hog Sammie and a pint of Bell's Amber for $12!

The Filling Station Growler & Pint Special - 12 PM
The Filling Station
1118 Halcyon
Nashville, TN 37212

Fill a $10 growler, buy package, and enjoy Bell's pints for $1 off!

Frothy Monkey Taps Two Hearted Ale - 2 PM
Frothy Monkey
2509 12th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37212

Sip $5 pints of Bell's famous IPA and enjoy a paired food special!

12South Taproom Rings 16 Bell's! - 5 PM
12 South Taproom & Grill
2318 12th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37212

Bell's beers will be available throughout the day, culminating with 16 drafts flowing at 5pm!


Downtown Franklin Bell's Pub Crawl

Always a great place to take a stroll, Downtown Franklin will be made even nicer by enjoying Bell's brews along the way!

55 South
403 Main Street
Franklin, TN 37064

Frothy Monkey, Downtown Franklin
125 5th Ave
Franklin, TN 37064

Mellow Mushroom Franklin
317 Main Street #100
Franklin, TN 37064


Hops & Crafts - 5 PM
319 12th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37203

Tap Takeover in The Gulch
Hops & Crafts is setting the bar high in The Gulch offering 1/2 price Bell's pints!



Frugal MacDoogal Wine & Liquor Warehouse - 4 - 6 PM
701 Division Street
Nashville, TN 37203

Growler Tap Takeover & Sampling
Welcome Bell's Brewing to Tennessee with the Frugal MacDougal team! Growlers and package available!


THURSDAY - 11/12

4 - 6 PM Tastings

Midtown Wine & Spirits
610 Church St
Nashville, TN 37203

Providence Wine & Spirits
1986 Providence West Parkway
Mt. Juliet, TN 37122

Red Dog Wine and Spirits
Franklin Marketplace
1031 Riverside Drive
Franklin, TN 37064

Whole Foods Market Green Hills
4021 Hillsboro Pike
Nashville, TN 37215

Woodland Wine Merchant
1001 Woodland Street
Nashville, TN 37206


Acme Feed & Seed - 6 PM
101 Broadway
Nashville, TN 37201

2nd Floor Tap Takeover, Meet Laura Bell!
Thank Laura Bell in person for bringing her company's fantastic brews to Nashville! Pints are $1 off and high fives are free!

Homegrown Taproom & Marketplace - 6 PM
2720 Old Lebanon Road
Donelson, TN 37214

Check out Donelson's newest hip spot while enjoying pints of Bell's and merch giveaways!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Previewing the Green Hills Brew Fest

By Matt Kelsey

Sips and sounds will be celebrated at the 2015 Green Hills Brew Fest.

Middle Tennessee’s first boutique beer festival aims to become a community gathering celebrating great drinks, music and local cheer on Saturday, November 7th from 2 P.M. to 7 P.M. at The Greenhouse Bar, with concerts to follow. This inaugural beer festival will feature 30 breweries, more than 100 taps of craft beer, artisan cocktails and live music throughout the day.

Prepare to sample some of the best local and nationwide seasonal brews and spirits while enjoying the music of Party of Five at the festival. There will be giveaways, party favors, drink specials, artisan crafts and a photo booth, along with yard games and interactive experiences for all to enjoy. Immediately following the brew fest, all attendees will receive access to the night’s concerts, which will run from 7:30 P.M. until 11 P.M. featuring Fly Golden Eagle, Escondido, Alanna Royale, and Maradeen.

What’s the background behind this event? How did it get started?“The event background is primarily my company’s footprint in the Green Hills space, for the last five years. (We produce the annual New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day parties in Green Hills at The Greenhouse.) There is a certain age group that attends these events and an even larger demographic that does not attend, as the average age at the NYE and St. Pat’s party is in their early 20s. There’s nothing wrong with that demographic at all, but for Green Hills Brew Fest, our focus was to tap into the neighborhood and community that makes up Green Hills and develop an event that would bring the community together, to steer away from the ‘party’ atmosphere that we’ve created and give the native Green Hills community something that can be their own. The goal is to have two installments per year: A Fall and Spring edition of the festival to tap into the seasonal elements of each.”

