In 2011, state government approved a law allowing Tennessee liquor stores to hold on-premise tastings, including samples of high-alcohol beers. In 2012, the Memphis City Council went a step further to allow on-site beer tastings at grocery stores.
Local retailers are taking advantage of these new laws this week to promote their products during the inaugural Memphis Beer Week, with tastings at grocery stores and liquor stores all over town.
On Tuesday, Day 3 of Beer Week, I stopped at two tastings on my way home from the office — a Brooklyn Brewery tasting at Cash Saver on Madison, followed by a Stone Brewing Co. event at Joe’s Wines & Liquors.
The Brooklyn event at Cash Saver featured Brooklyn Lager, Brooklyn Brown Ale and Brooklyn Summer Ale, all lower ABV beers that are new to Memphis within the past two months. If you haven’t had a chance to try these brews, these are very solid beers. The Summer Ale is even available in cans, which are perfect for Memphis’ hot summer days. Above, Cash Saver’s craft beer manager Taylor James (top, center) talks to customers.
The last time I visited Cash Saver, I declared that it was Midtown’s best place to buy craft beer. Well, in the last month and a half, Cash Saver has expanded even more. It’s added 8 more feet of warm shelf space (doubling in size) and a new display for Ghost River Brewing’s Golden Ale. There’s a cooler that has only craft beer cans, just in time for summer. But that’s only the start.
Cash Saver now has a huge “make-your-own-six-pack” section. You can pick from no fewer than 250 beers from Tennessee breweries, regional breweries and other craft beer makers. There’s even craft cans in the mix. Build your own for $7.25, plus 10 percent.
In addition, Cash Saver has a new bomber rack with nearly 70 beers. The rack features Rogue, Samuel Adams and many others, all at great prices.
Cash Saver is hosting even more events this week:
Wednesday (today): Sierra Nevada tasting event, 5-7 p.m.
Friday: Yazoo tasting event, 4-6 p.m. Also, Yazoo growlers will be sold to-go. $8 for Hop Project #71 and $15 for “Rufus” sour collaboration with New Belgium.
After sampling the Brooklyn beers, I headed over to Joe’s for the Stone tasting event. There were four beers poured — Ruination IPA (a wonderful IPA!), Espresso Imperial Russian Stout (even better than the original), Oak Smoked Old Guardian (too smoky for my taste) and Vertical Epic 12-12-12 (wheeew, cloves).
I took home a bomber of the Espresso Imperial Russian Stout and also grabbed a bomber of New Belgium’s Rampant IPA, a fantastic new imperial IPA that recently arrived in Memphis.
Joe’s has more events coming up this week, as well:
Wednesday (today): New Belgium tasting, 5-6:30 p.m.
Thursday: Belgian beer tasting, 4:30-6:30 p.m., hosted by Steve Barzizza.
Friday: Abita Beer tasting, 4-6 p.m.
For a list of all Memphis Beer Week events, click here.