Following up on my earlier post on Yazoo – the “Athens of the South” knows it’s craft beers. This was craft beer week in Nashville and my brother and I dropped in on two of the more popular “one of a kind” places – Fat Bottom Brewery and Jackalope Brewing to join in the fun.
Fat Bottom is located in “East Nashville” an area that is changing from industrial to hipster chic. Located in the old “Fluffo” mattress factory, FB dishes out some fine inventive beers to go with it’s crabmeat deviled eggs and Nashville “hot chicken”. Open about 18 months ago, the brewery is owned by ex-home brewer Ben Bredesen, son of former Tennessee governor Bill Bredesen, and like Jackalope and a couple of other local breweries – participated in the beer week celebratory collaboration brew – a robust and hoppy version of German Wheat beer.
I enjoyed cooling off my palate (after the hot chicken) with “Black Betty” – a Black I(P)A with a roasty and sharp at 56 IBU, then after more chicken (was that good) a hoppy but balanced “Ruby Red American Ale” at the legal limit 6.1% ABV. (In Tennessee any beer 6.2% abv and above is taxed differently and available in state stores for sale). The taproom is nicely decked out in weathered planks, unfortunately it was too cold to try the beer garden just outside the door.
One of the things that sets Jackalope Brewing apart from others is that the original partners and the brewmaster are women – not that there’s anything wrong with that! The taproom is located in “the Gulch” not far at all from Yazoo – making a crawl between the two an obvious and thirst quenching option for beer appreciators.
Cohabitating a space with a coffee shop, Jackalope is comfortable and offers a number of really good beers including the bright and tasty “Thunder Ann” named after Davy Crockett’s wife. The original partners Bailey Spaulding and Robyn Virball opened the brewery just a few years ago, and now, like Yazoo and Fat Bottom, their beer is available in a number of local venues off premise.
The Jackalope is a fictional beast as you probably know, but Bailey and Robyn chose it as an inspiration – something to believe in. Here’s hoping that the Jackalope is not an endangered species – as beer appreciation in Nashville is inspired indeed. While the south is not known for being leaders in craft beer – in Nashville you can certainly find great craft beers along with very friendly folks (and hot chicken!).