The most recent Nashville Food Blogger event took place at Tennessee Brew Works. This microbrewery is located just outside of downtown Nashville. It is in an area where you might not expect an establishment of this caliber. Around the corner are several murals side by side with quite a bit of graffiti. While the area is definitely up and coming the brewery and restaurant are welcoming, clean, and ready to serve.
This event fell on a Wednesday night and Bobby and I were able to join in. When we arrived we were greeted and shown to a table that already had our first course laid out. We were joined pretty quickly by Olivia and Ana who know a whole lot more about beer than we do. We were also joined by Paul Lindsey from Phase:3 Marketing and Communications. He works in PR with different establishments around town. He told us about O-Ku that will be opening in Germantown in the near future.
Once we were all seated Christian Spears (owner) came and introduced himself and gave an overview of the brewery and the different beers that they make on the premises. He was quite passionate about the process of making craft beers and the importance of drawing the resources from local places. He talked about wanting to make barley a cash crop in Tennessee. The girls we were sitting with asked so many great questions about the brewery and about how everything started. Mr. Spears was happy to answer as many questions as we asked. He then turned the floor over to General Manager, Jason Connelly. Mr. Connelly told us about all of the different beers we would be sampling along with the food that was prepared on the premises. When he said we would be sampling all of the beers we were all very surprised. Now, I am not a beer drinker but I do like learning about all kinds of different things food and drink related. My husband is also not a beer drinker so we asked that they only bring one of each for us to sample. We did taste each brew but between the two of us we maybe sampled a quarter of one of the glasses.
Our first course was a cheese board with accouterments. This included Sweetwater White Cheddar, Danblu Blue Cheese, Beemster Gouda, Noble Springs Goat Cheese, Pear Butter, Candied Pecans, Papitas, and thinly sliced pears.
They paired this with State Park Blonde Ale. I had already decided before we went that if we had to choose a beer to sample that this would be the one I would try. It is made with 100% local grains and is partnered with Tennessee State Parks. It is the only beer sold in the park and you can drink it there. Also, a part of the proceeds from this beer goes to the parks. I am a big fan of the State and National Parks so that was part of the reason I wanted to try that particular beer. The description said there would be floral notes and you could definitely taste them. An interesting fact, all of the labels feature people on them. In this case it is a ranger from the parks, Randy Hedgepath.
Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica. Our next course was a Beet Salad that included kale, smoked and marinated beets, burrata cheese, walnut powders, and a house vinaigrette. Honestly, I have never met a beet that I liked...until this salad. The way the beets were marinated brought out a sweetness and a texture that I could have kept eating! Even my beet hating husband had to admit this was a good salad! The beer pairing for this course was a Basil Ryeman. The Thai Basil is sourced from Bloombury Farms. I could smell the basil in this one and there was a bit of mint/menthol type of aftertaste.
Next up was the main course. We were able to choose between a Five Beer Burger and a Hot Chicken Sandwich. I could have told you three days before we went that Bobby would choose the Hot Chicken Sandwich. He is a big fan of spicy chicken. He said that is was not super spicy..that I would think it was spicy but that it was on the low end of spicy. It had a cheese sauce with pickles and jalapenos. The beer pairing for his burger was called 1927. It was an American IPA with citrus notes. Mr. Spears told us that this was a wine drinkers beer. I tasted this one and I think it was the one I liked the best.
My burger from Bear Creek Farms had a beer bread bun with Extra Easy Pub Ale, comeback sauce, onions carmalized in Pietown Porter, pickles brined in Cutaway IPA, and Sweetwater Farms white cheddar. It was delicious. Typically I would ask for not pickles or onions on a burger but I wanted the whole experience. It was juicy and the flavors complemented each other. It is a burger that shows up as one of Nashville's best burgers during Burger Week!I gave Bobby a quarter of this so he could taste the beauty of this burger as well. The fries were tasty but had a lot of seasoning. When I mentioned that later Bobby reminded me that it is at a brewery so of course they are salty so you drink more.
The last beer that was brought out was TENN No. 12 - a Belgian Style Quad. They introduced this as a dessert beer. This particular beer has George Dickel's likeness on the label because it is aged in Tennessee Whiskey barrels. The was a very strong beer with caramel notes.
An added bonus to the night was live music! We heard Sheriff Scott and the Deputies jamming downstairs as we enjoyed our meal and tastings. Mr. Connelly excused himself at one point so he could join the band and play the spoons. Multi talented I tell you!
This whole night made me think of our friend Geoff. He, at one point, was brewing his own beer. I think this is a place that he would love to visit. If we can get him and his family here to visit at some point maybe we can take him. Tennessee Brew Works has tours on Saturdays so if you are a beer aficionado and would like to see a working micro brewery this would be an amazing place to see. While you can see some of the brewery from upstairs you can't see the entire 20,000 sq feet. If you get a chance this would be a great place to have an evening out for live music, great food, and even better beer.