This is the inaugural Green Hills Brew Fest. What can attendees expect?“Attendees can expect something for everyone. Brew festivals have largely become popular in the Middle Tennessee area and we want to give attendees the ‘big festival’ experience in an intimate setting. We will also have artisan cocktails for guests to sample, as well as full-service bars. If you are tired of sampling super crafty brews from around the country and just want your standard Jack and Coke, you’ll be able to have that in this space. We will be adding a mixture of local food and spirits, as well as local arts and crafts vendors. We are in Music City, so we cannot forget about the music. For the main portion of the 2 P.M. to 7 P.M. brew fest, we will have an ’80s and ’90s Top 40 revival band performing live. This will be sure to cover a large array of genres that people will be sure to enjoy. Live music will make all of the samples and environment that much easier to enjoy.”

The Green Hills Brew Fest is a unique event. How is it different from other beer festivals?“This event will be different from other events mainly because of its size and location. We are bringing some big-name breweries to the platform with brew reps to be on site explaining how their beers are made etc., while having this happen in a intimate environment. Beyond that, we are implementing a full-scale concert with nationally recognized talent to follow the brew fest itself, that every attendee gets to be a part of for free. We are also peppering in local spirits and artisan cocktails that will be sampled alongside the brew samples all day, as well as full-service bars. The concert will also be ticketed separately for non brew fest attendees to come and be a part of.”

A variety of craft beer will be on tap. How were the brands selected for the event?“The brands that were selected were done collectively with Green Hills Brew Fest staff. The goal is to implement new additions and brands that aren’t necessarily easy to find. We do have some special brews that will be coming to the festival that are not advertised.”

Are tickets still available? What’s exclusive for VIP ticket holders?“There are tickets still available. VIP will allow guests one hour early entry, as well as a designated area with private bar, separate breweries not available anywhere else in the festival and private separate restrooms.”

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
“This is a one-of-a-kind festival and we are really wanting to focus on the community and make this something the neighborhood of Green Hills can make their own. This is something special that one of the oldest neighborhoods in Nashville can now call theirs. It’s a big festival in a small setting. Lots of value and plenty of memories to be made. A full day of sips and sounds.” 

To purchase your tickets, visit the Green Hills Brew Fest website here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Beer with a Brewmaster: Linus Hall of Yazoo Brewing Company

By Matt Kelsey

When people mention Nashville craft beer, one of the first modern-day breweries to come to mind is usually Yazoo. Middle Tennessee is currently enjoying a thriving craft-beer scene and the brewery has helped foster that prosperous culture throughout the years. After outgrowing its original headquarters at Marathon Motor Works, Yazoo Brewing Company moved into its current downtown location and Linus Hall, the co-founder and brewmaster of Yazoo Brewing Company, has been prospering ever since. At the Music City Food + Wine Festival, I visited with Mr. Hall to discuss how he got started as a brewer, the overall Nashville craft-beer scene and how he began to Embrace the Funk.

How did you get your start, as a brewer?
Well, it’s a pretty typical story. I started homebrewing in college, when I was at the University of Virginia, back in the ’90s. I ended up in Nashville, working at a tire company. I was homebrewing on the weekends, giving away all the beer I was making. I couldn’t possibly drink it all. This was back in the day when maybe Sierra Nevada and Flying Dog were the only brands of craft beer you could get, around here. A lot of people would try it and thought it was good. They would say, ‘Maybe you should quit that tire job and start your own brewery.’ Once that idea gets planted in your head, it’s pretty tough to get it out. I remember talking to my wife about how cool it would be to start a brewery, as we were walking in Shelby Park, and she said, ‘Either do it or shut up. I am so tired of hearing you talk about it. Quit your job. I’ll support you and it’ll all be great.'”

