With an unseasonably balmy spring here to stay and summer just around the corner, Tennesseans take to the taprooms by the droves.
Though Blackstone paved the way when it opened in 1994, it's only been the past few years that the state as a whole has really jumped on board the craft beer movement; nowadays, Middle Tennessee alone boasts more than 20 home-grown breweries.
We've done the hard work for you ("research," we'll call it) and rounded up a few of the more intoxicating standouts for the next time you're longing for a pint.
Yazoo Brewing Company | Nashville
(Credit: Yazoo Brewing Company)
It's probably the most recognizable beer brand in town, and with good reason: Yazoo wasn't just one of the pioneers on the scene back when it debuted in 2003 before Nashville's big beer boom, it's also got one of the most spacious taprooms that's buzzing every Wednesday through Saturday. There are usually food trucks parked in the lot, but Yazoo also serves small bites like beer bread and cheese plates.
What you're having: Dos Perros
Ole Shed Brewing Company | Tullahoma
(Credit: Ole Shed Brewing Company)
Though Tullahoma has long been famous for soda and whiskey—it's the home to both Sun-Drop and George Dickel—it now has an added reason to make the journey down I-24: Ole Shed. Mike Ramsey and Mike Thornburg thought the area was missing one thing—a microbrewery—so they started their own and opened the taproom in 2013. It's got a spacious patio, complimentary popcorn and plenty of indoor seating—and at just $4 a pint (or $15 a growler), you'll want to try a little of everything on tap.
What you're having: Southern Pale Ale
Jackalope Brewing Company | Nashville
The only female-owned brewery in the world, Jackalope was born out of wanderlust: A pair of friends, Bailey Spaulding and Robyn Virball, met while studying abroad and many years after college came together again to make their passion for home-brewing an actual career path. Five years after opening, Jackalope has developed a solid fan base with crowds lining up every time they release a new beer. Thursdays are trivia night at the brewery, while Sundays feature live music, and Saturdays occasionally feature special offerings like free yoga classes.
image by Camels & Chocolate
What you're having: the seasonal favorite, Lovebird
Mayday Brewery | Murfreesboro
Mayday's motto says it all: "Beer, hugs and rock ‘n' roll!" This lighthearted brewery in downtown Murfreesboro has a sense of humor, a number of anchor beers on tap, a spacious patio, food trucks and regular events. Two nights a week, usually Friday and Saturday, Mayday has free live music on its tasting room stage, ranging from country and Americana to blues or rock. Take the tour: The brewer himself, Ozzy Nelson, leads it and is quite the riot—not to mention, a local legend—plus refills are free.
What you're having: Boro Blonde
Mantra Artisan Ales | Franklin
When celebrity chef Maneet Chauhan decided to make Nashville her adopted home, she didn't start and stop with her eponymous restaurant in the Gulch, Chauhan Ale & Masala House; she also decided to add her own line of beers, made down in Franklin, home to her brewery and taproom, Mantra Artisan Ales. With nearly two dozen beers on tap, boasting clever names like Arctic Shill (a Scotch Ale), ReinCOWnation (a milk stout) and Sun Salutation (a wheat), sipping your way through the Mantra menu is the perfect way to spend a lazy afternoon.
What you're having: Battleground