Food & Drink

A Guide to the Best Locally Made Booze in Memphis

Published On 01/18/2016 Published On 01/18/2016
Courtesy of Brandon Dill

Memphis Made Brewing Co.


Primarily a seasonal brewery, Memphis Made creates unique, limited-edition beers with unexpected flavor profiles, often giving them Memphis-centric names that only a local would understand. Past releases have included the Soulful Ginger (a saison brewed with candied ginger and peppercorn) and the Rockbone IPA (named after an unfortunate tweet by a local news station that -- oops -- linked to a porn site). But one beer, the Lucid Kolsch, is offered year-round. Called a “lawnmower beer” by its creators, this pale German ale tastes of yeasted bread with a touch of hops. It’s the sort of beer you can drink more than two of, and it pairs well with just about any meal.

Where to drink it:  The Memphis Made Taproom in Cooper-Young is open to the public, and that’s where you’ll find all of the brewery’s latest seasonal offerings and the always-available Lucid Kolsch. They offer taproom tours on Saturdays and Sundays at 4pm. No food is served inside the building, but food trucks are typically parked outside.

Kristin Brenemen/Flickr
Boscos Squared

Boscos Squared

Overton Square

This Overton Square brewpub is the only restaurant in the city serving made-in-house beer. Located in a bustling theater district, Boscos is ideal for pre-show beers, which are expertly paired with the restaurant’s menu of dressed-up pub food. Many of their offerings are seasonal, but the award-winning Flaming Stone always on tap. Flaming Stone is created by lowering hot stones from Boscos’ wood-fired pizza oven into the beer during the brewing process. Boscos’ Midtown Brown is also offered year-round. This nut brown ale has a chocolate malt flavor and pairs well with cheeses.

Where to drink it: Boscos beers are only served at their restaurant. Saddle up to the bar, order an Isle of Skye Scottish Ale (a thick, dark brew with a touch of vanilla), and sip it while you wait for the Germantown Purist -- a BBQ chicken pizza with smoked mozzarella and beer-infused crust.

Flickr/Sean Davis

High Cotton Brewing Co.

Medical District

An airline pilot, a lawyer, an engineer, and a home brewery supplier walk into a bar. OK, well, actually it’s a taproom but close enough. High Cotton Brewing Co. was launched by four guys from very different professional backgrounds with one common love -- beer. Their Edge District brewing company and taproom has been pounding out solidly crafted beers ever since. High Cotton offers a few year-round selections and a handful of rotating seasonal beers. The Scottish ale (with malty, caramel notes) offers dark beer lovers a year-round option (most breweries only offer dark beers in the fall and winter), while the ESB, which stands for extra special bitter, will please hop-heads.

Where to drink: High Cotton’s beers are only available by draft since they lack a bottling line, and many locals bars offer one or two options. But for the freshest pour, the High Cotton Taproom can’t be beat. Located in a historic warehouse, the taproom has both an industrial vibe and a down-home feel. They occasionally host special events, like yoga classes, in the back room.

Wiseacre Brewing Company

Wiseacre Brewing Co.


Brothers Davin & Kellan Bartosch have spent most of their lives working toward opening Wiseacre Brewing Co. Davin went to beer school at World Brewing Academy and honed his skills at the brewery Rock Bottom Chicago, while Kellan worked for Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and wrote for a handful of niche beer publications. But they finally realized their dream in Memphis, their hometown, in 2013 when they opened Wiseacre Brewing Co. in the Broad Avenue Arts District. Known as much for their artful cans as their hoppy beers, Wiseacre Brewing Co. has amassed a legion of loyal Memphis fans. Year-round offerings include Tiny Bomb (a crisp American pilsner) and Ananda (an intensely hoppy IPA).