“I went back to school and I got a business degree at Vanderbilt and then I went to the American Brewers Guild program, which ended up with an internship. I pestered Garrett Oliver, up at Brooklyn Brewery, for about six months. I sent him this letter and he wasn’t really responding, but I’d been up to visit his brewery, because my little sister lived in New York City for a while. We had dinner reservations and I had just gotten my last beer at the brewery. My wife told me we had to go, but I couldn’t chug the beer. This was a really good beer. I kind of stuck it underneath my coat and I’m walking down through Brooklyn with an open beer. We get to the subway and it’s deserted, but this guy sees me drink it. He says, ‘You don’t want to be drinking out here. You’ll get a huge ticket. They might even throw you in jail.’ So, I put it down and walked away from it. We’re waiting for the L train and I keep looking over at it. So, I walked over, picked up the beer, took one more sip and the guy who warned me was a transit cop. About the time I was pestering Garrett for an internship, there, I get this letter that’s garnishing my wages for this drinking-a-beer-on-the-subway ticket. I wrote him a letter and photocopied it. I told him, ‘At least let me pay this stupid fine in person, because it’s your beer that caused it.’ It was a good start.”

“That was right when 9/11 happened. It was an interesting, horrible time to be there. I learned an awful lot, came back and realized Nashville had some really good brewpubs. We had Boscos and Blackstone, but you couldn’t get that same quality of beer out in a restaurant or on the shelves of a store. That might be a niche that we could do. We could do small batches and package it. People would support it, if it was good. We found our old location, at Marathon Motor Works. We kind of boot-strapped our way into it. Me and my Father-In-Law did everything that we could do without having to get a permit for. We started with draft only, delivering kegs out of the back of my pickup truck. I would go out with growlers and if I got a sale, I’d be back that night, with a keg. We did that for about a year. We got to about 1,500 barrels or so and then we realized we couldn’t keep doing it all by ourselves. So, we signed with a distributor, Lipman Brothers. They’ve done a good job. They know how to build small brands, be patient and let them grow as they need to grow.”

You’ve been in Nashville during the craft-beer dark days. What it was like, back then?
“Well, it’s like that joke in The Blues Brothers. I’d go into a bar and they’d say, ‘We’ve already have all four kinds of beer. We’ve got Bud Light, Coors Light, Miller Light and Heineken. Where does yours fit in?’ Well, mine has hops. It really was like that. Definitely, the consumers were further ahead of the restaurants and retailers. Every day was teaching and learning and trying to educate people. That’s why I think Nashville is a really collaborative beer scene, because we’ve all had that experience. We’re trying to educate people and bring them into the fold. We’re not really competing against each other as much as we’re trying to get people who naturally ask for your lightest beer to enjoy flavor.”

Can you tell me a little about your flagship beers?
“On the Yazoo side, definitely the Pale Ale and Dos Perros make up a big chunk of our sales. For people who like a little sweeter finish, Dos Perros satisfies that and for people who like a more balanced hoppy beer, they like that as well, with our pale ale. In the summer, our Hefeweizen picks up and does really well and then we’ve started doing a lot more seasonals. We’ve got four or five seasonals that we’re doing now.”

Can you tell me a little about your current Fall seasonal beer?
“It’s a Oktoberfest-style German lager. It’s got lots of Munich malts and some traditional German hops. It’s lagered for a long time with German yeasts, so it’s got a real clean, crisp finish at the end of it.”

Will Yazoo release a winter seasonal?
“After the Fall Seasonal, we’ll release a Winter Seasonal that we call a Scotch Ale. It’s got a lot of Maris Otter malts, nice rich biscuity malt with a little bit of dark crystal malts. So, it’s got a rich, bread-y, almost toffee flavor, to it. We’re looking at probably doing a fifth seasonal, around January and February. If it works out right, we’re probably going to do a Pilsner, that we’ve got a couple of different recipes we’re working on.”

