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Touring Yazoo Brewing Company in Nashville

July 18, 2011 By: mike Category: Breweries, Craft beer, Travelin'

Yazoo Brewing Company signThe outside wall at Yazoo Brewing Company

The beer scene in Nashville is hopping.

New breweries are opening and crowds are selling out beer festivals. In fact, travel site travelandleisure.com recently named Nashville No. 10 in a ranking of America’s Best Beer Cities.

So on a recent visit to Middle Tennessee, I was excited to get a taste of the scene. Tops on my to-do list was a tour of Yazoo Brewing Company.

Nestled in the up-and-coming Gulch area of Nashville, Yazoo produced nearly 10,000 barrels of craft beer last year and is on pace to make 14,000 in 2011.

The tour gave a nice inside look at the brewery’s operations.

There’s a homebrew-like set-up the brewers use to experiment with recipes. The mash tuns and brew kettles that produce favorites like Yazoo’s Pale Ale and Dos Perros are impressive. And there’s a Comac bottling line in the brewery that I believe is similar to what Memphis’ Ghost River Brewing is installing.

Samples of beer were poured throughout the tour, starting with the Dos Perros, followed by the Pale Ale and, finally, the Hefeweizen. Since all three are easy to find in Memphis, I was hoping to get to sample the Sly Rye Porter or maybe the Onward Stout or Sue, but no such luck.

Brewery tours cost $6 per person, which also gets you a complimentary Yazoo pint glass. The tour is definitely worth checking out if you’re ever in the Nashville area.

On a side note, after the tour we tried to grab one last pint at the Yazoo Taproom. But when we walked in, there was a line from the bar that snaked all the way to the door — beer drinkers with empty growlers to fill (for just $8!) or others who just wanted a pint ($4). And every seat in the house was filled. So instead, we went in search of more Nashville beer. More on that soon.

Yazoo tour guideRyan, our Yazoo tour guide

Yazoo brewing tanksBrewing tanks

Yazoo tankBrewing schedule

Yazoo growlersEmpty growlers

Yazoo homebrew gearA “homebrewing” set-up for experimenting with recipes

Yazoo hopsHops used in the brewing process

Yazoo kegsKegs of Yazoo beer

Yazoo keg labelA keg of Hap and Harry’s Lager

Yazoo empty bottlesEmpty bottles

Yazoo Hefeweizen labelsHefeweizen labels

Yazoo bottling lineYazoo’s bottling line made by Comac

Yazoo taproom signTaproom sign

Yazoo taproom beer listLots of beers on tap

Touring the New Glarus Brewery

July 13, 2011 By: grant Category: Breweries, Travelin'

My wife and were visiting family and friends in Wisconsin a few weeks ago and we spent one night in Madison. Top priority: Touring the New Glarus Brewing Company.

But first, we had a nice little lunch at Tofflers Pub and Grill, where we saw this awesome sign. I had a jalapeno burger with sweet potato fries and a couple New Glarus brews to get in the right mindset. Nice place, though the bartender was unable to explain the differences in any of the beers on tap beyond color.

After lunch and a buzz we rolled up to the brewery for a self-guided tour. Had we to do it over, a hard-hat tour might be in order, as the self-guided tour is just that — wandering through the brewery until you get to the gift shop/tap room and sampling your face off. The brewery has a nice little beer garden, too, overlooking the countryside. If you’re in the area, you should check it out. And since you can only get New Glarus in Wisconsin, it’s a good opportunity to loot the basement warehouse to stock up your beer fridge. You do have a fridge just for beer, right?


Carrie in front of a mashtun

Bridget and Jon in front of some New Glarus memorabilia

The 30-liter New Glarus pilot brewery

St. Louis beer tour, Part 5: Anheuser-Busch

March 21, 2011 By: mike Category: Breweries, Travelin'

Read all entries from the St. Louis beer tour:
Part 1: Schlafly Tap Room || Part 2: Morgan Street fail(s), and a decent Downtown sports bar || Part 3: Six Row Brewing Company || Part 4: Straub’s (Bringing home some beer) || Part 5: Anheuser-Busch

Bud Tour - exterior

The first time I went on the Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tour in St. Louis, I was 21 and Bud Light was the greatest gift to man. The brewery was cool, sure, but the “Hospitality Room” was the highlight of the tour.

Twelve years later, my beer palate has changed significantly. I like to taste my beer. I don’t chug, I sip. And I’m now a brewer myself, so I understand a lot more about what makes a beer a good beer.

So on my recent visit to the St. Louis Brewery, I marveled at the massive mash tuns and boil kettles. I appreciated the history of the facility, which is a U.S. National Historic Landmark, with some buildings dating back to the 1800s.

I smirked at the tour guides who bragged about the use of rice in making Budweiser. I also found the frequent use of the words “sub-premium” beers  — describing the Anheuser-Busch beers priced below Budweiser, i.e. Busch Beer, etc. — just a little weird.

There is a Beermaster Tour, which is supposed to be more in-depth than the typical free tours that run all day.

I did the free tour, and it was still fairly extensive. It took us to the Budweiser Clydesdale Stable, Beechwood Lager Cellars, historic Brew House, Bevo Packaging Facility and, of course, the Hospitality Room. (Budweiser American Ale = Not half bad.)

Whether you like Budweiser products or not, the Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tour in St. Louis is worth checking out.

Bud Tour - guideOur tour guide

Bud Tour - CarriageBudweiser carriage

 Bud Tour - ClydesdaleClare the Clydesdale

Bud Tour - beechwoodBeechwood chips

Bud Tour - tanksLager tanks

Bud Tour - brewing processExplaining the “Time-Honored Budweiser Brewing Process”

Bud Tour - mash tanksMash tanks

Bud Tour - brew kettleBrew kettle

Bud Tour - bottlingBottling some Bud Light