Where to drink: Wiseacre beer is sold by the can and on draft at most local bars, but drinkers can find the widest range of experimental and seasonal offerings at their on-site taproom. Located just a couple blocks from a row of art galleries, shops, and a tattoo studio, the brewery is perfectly positioned in a burgeoning arts district. The Gotta Get Up to Get Down, a coffee milk stout, is offered year-round and is ideal for sipping on Wiseacre’s expansive patio. No food is served inside, but food trucks are typically parked in the brewery’s lot. Also note: the taproom only accepts cards, no cash.

Katie Smith/Thrillist

Old Millington Winery

Millington, TN

Located in Millington, a municipality on the outskirts of town, Old Millington Winery is just a 30-minute drive from downtown Memphis, and this boutique winery offers hand-crafted wines at very affordable prices. Made from grapes grown in a small family-run vineyard, Old Millington Winery’s offerings tend toward fruity dessert wines, such as muscadine, plum, and strawberry. But they do offer a small selection of more traditional reds and whites. The Crying Angel Red, made with their estate-grown Chambourcin, is a solid red table wine that pairs great with just about anything. In the spring and fall, the winery hosts outdoor live music on Sunday afternoons.

Where to drink: Old Millington Winery isn’t served at local bars, but patrons can sample and purchase the wine bottles on-site. Have a glass during a live music event there, or you can always take a few bottles home (or to your hotel if you’re visiting) and enjoy with dinner.

Andrea Zucker Photography
Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. Memphis Made Brewing Co. 768 S Cooper St, Memphis, TN 38104

This local brewing company is a favorite for locals. With a food truck serving grilled mac n' cheese on the weekends and their array of beers always on tap, this spot is the place to be for a fun, weekend activity.

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2. Hammer & Ale 921 S Cooper St, Memphis, TN 38104

With 24 taps rotating every week, this Cooper Young hang out is the top in local and regional beer from ten different breweries. The restaurant side offers a short but sweet menu of bar snacks and sandwiches, and beer floats. And if you just want the beer, they offer growler refills and pints to take with you.

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3. Boscos Squared Overton Square, Memphis, TN 38104

The Boscos bar is like a separate neighborhood pub trapped inside a restaurant. During the day and early evening, committed regulars swig Midtown Brown Ales and hope to win the daily Cellarman Contest at 5:30pm. Professionals and friends convene around the bar in the evenings for all kinds of craft beer, like the Bombay IPA, Flaming Stone German steinbier, or Isle of Skye Scottish Ale, and cocktails, too.

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4. High Cotton Brewing 598 Monroe Ave, Memphis, TN 38103

This industrial-chic Memphis taproom is outfitted with distressed brick walls and a lighted sign that reads, "BEER!" over the bar to remind you what you came to celebrate: High Cotton's handful of top-notch craft brews. Toss a few rounds back at the long wooden bar, and soak up all the hoppy goodness with some eats from the food trucks parked outside. Be sure to fill up a growler before you go and enjoy some more BEER! at home.

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5. Wiseacre Brewing 2783 Broad Ave, Memphis, TN 38112

Wiseacre Brewing is a Binghampton hot spot for craft beer-loving locals. The ten taps pour exclusively Wiseacre brews, but the variety at hand is enough to satisfy any grain/hop/yeast-craving palate. The award-winning Tiny Bomb Pilsner and crisp, hop-heavy Ananda are draft staples (due to popular demand), and the remaining taps rotate through seasonal and one-off labels. Taste your way through Wiseacre's repertoire at communal tables inside or on the patio out back, and maybe treat yourself to a snack from the roster of food trucks while you're at it. On your way out, be sure to fill a growler with your favorite draft of the day, or purchase cans of past favorites, rare selections, or even just your preferred flavor of the week.

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6. Old Millington Vineyard and Wine 6748 Old Millington Rd, Millington, TN 38053

Old Millington is a boutique winery that offers a wide selection of fruity dessert wines as well as a handful of more traditional whites and reds. They also host outdoor music every Sunday in the spring and fall, so buy a bottle of strawberry red wine (or The Crying Angel Red if you want something less sweet) and enjoy the afternoon.