How did you initially get involved with brewing Gerst beer?
“It was fun. A local family — the Chandler family — owns The Gerst Haus, as well as all the Sportsman’s Grilles and a few other things. I was actually helping them put in a draft system at the Sportsman’s Grille in Hillsboro Village and got to talking to them about Gerst. They were having problems finding a brewery to brew it for them. They were kind of floating around between Evansville Brewery, up in Indiana that went out of business and Pittsburgh Brewing was doing it for them, but it was always variable in quality. I was talking to Jerry Chandler and told him that beer deserves to be brewed in Nashville and if we ever had the capacity, I’d love to do it for him. When we moved into our new brewery and I called him up and told him I thought we had enough capacity to add another brand. So, we jumped on it.”

“We didn’t have much to go off of. He wanted an easy-drinking Amber ale. We looked around for some recipes that they had, but nothing really jumped out. I just started doing some test batches and we found one that we really liked and I thought would historically accurate to that time. It uses a little bit of flaked corn and some German hops. We ferment it cool, so it resembles a lager, but it uses our ale yeasts. I thought we would just brew it for their restaurants, but then some people started asking us to bottle it and now it’s probably our fourth best seller. We sell beer down in Mississippi and nobody’s ever heard of Gerst there, but it’s a big seller down there, too. We tapped the first cask at the old Gerst Haus and we invited the mayor to come down. Karl Deen tapped the first cask, had the first pint and said, ‘This is a great time to celebrate Nashville, because we’re tying together our old history of brewing with our current history.’ It was neat.”

I’m a huge fan of your Embrace the Funk program. Can you tell me a little about its direction?
“I love those styles of beer. My wife and I came back from a trip to Belgium awe-inspired by it. I’d known Brandon Jones for a long time and we thought, ‘Somebody’s going to do this, let’s do it ourselves.’ He had started the Website, Embrace the Funk, where he was trying to teach people about these beers. It was an extension of what I said before: We were always trying to turn people onto new things and this was something we really loved and wanted people to experience. It’s grown from just a few barrels above the brewery to a dedicated Funk House that’s about 6,000 square feet. It’s just a big concrete bunker. We’ve got a new 40-barrel foeder. We’ve got some consecutive releases of our Flanders Red aged in wine barrels called Deux Rouges. We’ve got a bunch of stuff going on. It’s just been a lot of fun.”

I heard a rumor you left some equipment when Yazoo moved, that’s currently being used by Corsair.  Is that true?
“Yeah. Corsair started in Bowling Green, because they couldn’t operate a distillery in Tennessee. They had to get the laws changed, first. While they were waiting on that, they were having different people make their wash for them. I met Andrew Webber and basically, he wanted to make a 100 percent rye beer that they would turn into their rye whiskey. So, we made their first-ever 100 percent rye beer. It was awful. It was the worst experience, ever. When we finally pumped it over into his truck, to take it back to Bowling Green, we thought it would make the worst whiskey in the world. They won all kinds of awards for it. So, when they were looking at setting up in Nashville, we were looking at moving into our current location. It just worked out great that they took over our lease and some of our old equipment. Our 10-barrel system and I think some of our fermenters are still there, because to make whiskey, you make beer, first. It’s basically unhopped beer first, then you ferment it. Get the alcohol, run it through the whiskey stills and then put it in barrels.”

“Not a lot of people know this, but when we were making our first Embrace the Funk Deux Rouges batch, we didn’t want to make a 40-barrel batch until we were sure we had the recipe right. So, we asked Corsair if we could come over and brew on our old system. We made a 10-barrel batch and that was our very first batch of Deux Rouges. Now, it’s kind of funny, because some of the funk that we had, over at Marathon, has been moved into our barrels. I had pretty vivid flashbacks of brewing there, back in the day. It was a challenging environment to make beer in an old building. It’s a fun place to drink a beer, but it was a tough place to have a brewery.”

