Nashville is known as the Music City and a mecca for foodies, but it is quickly becoming THE spot for craft beer in the south. I love getting back down south whenever I can and since we have some family and friends in Nashville it’s a favorite destination for us. Y’all know I love a good beercation too so when Hotels.com asked me to put together my ideal beercation in Nashville, Tennessee I couldn’t say no!
Find the best places to drink beer in Nashville
Where should you stay in Nashville?
There are lots of accommodation options in Nashville to choose from so based on your group’s size and budget you can find something that everyone will be happy with. There are lots of hotels downtown to choose from but I usually stay in Midtown or West End near Vanderbilt because it feels close to everything without being downtown near the craziness of Broadway.
Which breweries should you visit in Nashville?
With more than 15 breweries and more surely coming, the beer is flowing in Nashville. It’d be nearly impossible to visit them all in one weekend so my strategy is to choose a couple to visit and then stop by a local bottle shop to beer from other breweries in town. On my last trip through Nashville, I explored The Gulch, which is home to three of Nashville’s favorite breweries. They are pretty close to each other making it easier to visit them in one afternoon.
Yazoo Brewing is the first brewery since prohibition in Nashville and the largest in town. The taproom and patio are open every day offering tours, flights, and pints. They have big banquet style tables inside and out so it is a perfect place for a group. If you’ve never had any Yazoo beers then go for a flight. I’m a fan of their pilsner and porters. I also like their Embrace the Funk line of sours.
Next head to Jackalope’s Den for some creative brews in a laid back tasting room that is so comfy you might forget where you are and kick your feet up on one of the sofas. Jackalope is a female-led brewery and has quickly grown in popularity and size. The Den is the original brewery turned taproom and small-batch brewery. Here you can try their flagship beers like Bearwalker (maple brown) and Thunder Ann (pale ale), plus barrel-aged brews and other funky experimental beers. Like I said, The Den is oh so cozy with funky couches and coffee tables, a small bar, and a few high tops, this taproom feels more like a cool basement bar than the usual industrial-chic vibe of a lot of breweries. I’m a fan. Jackalope’s Den is also connected to the ZolliKoffee coffee shop so you can grab a shot of espresso when you need a pick me up.
Tennessee Brew Works is in this neighborhood as well and worth a visit. Several of their beers are brewed using all Tennessee grains or other local ingredients. The Southern Wit and State Park Blonde are both made with Tennessee grains and. I’m a sucker for porters and stouts and thought their Country Boots sweet potato stout was unique and delicious. The food menu here is outstanding, with everything made from scratch. If you want a good snack, go for the cheese board with house-made Southern Wit bread. You can’t go wrong with a burger either.
Breweries on my short list to visit next time: Bearded Iris for some legendary IPAs and Black Abbey for some Belgian-inspired ales.
Where Should You eat during your Nashville Beercation?
When you’re sampling a lot of beer over a few days, you have to eat well, otherwise, you’ll be a sloppy mess and no one has time for that. BBQ down south is a MUST and in Nashville, Martin’s BBQ is my go-to. Some local friends introduced to this spot a few years ago and whenever we roll through town we always meet them for a sampler plate and local beers. Their thing is whole hog bbq with a goal of selling out every day. BBQ is nostalgic; it reminds me of home, eating family-style with my very large (and loud) southern family over the years. Now when we go to Martin’s we do it the same way, with a huge sampler plate. Martin’s chooses the meats so all you have to worry about is picking sides. It’s all good so go with your gut. For an indecisive person like myself, this is my dream scenario.
Hot Chicken is the other must when in Nashville. The OG is Prince’s Hot Chicken creating the legendary dish close to 100 years ago. Nashvillians love “the hottest” in town, Bolton’s Chicken and Fish too. They serve up chicken, fish, bbq, and a slew of southern sides. With locations all around the city, Hattie B’s is one of the most well known and often a visitors gateway into hot chicken. They have some serious long lines, especially on the weekends but it is really tasty. They have local beer on tap too if you don’t need a beer break.
For something different, I love going to the Farmers Market in Nashville. It’s open daily and a fun place to explore. Stroll the outdoor market stalls for beautiful produce, baked goods, cheese, meat, cooking demos, and more. We came across a collard greens eating contest on our last trip and our friend Josh jumped at the chance to enter. He sadly did not win.
When you’ve worked up a real appetite, head inside to the Market House to dine. There are around 20 shops and restaurants inside so take your pick from authentic BBQ to burritos to crepes. For booze, there’s Picnic Tap serving up 15 different local and regional beers. There’s the Natchez Hill Winery if you need a beer break. For dessert, get a scoop sampler to share at Jeni’s Ice Cream! I know Jeni’s is not from Nashville but it is SO GOOD. Stop by Batch Nashville before you leave the market for some souvenirs you’ll actually want.
Take a Brewery Break and Go See Some Live Music in Nashville
You can’t visit Nashville without seeing some live music. I’m a sucker for old country and history so Ryman Auditorium is my absolute favorite. The “Mother Church of Country Music” now hosts all kinds of acts but this historic tabernacle is the original home of the Grand Ole Opry and a must-visit for any country music fan. Grab a local beer and appetizer before a show next door at Cafe Lula. If you’re traveling in the winter, The Grand Ole Opry does a showcase at the Ryman that is really fun. I went a few years ago and had a blast. If you don’t have time for a show you should at least tour this hallowed hall.
Next time I’m in town, I have my eyes on The Blue Room at Jack White’s label, Third Man Records and the famed bluegrass and Americana stage, Station Inn in the Gulch. If you don’t want to buy tickets in advance or want to do some bar hopping, you can stroll down Music Row or Broadway and you’re bound to find some tunes.
Where should you buy beer to-go in Nashville?
If you want some beer to go back to your hotel or just some souvenir beer, I love the Filling Station. Part bottle shop, part bar, they have 24 rotating taps with lots of local picks plus other great craft beers from around the country. Grab a pint while your growler gets filled and have a seat on the patio. The Filling Station is in 12 South which is a great shopping neighborhood as well. My favorites are White’s Mercantile, Savant Vintage, Imogene + Willie, and Halcyon Bike Shop. Not far from 12 South is Craft Brewed in the Melrose neighborhood. They are also part bottle shop (they have wine and spirits too) and part bar. Here you can enjoy a giant pretzel while you shop and sip. Win-win.
If you’re running short on time and just need to pick up beer on your way out of town, head to Corkdorks in Midtown. Their store is massive and has just about every local beer you can imagine. Grab a cart and get shopping.
Have you been on a Nashville beercation? Let me know in the comments!
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This post is sponsored by Hotels.com but all opinions are my own.