Looking for something new to sip this season? Downtown Nashville is home to a vibrant community of craft beverage producers! If hops are your hobby, you’ll find pint after pint of innovative brews - ALL inspired by the sounds and people of Music City and Tennessee. If beer isn’t your thing, check out local whiskey, saké, vodka, wine, & more! Here’s our list of can’t-miss libations.
Proper Saké Co.
Artisan, unfiltered, and unpasteurized rice wine might not be the first thing you’d expect when you visit downtown Music City, but Proper Saké Co. is upending that notion with recipes inspired by a 2,000-year-old Japanese art form. Each batch is handmade using saké grade rice, koji (a delicate fermentation aid), mineral water, and both traditional and modern types of yeast. Our pick is the Smoky Mountain Taruzake which is aged in a charred oak barrel with hints of vanilla and umami.
Fancy a red, white, or bubbly experience you can’t find anywhere else? City Winery, Tennessee’s first fully functioning urban producer, sources premium grapes from vineyards in Napa, Oregon, and Argentina, crushes them in-house, and ferments them in French Oak barrels. Its Barrel Room tasting bar offers a chance to sample wines straight from the cellar, paired with local cuisine and often musical accompaniment. For the true sommelier-at-heart, private blending and bottling sessions are also available!
Standard Proof Whiskey Co. is changing the game with specialty ryes infused with ginger root, South American coffee, mint, honeysuckle nectar, pineapple, and Texas pecans. Winner of a Gold Medal at the 2020 World Spirits Competition, the distiller starts with premium whiskey aged in new American oak. It then infuses with fresh ingredients for 10-14 weeks and bottles at 80 proof. For the easiest julep ever, mix its Emerald Rye with a couple of dashes of bitters and some simple syrup.
Since 2013, Tennessee Brew Works has been creating a “finely tuned” craft, influenced by the city it’s at the heart of. With choices like Basil Ryman®, Patsy Clineapple®, and Walk The Lime®, it sources local grains and other ingredients from farms in Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Collage Grove, and Del Rio when possible. Named for the birth year of country music, its 1927® IPA is slightly hazy and is an incredibly aromatic and citrusy choice that harmonizes with spicier foods. Anyone for hot chicken and a pint?
Located in the Nashville Farmers Market, Natchez Hills Winery’s local offshoot is a must-visit for connoisseurs and casual wine enthusiasts alike. Made from Middle Tennessee grapes, its selections of cabernets, rieslings, and sauvignon blancs are perfect to pair with your favorite seasonal food or by themselves. For something a little different, Naughty Tea captures the sweet profile of the South’s favorite drink! Tastings include 5 samples and can be upgraded with locally curated cheeses and meats. We’ll see you at the market!
Ole Smoky Moonshine & Yee-Haw Brewing Co.’s 6th & Peabody
Ready to “get yer shine on?” Ole Smoky Distillery, one of Tennessee’s most famous moonshine producers, recently teamed up with Yee Haw Brewing Company to open 6th & Peabody in the SoBro neighborhood. Basically an adult beverage-lovers wonderland, the complex usually offers moonshine tastings (don’t miss favorites like Apple Pie, Sour Razzin’ Berry, and Butter Pecan), beer, and of course cocktails. Play some cornhole, watch a game, or simply relax with a glass of white lightning.
As Lower Broadway’s only brewery, Rock Bottom is a spot you definitely want to hit. From a refreshing, full-body kölsch to an antioxidant gose (sour fruit ale) with blueberries, pomegranates, and cranberries to an Irish coffee brown ale, their small-batch tap includes something to satisfy a full spectrum of aficionados. Not sure which one to choose? Enjoy a flight with a pretzel and housemade kölsch queso!
Many makers boast about their 5-to-6 times distilled vodkas but Big Machine Distillery has them all beat! Its award-winning Platinum Filtered Premium Vodka is distilled a whopping 25 times and filtered 3 times through rare platinum beads - the only system of its kind in the world. Why such a labor-intensive process? The result is an ultra-smooth spirit that tastes incredible and eliminates after-effects (no hangovers)! Visit their downtown location to try it straight, in a cocktail, or as the base of a frozen lemonade (yes please).
The freshest addition to downtown’s brew scene is Garr’s Beer Co., a Franklin favorite that’s expanding its reach in an innovative way. While you won’t be able to drink its Red Vanilla Porter, Citrus Pepper Farmhouse Ale, or Barrel Jam (a barrel-aged red ale) at its new downtown taproom just yet, you CAN pick up a curbside six pack or take advantage of its Beermetro service. As of October 2020, free delivery options are available within a 10-mile radius of its Pie Town location!