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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

East Nashville Beer Fest 2013

East Nashville Beer Festival
Shawn, Jeff, Me and Jen waiting in Line to enter

The East Nashville Beer Festival is probably one of my top five favorite days of the whole year. When I attended last year, it was my first beer festival ever. I surprised myself by how much fun I had. This year was no different. In fact, I enjoyed this year even more. Why? Because in the past year I learned a lot more about beer. I learned what goes into making it, what the different varieties are, and what I actually like. I was more focused about my tasting priorities this year and even more adventurous!
Jackalope at East Nashville Beer Festival
The first tent we went to had most of our local favorites. I really enjoy going to Jackalope brewery and my favorite is the Bearwalker maple brown ale. But, they didn't have that on tap so I went with the Bourbon barrel aged Rompo red rye ale. Let me just say that the Rompo is probably my least favorite of all the Jackalope offerings, but I loved the barrel aged version. The barrel flavor smoothed out the bitter hoppiness I normally find offensive. I hope this becomes a year round beer.
Yazoo at East Nashville Beer Festival
Yazoo is the hometown favorite and my personal go-to local drink. I tried their Beacon "high-tax ale" which is a collaboration with other Tennessee brewery Calfkiller. This beer's purpose is to raise awareness of and protest the incredibly RIDICULOUSLY high beer tax in Tennessee. I recommend going to Fix the Beer Tax to find out why you should support this movement. I thought the beacon was a middle of the road easy drinking Ale. I did try their Embrace the Funk, which I found a little too funky for my own taste.
Calfkiller at East Nashville Beer Festival
The other Tennessee local beer that I love is Calfkiller. My friend Jeff is certifiably obsessed with them and exclusively orders their offerings at most local bars. They were the only brewery that had a huge line the whole time. And honestly, I understand why. They offer consistent amazing beers. They had a few classics on tap as well as some specials. My favorite was the Classic Spider which was a barrel aged mixture of their stout and brown recluse. I think most people in my group agreed that this was one of their favorites of the day. Another tasty offering was the Coffee Whiskey J. which was a woody J. Henry Mild with coffee beans and aged in a whiskey barrel. This was strong and delicious. I wasn't a big fan of their Cerveza de Jesus, which is a beer made with all the grains in the bible and aged in scotch barrels. There was too much going on in this beer I couldn't wrap my head around it. I would be remiss if I didn't mention Jen's love of the Scorched Hooker- her favorite go-to beer.
Rivertown at East Nashville Beer Festival
Rivertown gets the award for "Brewery that I never heard of but I loved the most." These guys know their beer. Their Roebling Porter was one of the best porters of the day. Heavy on espresso and chocolate notes while being thick and filling. I love porters, but I generally despise blueberry beers. Whelp, Rivertown showed me I was wrong. Their blueberry lager was possibly the best blueberry beer I have ever had. It's a beer I would actually pick up at the store and drink.
Straight to Ale at East Nashville Beer Festival
I've been enjoying Huntsville's Straight to Ale brewing since I first tasted them at the fest last year. I'm a sucker for their kitschy space-age marketing and their flavorful beers. Steve went to the Straight to Ale tasting at Craft Brewed for Craft Beer Week and brought me home the lovely Laika Russian Imperial Stout. At the fest I tried their Hellfire Quadruple. Jen and I loved it and thought it was delicious, smooth and yummy. This was probably my favorite Belgian-style ale not from Belgium of the whole festival.
Schmaltz at East Nashville Beer Festival
I have a soft spot for the He'Brew beers from Schmaltz. Last year, the Funky Jewbilation was my favorite beer of the entire festival. I knew that they were having a special tasting of the 2013 version at 2pm and I was lucky enough to eek out the last glass. This is the beer to end all beers- a mixture of 6 ales and lagers aged in bourbon and rye whiskey barrels. This beer will put hair on your chest and make you feel like a manly man. For such a loud beer, it is positively delicious and still one of my favorites. L'chaim, He'brew! 
Schmaltz at East Nashville Beer Festival
Left Hand Brewing from Colorado makes my favorite drinkable stouts. We tried their Smokejumper which is a smoked imperial porter. It was a little too "campfire" for me and tasted more like liquid smoke than anything else. I'll stick to their milk stout.
East Nashville Beer Festival
A big shout out to Rhizome productions for doubling the amount of port-o-john's this year. There were always plenty of available toilets. I didn't have to wait more than 2 minutes for the facilities, and at a festival designed around drinking this is key. Things were great on the potty front.
East Nashville Beer Festival
This fine guy is Sean and he works at Craft Brewed, a new local tap room and bottle shop. Craft Brewed hosted a bunch of the Craft Beer Week festivities and it's one of Steve's favorite new hang outs. If you haven't been, I highly recommend stopping by for a tasty brew.

Here is a run down of some of our favorites:

Starr Hill Brewery: Psycho Kilter Wee Heavy
He'Brew: Funky Jewbilation
Calfkiller: Classic Spider and the Coffee Whisky J.
Rivertown: Roebling Porter and Blueberry Lager
Crispin: As You Wish Cider
Kentucky Ale: Bourbon Barrel Ale

Our not so favorites:

Green Flash: Park West Porter
Red Brick: Brick Layer Ale
New Belgium: La Folie Quad
Lazy Magnolia: Southern Pecan in a Pinot Noir Barrel
East Nashville Beer Festival
Clearly, we had an amazing time. Can't wait for next year! I also can't wait to brag about all the awesome beers I got to sample.

*Disclaimer: While I received free tickets to this event, my opinions are wholly my own. I would like to thank Matt from Rhizome Productions for taking a shot on a local blogger with a major love of beer.


  1. I love Left Hand's milk stout.. and I also feel the same about their smoked imperial porter. The beers put out by Calfkiller sound awesome!
    I seriously cannot wait to go to Dark Lord Day this year! Ahhh.. I've been to two Jester King Festivals and they have both been a blast. There's usually tons of bottle sharing happening right before it actually starts and straight through it which is always fun!

    1. Calfkiller is amazing but they have a very local distribution radius. They don't even bottle anything. If they did, I would be in big trouble. Let's hope they make it down to one of your beer festivals!

      I didn't see any bottle sharing but perhaps we should start that next time!

  2. glad that you braved the shitty cold weather and had fun at the fest. I wish I knew more about beers, I feel like I only like a handful of beer types (the lighter girly ones) and I hate that because there is so much more to beer. However, whiskey or vodka I could taste all the livelong day...but I'd be shithammered.

    1. The weather really wasn't that bad. By my second beer I was warm and it didn't rain. So thank goodness for that.

      Is there a whiskey festival?

  3. That's awesome. I love trying new beers even if I don't end up liking them!

  4. I love your knowledgeable descriptions. I'm glad you posted this! I haven't heard of Rivertown, but I'll look for them. I generally like blueberry beers (and any girly/fruity beer), so I'd like to try theirs.

    1. You would love their blueberry beer!

      My knowledge comes from spending many many hours with Mr. Steve Cross, beer connoisseur.


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