The Absolute Best Breweries in Nashville
Whether you’re craving something sour, stout, or a classic pale ale, these are the best breweries to enjoy a pint.
Nashville might be known for music, but everyone knows that music and beer go hand-in-hand—and this city is blessed with a plethora of fine craft breweries. From cozy little taprooms to massive production facilities, there’s an experience for whatever you're looking for in a third space. With more than 30 breweries in the city with different flavors and vibes, there's something for everyone in Nashville's craft beer scene. Create your own beer crawl, sipping everything from traditional ales and lagers to more experimental brews, from this list of some of the best. You won't be disappointed.
Fait La Force Brewing
This tiny brewing system, helmed by just two men, always manages to keep at least a dozen interesting beers on tap in its zany and eclectic taproom. Floor-to-ceiling windows can open on nice days, but they always offer rarely seen perspectives of the downtown skyline even when the weather doesn’t allow for open-air drinking. Never a slave to particular beer styles, the brewers create innovative recipes based around what they’re enjoying drinking at the moment, so drop by to see what’s brewing.
Yazoo Brewing Company
Although it’s a bit longer of a schlep up to Madison now that Yazoo has moved from its cozy digs in the Gulch, it’s always worth the trip to sample some of this brewery’s fantastic beers. Since 2003, Yazoo has been a favorite both locally and in those regional cities lucky enough to be in the brewery’s distribution footprint. Old reliables like Dos Perros, Pale Ale, Hop Perfect IPA, and Sly Rye Porter are always on tap, joined by seasonal specialties including a relaunch of the popular Hop Project series after a few years off. Add in the amazing sour, naturally fermented, and barrel-aged offerings of Yazoo’s acclaimed Embrace the Funk series, and it’s obvious why Yazoo remains an industry leader.
Nashville’s oldest craft brewery is also the most award-winning operation in town. Blackstone has become a juggernaut in its large production brewery since making the move from downtown to a more modern facility. A cozy taproom pours some of Blackstone’s decorated beers like St. Charles Porter, Nut Brown Ale, and Chaser Pale, alongside a 1989 Ford school bus serving hits like burgers and fries, fish and chips, and artichoke dip. Blackstone’s focus is squarely on making great beer above all else. The staff admits to being total beer nerds, and we’re all better off because of it.
Fat Bottom Brewery
From humble beginnings in a former mattress factory in East Nashville, Fat Bottom Brewing has reinvented itself as a multi-modal food, drink, and entertainment complex since moving to a much larger building in the Nations. This regional distribution powerhouse has an in-house canning line, indoor and outdoor seating in the taproom, and a festive biergarten. The quality of the beer has continued to improve in the new brewery, and stalwart brews like Ruby American Red Ale, Knockout IPA, and Sandy Blonde Ale bring all the boys to the Hopyard.
Jackalope Brewing Company - The Ranch
The state’s first woman-founded brewery has become a guiding light for anyone looking to create a new business in the industry. Founder and brewer Bailey Spaulding has grown her business from a tiny space in SoBro into a huge indoor and outdoor tasting room and production facility in the burgeoning Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood. Even though the company is deadly serious about its products, Jackalope isn’t afraid to have fun naming its tasty beers after mythical creatures and characters like Bearwalker Maple Brown Ale, Thunder Ann American Pale Ale, and Fennario IPA. Inventive seasonal brews like the fruity Lovebird and Snowman Stout offer reasons to keep going back to Jackalope to see what’s new on tap.
Black Abbey Brewing Company
Dedicated to the ancient abbey-style of brewing ale, Black Abbey loves to serve up history by the pint in its convivial Fellowship Hall tasting room, which has become a bit of a clubhouse for craft beer lovers. Its flagship beer, The Rose, is a Belgian blonde ale that always keeps the brewery’s massive tanks hard at work to keep up with demand. The Special is a typical abbey ale, a fruity and chocolatey dubbel that packs a kick with its higher alcohol level. Drink a couple of those, and you’ll be in the perfect mood for one of the brewery’s fun music-themed events where employees spin records from their personal collections, with everything from heavy metal to yacht rock. Don’t miss out on Black Abbey’s rotating seasonal specials or the barrel-aged versions of the brewery’s more esoteric brews.