To what do you attribute the booming craft-beer scene of Nashville?
“Nashville’s like a lot of small towns, knitted together. It’s really a chef-driven environment. When somebody has something good going on, a lot of people know about it. When we would get a tap somewhere, the next thing I know, so-and-so’s friend would say, ‘I heard you’re selling a lot of Pale Ale. I’d love to try it at our place.’ That’s been the secret to Nashville’s rise, as a food town. Everybody knows everybody else and what’s going on. They’re collaborating and it’s not a cut-throat environment. That kind of lends itself to the craft-beer scene. The way to get Southerners to try a good beer is with food. We have a great food culture, but we never had a brewery culture. If you’re trying to get someone to try your India Pale Ale and it pairs well with a meal, it’s a match made in heaven. That’s why, I think, a lot of the small breweries, here, have a really tight relationship with with a lot of the chefs in town. You can see, at an event like this, how chefs love to support the local breweries. It was almost unheard of, five or six years ago, to have a place that opened with 12 taps. ‘How are you going to sell all of that beer?’ Now, you have places that only serve local beer on tap, with one from each brewery. It’s crazy, when you think about it.”

Does Yazoo sponsor a lot of beer dinners?
“We do. That’s definitely a good way to introduce yourself to a new market. We don’t do as much, here, in Nashville, as we did when we first started, but if we’re in Knoxville or Memphis, that’s a great way to show the wide range of flavors your beers can have and how they can pair really well with different things.”

What does the remainder of 2015 bring for Yazoo?
“We’re hoping to wrap up the year strong. We’re excited about finishing up our Fall Seasonal and starting up our Winter Seasonal. We’re going to be expanding, hopefully, pretty rapidly, again, next year. We’ve got a new bottling line and labeler coming on line. It’s kind of that time again, where we’ve got to spend some more money and buy some more equipment to try keep up, which is fun. It seems like, when you’re a small brewery owner, and you talk to others, it never ends. You’re always having to buy more stuff to keep up, which is a good problem to have, but it’s always a challenge.”

Are there any current plans to can your beer?
“Canning is an option and we’re looking at probably either a mobile-canning guy or there’s a co-op idea that hopefully will come to fruition, to where you can bring your beer to that location and have them can it. The problem we have now is we don’t physically have space, anymore, to do it, so we would have to find a third way to do it.”

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
“People always ask, ‘How many breweries can Nashville support?’ To me, the more the merrier, to a certain point, but I don’t think we’re anywhere close to a saturation point. If you go to Seattle, you don’t say, ‘How many coffee shops can they possibly support?’ If we have too many, the ones that aren’t doing a good job — as far as beer or letting people know where they are — probably won’t survive. I think with the ones we have now, everybody’s doing their own thing and making some interesting, good beers. I don’t think we’re anywhere near a saturation point. It hasn’t hurt us, or any of the existing breweries, at all, having more and more people coming on line.”

For more information about Yazoo Brewing Company, visit their website here.

Friday, October 23, 2015

What’s Brewing at Mantra Artisan Ales

By Matt Kelsey

When a celebrity chef joins forces with a mad-scientist brewmaster, the results will surely create a craft-beer paradise.

Comprised of Maneet Chauhan, Derrick Morse, Vivek Deora, Kaleigh Morse and Chad Frost, Mantra Artisan Ales will open its doors in Franklin, TN on November 13th, 2015. The brewery will offer bold new flavors by infusing spices into their high-quality craft beers, something which is long overdue for the craft-beer scene in Middle Tennessee. Not long ago, I visited the brewery to chat with brewers Derrick Morse and Chad Frost in order to discuss their plans for the soon-to-be opened brewery.

Housed in the former location of Turtle Anarchy Brewing Company, Mantra Artisan Ales will feature a total of 24 tap handles, which will include their craft beer, along with three non-alcoholic drink options. Nine to 10 of those handles will pour sour beers, two will be small-batch beers, two more will pour craft sodas, one will pour a nitro coffee and and the remainder of the taps will pour year-round and seasonal beers. Upcoming plans also include infusing different ingredients into a variety of their beers, much like how New Belgium blends their Oscar and Felix base beers to create new beers.
“Once Nashville grabs ahold of this brand, they’ll start to see what I truly wanted to do, when I first moved here three-and-a half years ago,” said Morse.

