Nashville’s best breweries, ranked by a newbie*

*newbie to Nashville not to breweries (it's an important distinction to me)

I’ve been in Nashville for a little over three months and I’ve visited my fair share of breweries. Local spots with a good vibe and even better beer are must-haves for any city I call home, and with Nashville— I think I hit the jackpot. 

Just a few caveats to my reviews: first, I haven’t been to every brewery yet, so hopefully there are still a bunch out there that will shake up my list. Secondly, I work part-time at Tailgate Brewery, so I may be slightly biased— but on the other hand, I may be especially critical of it, making it’s top spot even more impressive. You decide…

5. Smith & Lentz Brewing Company

This East Nashville brewery is easy to miss. Just off Main Street, this brewery is a must-visit to drink like the locals. Their indoor taproom is a perfect place to watch the game, but if you ask me, the patio is the place to be. You will make several furry friends whilst drinking your brew at a picnic table. You can play corn hole or just enjoy the sunshine. 


My Favorite Beer: Mosaic Lite- Session Pale Ale
Biggest Plus:They experiment with a lot of fruit in their beers (like this banana one I had once), which I’m a big fan of. If that’s not your thing, they still have some pretty flavorful, non-fruity pours.
Least Ideal: Their growlers are very expensive. Since I don’t life over in East Nashville (for now), it’s hard for me to get there as often as I’d like. I’d love to have a growler at home, but damn, the prices are steep.

4. East Nashville Beer Works

Another East Nashville spot, but with a completely different vibe. ENBW’s outdoor space is the main draw, covered in the shade of big oaks in the summer and enclosed in a heated tent in the winter. The inside is smaller, but still, a cool place to hang out, with darts and TVs. Their food is better than you’d expect and unlike most places, they have parking.


My Favorite Beer: Miro Miel- Honey Blonde Ale
Biggest Plus: They don’t have an overwhelming selection so they’ve been able to really perfect each of their beers. I haven’t had a beer there I dislike, and they’re all inspired by (or made with) local ingredients, and their names reflect that. 
Least Ideal: Their brewing stations are tucked away out of plain sight, so it’s easy to feel like you’re at another bar. I’m always a sucker for a place that makes their brew lab the main focal point.

3. Fat Bottom Brewing

If you’re looking for a spot to park it for the afternoon and make drinking your main activity, Fat Bottom is the place to go. By far, it is my favorite brewery environment in Nashville. Their Hopyard is beautifully designed and you enjoy the casualness of a brewpub with the luxury of table service. Their inside seating is decorated to fit the vibe of their neighborhood, The Nations. There’s even a patio and rooftop deck to spread out wherever feels right. One of my favorite parts about Fat Bottom is the can artwork. They have a very distinctive look and brand, one that is evident and impressive on their products.


My Favorite Beer: W.A.C.- American Pale Ale
Biggest Plus: They’re off any major roads so sitting outside is a peaceful experience. There are plenty of places to sit and hang out for the day.
Least Ideal: They host guest taps and some of my favorite beers there have been their guests'. But I was sitting in a super cool hopyard while I did it.

2. Jackalope Brewing Company

Jackalope sometimes gets overshadowed by their neighbors (TN Brew Works and Yazoo are both a block away), but if you ask me, their beer is exponentially better. Their small, narrow taproom and joining patio space are intimate and usually filled with people just getting off work, or taking a break from their Saturday errands. Bonus: It’s attached to a cute coffee shop and has all the board games you’d ever like to play.


My Favorite Beer: Lovebird- Strawberry/Raspberry Hefeweizen
Biggest Plus: $10 growlers. That’s all.
Least Ideal: They don’t serve any food, but they’re opening a bigger location on August 25 and maybe have space for food trucks.

1. Tailgate Brewery

Yeah, you guessed it, I voted for my own employer, but with good reason! Tailgate is the whole package and IMHO is extremely overlooked. At any given time they have at least 25 beers on tap, along with a few of their own ciders. People are always surprised to learn that Tailgate makes all their beers they sell. Add in the fact that they have a full menu, including some bomb pizza and garlic knots, and you can basically park yourself there for the duration of the day without running out of beer to sample and snack to try. 


My Favorite Beer: Pina Colada IPA or Levi Gose
Biggest Plus: They release a new, experimental beer almost every week so there is always something new to try.
Least Ideal: Their main location is out in West Nashville, a bit of a hike from the city. It’s on a bunch of land and has great views, but can be a haul getting there. Their other location (where I work) is right off Music Row and is typically flooded with tourists. It’s not my ideal scene, but get a few beers and you’ll barely notice those visitors. 

The beer scene in Nashville is only growing and evolving, and for that, we’re pretty lucky. People here are passionate about beer, brewing techniques and making a name for Nashville. My favorite way to spend a Saturday afternoon is with a cold beer on a patio with my pup and friends. The options are endless in Music City. Cheers!

Did I miss your favorite brewery? Comment below and tell me where/what beer I have to try!