Tennessee Brew Works
Think of Tennessee Brew Works as the brewery version of a farm-to-table restaurant, maniacally focused on creating beers using fresh seasonal ingredients and committed to sourcing locally right down to the illustrations on their labels designed by a neighbor who runs a popular letterpress shop. Known for especially food-friendly beers, Tennessee Brew Works maintains a culinary focus with beers made using Tennessee grains, fresh fruit zests, and even earthy ingredients like beets and sweet potatoes. Closing the circle, the taproom kitchen uses its own beers in many of the dishes, including a remarkable burger that employs five different Tennessee Brew Works beers in the buns and condiments.
While they all serve a wide variety of beers plus darned respectable pizzas, each of TailGate’s brewery/taproom locations in Bellevue, Music Row, Germantown, Hendersonville, East Nashville, and Chattanooga has an individual specialty. The Bellevue headquarters is a massive production brewery, creating huge batches of the core brands like Tenn Gold Lager, Orange Wheat, and Peanut Butter Milk Stout, while the satellite locations house smaller systems that produce a remarkable range of products.
Southern Grist Brewing Company
When Southern Grist first opened in 2016, the founders were brewing on a system that was basically not much bigger than the average homebrew rig. That was plenty big enough to earn a strong following for the brewery’s whimsical one-off releases, some of which were designed to mimic the flavors of cocktails, including sours and fruity beers that were easy to sip for patrons who weren’t obsessed with hops. An expansion to a larger second taproom and brew system in the Nations boosted capacity, but Southern Grist still focuses on small-batch recipes with more than 600 different releases over their short five-year history. It’s always a surprise when you check out the beer menu at Southern Grist, and the food programs at both breweries provide innovative restaurant-quality meals.
East Nashville Beer Works
East Nashville Beer Works’s role as a neighborhood gathering spot is almost as important as the beers it brews. Families gather to catch up with friends while enjoying empanadas and pizzas from the kitchen in the child- and pet-friendly beer garden. The brewery’s flagship beer is Miro Miel honey blonde, a crowd-pleaser with a subtle sweetness that pairs perfectly with pizza. All of the beers feature a nice balance between malt and hops, making all of them eminently quaffable.
Smith & Lentz
After taking an almost direct hit from the tragic 2020 tornado that passed through East Nashville, Smith & Lentz spent most of a year rebuilding from the damage, but the brewery came back stronger than ever. In addition to its selection of popular IPAs and crisp pilsners, Smith and Lentz went all-in on a new pizza program including recruiting an expert chef to craft the new menu. Now pints and pies have become a mainstay of craft beer fans looking for a fun night out, whether for carryout or to enjoy in the cozy taproom or beer garden.
Bearded Iris Brewing
You can’t talk about Bearded Iris without starting with its Homestyle IPA, probably the most popular ale in Nashville. Just about every discerning restaurant beer menu in town features Homestyle and its intense hoppy citrus character that balances with the oated backbone of the brew. Definitely a home for hop-heads, Bearded Iris offers different beers that showcase individual varieties of hops for any palate. It also offers other styles like stouts and pilsners at the Germantown brewery and new modern Sylvan Park taproom, so there’s probably something you’ll love on the menu.
New Heights co-owner and head brewer Jeff Fountain brings experience working at Mission Brewery, one of San Diego’s premier craft breweries, to Music City along with his dedication to both great beer and exemplary hospitality. The tasting room exudes a cool industrial vibe where craft beer lovers gather to sample a range of brews ranging from mellow and malty to intensely hoppy. Sours are also usually on the menu, but the most interesting beer New Heights brews is an imperial stout called Navel Gazer that occasionally is released as a special edition, like a coffee-infused version and a high-alcohol double stout that rivals some wines in booziness.
Crazy Gnome Brewery
The March 2020 tornado slammed Crazy Gnome, delaying the brewery’s opening by several months. Now that everything is back in order, Crazy Gnome has hit the ground running with a wide variety of rotating beers that demonstrate consistency and familiarity with multiple brewing styles. From light Kolsches and sours to bitter ales and dark stouts, you’ll probably find something to like at Crazy Gnome.