A good chunk of Mantra’s start-up cost went into packaging and supplies for their beer. As soon as the doors to the brewery open, three of their year-round beers will be available via six packs, including Saffron Cardamom IPA, Avec Moi (a light Belgian sour pale ale) and Amour Rouge (a dark Flanders).

The brewers don’t plan on bottling full batches, but up to 25 percent of the first few batches of beer will go into packaging, as the brewery builds up shelf space for their accounts. Mantra beer will be self-distributed within Williamson County, mainly because it’s the brewery’s home turf and it gives the ability for the owners to walk into different locations to show that they care about the area and the beer. Outside Williamson, the brewery will be distributed through Best Brands, which is a new endeavor for both parties involved.

Big plans are in store for the brewery’s taproom, which will receive a virtual face lift. Brewmaster Derrick Morse continues:

“Our commitment to Williamson County and our commitment to our taproom is pretty dramatic. We want to put a lot of time and effort and money in and make sure that our space, here, is very inviting.” Taproom hours will be longer than those previously used by Turtle Anarchy. Starting out, the brewery will be open five days a week, eventually moving to seven days a week as business picks up. The owners are making sure the aesthetic and furniture of the taproom will be warm and inviting, not industrial. There will be couch seating and space for board games to be enjoyed by guests. Morse is hopeful to have a couple of arcade games at the back of the brewery. He is currently seeking help from a couple of nonprofit organizations to work with the brewery. All profits from the arcade games would go directly to the nonprofit.

Morse is taking the mentality of what he learned from Twisted Pine on the production side, pulling from a lot of the elements he wanted to implement at Cool Springs Brewery for the taproom and utilizing the experience and knowledge of Kaleigh’s background of running a taproom at both Left Hand and Black Abbey, which gives them a great ability to create the 5,500 square-foot space that craft-beer fans will truly enjoy.

“We feel as confident as anyone, to be able to drop into some of the higher beer-IQ markets, like Portland, Oregon or Asheville, North Carolina,” said Morse. “We feel the brand and the beer would stand up to any of the brands at their location. We want to bring that to the Nashville market. I think we that we were accomplishing that goal at CSB, we just didn’t have the ability to push the product as much as we can, here. We obviously have tanks that are four times the size and a space that is 20 times the size. Instead of a narrow scope, we can then broaden it and drive the price point down with the same style of liquid that we were doing. That gives us the ability to broaden our reach a little bit and gain some notoriety for the Nashville market.”

“We really would love to see Nashville to be the next Asheville and for the rest of the United States not to look at Middle Tennessee as this black hole for good beer. I think the last time I looked, we were ranked 27th in the nation for beer produced, but I don’t see any reason why we can’t push that up to the higher levels. We’re never going to match California or Washington. Colorado’s economical impact was $2.7 billion last year. They have a lot of breweries. We may never catch that, but we can be surpass Georgia and other surrounding areas and become the craft-beer destination of the Southeast.”

Chad Frost joins Morse as a brewer at Mantra. Mr. Frost originally grew up in New England, but has since lived in Texas and Tennessee. He originally began brewing ciders, before moving into homebrewing beer and eventually interning for Morse at Cool Springs Brewery. I spoke to him about working with Morse at Mantra.

After interning with Derrick, what brought you back to work with him again?
“Well, I had a very cushy job, before I started my internship with Derrick. I learned very quickly that his scope of knowledge and enthusiasm for beer went far beyond mine, in the homebrewing realm. By the end of my internship, Derrick told me he couldn’t hire me, but I could get a job at another brewery or go get educated. So, I looked into schools and he had always spoken highly of the VLB, in Berlin. I went home and mulled it over and decided this was the industry I wanted to be in and this where I wanted my life to go. It was Derrick’s enthusiasm that I really fed off of. He was a great mentor, all the way through my program in Germany. When I came back, I never found a brewery that really screamed, ‘This is the place for me.’ I stuck around and started working on an idea of starting a brewery here, in town and then it seemed like the dominoes started falling. Everything was very serendipitous. I was introduced to Vivek and Maneet through Derrick and we all just clicked.”

