The 5 Best Nashville Breweries and Distilleries
Meet and mingle with master brewers, professional beertenders and Music City tastemakers.
Nelson's Green Brier Distillery crafts some of the nation's finest whiskeys, based on the recipe originally developed over a century ago.(Courtesy of Nelson's Green Brier Distillery)
If you're spending any amount of time in Nashville, you have to tour at least one of the breweries or distilleries that have made a name for themselves in town.
Sure, Nashville is well-known for its twangy honky-tonks, but it's also a community that companies making great ales and spirits proudly call home. (Some might even say Nashville's a drinking town with a music problem.)
If you're planning a trip to Music City, here are some of the finest breweries and distilleries you can tour.
Yazoo Brewing Co.
"One of the best breweries in Nashville is also one of the most famous and that is Yazoo brewery," says Shannon Gray, lead concierge at Loews Vanderbilt Hotel. "A lot of people like to go to Yazoo because it's right in the Gulch. You can have a really nice meal and a few adult beverages and then walk it off."
[Read: The Best Hotels in Nashville.]
When you ask anyone in town about local breweries, Yazoo Brewing Co. is nearly guaranteed to be one of their first recommendations. It's been around since 2003, and its seasonal brews are offered on draft at the most popular local watering holes. (Yazoo Pale Ale is a staple in these parts.) It's one of the oldest craft breweries in Nashville, but its popularity is largely driven by one simple factor: The beer is really, really good. And, the taproom is one of the best in town, where you can relax and grab a pint.
Andrew Atkins III, a longtime resident and lead navigator/concierge at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel, agrees, saying, "These guys are ahead of the game. Yazoo has thought of the guest first. They are not just producing beer, they are asking people to come and hang out."
Tours are $8 per person, and the brewery is open Wednesday and Thursday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. It's closed Sunday through Tuesday.
Nelson's Green Brier Distillery
Nelson's Green Brier Distillery(Courtesy of Nelson's Green Brier Distillery)
"As far as distilleries go, Green Brier is my favorite," says Kelcie Borton, lead concierge at the Sheraton Grand Nashville Downtown. "Their history is just really cool. They were actually more successful than Jack Daniel's before the [statewide] prohibition."
The turn-of-the-century Tennessee prohibition shut down the family business, but its story didn't end there. Nelson's Green Brier Distillery was resurrected in recent years by several of its heirs. Today, the distillery once again crafts some of the nation's finest whiskeys, based on the recipe originally developed over a century ago.
[Read: Locals’ 5 Favorite Bars in Nashville.]
Dawn Kote, concierge at the Hilton Nashville Downtown, says she loves the distillery's Belle Meade Bourbon.
Tours are $10 for those 21 and older, $5 for youths 13 to 21, free for kids 12 and younger and $5 for those with a military ID. The distillery is open Sunday and Monday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Tennessee Brew Works
Tennessee Brew Works(Courtesy of Laura Roberts)
One thing that sets this microbrewery apart is that it has a macro view of its role in the community. It's determined not just to make great beer but to lead the industry by using environmentally friendly practices. Tennessee Brew Works was one of the first breweries to use a unique green brewing process that requires a very small amount of water. It completed its first professional brew in 2013 and has since become a local favorite.
"Tennessee Brew Works, it's just a little south of downtown Nashville. They have a really great facility," says Ryan Mailley, guest services ambassador at the Omni Nashville Hotel. "The beer is great. One of my favorite things about them is their craft food menu. They serve one of the best burgers I've had in Nashville."
The brewery is open Monday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from noon to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tours are offered every Saturday for $7 per person.
Jackalope Brewing Co.
Jackalope Brewing Co.(Courtesy of Andrea Behrends)
This brewery, located a smidge south of downtown, makes some award-winning ales, stouts and hefeweizens. Its founders are noteworthy, too: Bailey Spaulding and Robyn Virball broke into a traditionally male-dominated industry when the women established Jackalope Brewing Co. in 2011.
Mailley says he's a fan of Jackalope Brewing. "I think they are unique because they are one of the only all-women-founded breweries in the country. If you ever have the chance to go, it's an awesome tour."
Jackalope Brewing offers $7 tours of the brewery, which last about 45 minutes, and a trivia night every Thursday for those brave enough to match wits with other lager-lovers.
[Read: The Best Nashville Tours.]
The brewery is open Monday through Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from noon to 8 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. Tour availability varies by season.
The Black Abbey Brewing Co.
The Black Abbey Brewing Co.(Courtesy of Tiffany Dupree)
The Black Abbey Brewing Co.'s monastery-inspired brand is not exactly what you'd expect in Music City. But, its Belgian-style beer has developed quite a following among thirsty Nashvillians seeking something a little more interesting than your typical brew.
Case in point: the recent success of The Forty-Four Coffee Porter, a robust brew honoring 44th President Barack Obama. The brewery's website notes it's "liberally infused with an exclusive blend of Hawaiian and Kenyan coffee beans." The porter became so popular that it graduated from a seasonal to a year-round selection.
One thing to note is that this brewery is located well outside downtown Nashville. It's an easy 5-mile drive just south of town, but plan to visit before or after evening rush hour to avoid traffic.
The brewery is open Wednesday through Friday from 3:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from noon to 8 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. Tours are available Saturdays for $10 per person. It's closed Monday and Tuesday.
To experience more of what Nashville has to offer, check out the U.S. News Travel guide.