After spending time in Nashville, we made our way down to Memphis in order to visit with the owners of Wiseacre, brothers Kellan and Davin Bartosch. They were not open to the public that day, so we spent some time chatting with them about their brewery and their different beers. Following that, Davin walked us around the facility and told us all about his previous experiences with brewing (including stints at the Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago, IL & Doemen’s Academy in Munich, Germany) as well as the current methods he uses at Wiseacre. The brewery has amazing artwork on the walls and keeps things fun by hosting activities like karaoke, foosball, and an Oktoberfest. Their beer can only be found in Memphis currently, so if you want to pick up some cans, bottles, or growlers, you’ll need to visit the area to do so (and we recommend you do). Ananda IPA and Tiny Bomb American Pilsner are the two staples that can be found year-round, but they offer a ton of other specialty beers throughout the year that you won’t want to miss out on!
After leaving Jackalope Brewing Company in Nashville, TN, we drove a whole quarter of a mile down the road to meet with the people of Yazoo. Neil McCormick, who is their Sales and Marketing Manager, spent a significant amount of time with us showing off the brewery and going into detail about what makes Yazoo unique. Afterwards, he even acted as our tour guide of the city which made our time there about 10-fold better than most other places we have been. Below we go into detail about all of the events they hold (like Embrace the Funk and an adult-sized big wheel competition), the past, present, and future state of their business, beers, and much more. We cannot thank everyone at Yazoo enough for such a great time and hope to come back soon!
As we neared the end of our fourth month on the road, we made the trek from Louisville, KY down to Nashville, TN and met with the owners and staff of Jackalope Brewing Company on a hot Tuesday afternoon. We spent some time talking to them about their business, indulged in some of their brews including Thunder Ann American Pale Ale fresh off the canning line, and then they let us have some of the pizza they had ordered! Jackalope was the first all-female owned brewery in Tennessee and Robyn Virball & Bailey Spaulding have done some amazing things with their business, with the help of Steve Wright who was brought on as a third owner. This brewery was also the first one to use cans in Nashville, comes out with new rotators every 6 weeks or so, holds multiple events throughout the year (including an anniversary celebration and a Bruce Springsteen-focused festival), and also shares their building with a coffee shop. Under the slogan ‘Drink Legendary’ they have been able to brew a plethora of unique beer options for you to enjoy, so be sure to drop in and say hi when you’re in town checking out the capital of Tennessee – America at its best.
On the afternoon of Thursday, 2/20/14, we made the short drive from the library to Saw Works Brewing Company in Knoxville’s warehouse district where we met with their sales manager – Knoxville native and graduate of the local University of Tennessee – Will Sherrod. As necessary before any tour of a brewery, we began in ‘The Mill’, the company’s taproom, and started off with a taste of the current flagships – the English Pale Ale and Brown Ale. The business was started by President and Co-Founder, Adam Palmer, in partnership with his cousin, Johnathan Borsodi, after Adam moved to the area from Chicago in 2009. Saw Works is the city’s only current production brewery and is in a building that once housed the region’s largest industrial saw blade sharpening company, Wallace Saw Works. The brewery wanted a name that provided a sense of place and began operations in 2010 as Marble City Brewing Co. After a legal battle was instigated by Marble Brewery in Albequerque, NM, the company started over in May 2012 and rebranded themselves under the current name. This rebranding included a fresh start with a new beer line-up from a new brewer, Dave Ohmer, who had 10 years of experience brewing at Woodruff Brewing Co in nearby downtown Knoxville. With a focus on traditional English styles, their current motto is “Traditional beers brewed for today”, however, the brewing team also experiments quite a bit as I will discuss later. They made use of the equipment left by the previous tenants, New Knoxville Brewing Co, which was in operation from 1996 to 2007 and left behind the 25 bbl brewhouse that is the first we have seen utilizing insulation via two layers of brick.
Our brewery visit on Wednesday, 2/19/14 was a unique one. Rather than going to Chattanooga Brewing Company’s current up and running facility in Chattanooga, TN, we made our way to their future site which is nearing completion just a few miles away. Co-owner and brewer Jonathan Clark was just finishing up his busy day when we arrived and was kind enough to give us insight into the past, present, and future of the brewery.