“As a former intern now working with him, after my education, I feel like Derrick and I speak the same language now. It changed our working relationship, to such a degree, because he could spend less time telling me every scientific process that’s going on and instead we combine our knowledge and our education in the pursuit to create things that maybe people haven’t seen before or haven’t seen in a long time. He talks about how Nashville is a young and blossoming beer town. I’m excited to be within the foundation of that continual evolution of the beer spectrum here. We’re projecting it’s going be a very IPA-heavy town, for a while, since the craft industry is just blossoming. As the pallets adapt and as people become more exposed to different types of beer, we’ll gain more appreciation for sours, high-gravity Belgians, which are Derrick’s milieu. I’m hoping to take the education that I got and build upon his profile and create our own, as a brewery and not just as individual brewers.”

The brewery is planning to implement a loyalty membership program for its customers and the company has its sights set on participating in the upcoming Guildfest beer festival as the brewery’s first official event. Big things are definitely in store for Mantra Artisan Ales and Middle Tennessee can’t wait for the brewery to open its doors to the public.

For more information about Mantra Artisan Ales, visit their website here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Previewing the 2015 GuildFest

By Matt Kelsey

Craft-beer fans, prepare your palates for a variety of beer styles and support your local breweries at the 2015 GuildFest, which happens this weekend. The second-annual beer festival is presented by the Tennessee Craft Brewers Guild, which celebrates Tennessee beers on Saturday, October 24th from 3 P.M. to 7 P.M. at Little Harpeth Brewing: 301 Oldham Street, Nashville, TN 37213.

With more than 25 breweries from across the state participating in the festival, attendees will get to sample beers from Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga and Knoxville… and everywhere in between. Each brewery will offer unique craft beers, including small batches, limited releases and their latest seasonal beers. In addition to those beers, all of the Middle Tennessee breweries will feature a special one-of-a-kind beer that won’t be available at any other festival!

General-admission tickets are $45 and are available for purchased online.

“This festival is unique, in that it’s actually put on by the brewers, who are excited to be there, showing off our newest creations,” said Guild President, Bailey Spaulding (of Jackalope Brewing Company). “We will all be there having fun, enjoying each others’ brews, along with the festival-goers.”

Proceeds from the festival will benefit The Tennessee Craft Brewers Guild, which promotes and protects all of the craft breweries throughout the Volunteer State. Founded in 2011, the Guild has helped pass legislation to make the state friendlier to the growing craft-beer industry. Make sure to help out this worthy cause and help promote the local breweries by attending GuildFest and drinking locally made craft beer this weekend!

For a list of participating Tennessee breweries, please visit the Tennessee Craft Brewers Facebook page.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Previewing the 2015 Nashville Beer Festival

By Matt Kelsey

The forecast for East Nashville includes costumes and craft beer when the fifth-annual Nashville Beer Festival returns to East Park on Saturday, October 17th from 2 to 8 PM.
There will be food, fun and football, along with prizes awarded to the participants of the event’s costume contest. Benefiting the Children’s Tumor Foundation, The Nashville Beer Festival features craft beer, spirits, wine, more than 100 games of all kinds, a costume contest with more than 100 winners and music by DJ Leo.

The beer festival will feature about 40 breweries with more than 100 taps of craft beer, as well as liquor vendors, including Blue Chair Bay rum, Patron Tequila, Old Forester and Woodford Reserve bourbon.

The organizers of this event welcome everyone from the community. In fact, they state this is the only beer festival in town to offer comped or discounted tickets, in addition to the admission that’s priced 25 percent lower than other beer festivals held around town.

General admission and VIP tickets are still available for the event, with VIP ticket holders entering one hour earlier, but make sure you grab them before they disappear. Tickets have sold out every year.

For more information, visit the Nashville Beer Festival website here.