A few months ago my friend, Scott Greenwood sent me an e-mail with one single line of text. "Claire," he wrote, "You need to write something about this new brewery, TN Brew Works." So after meeting the founders of TN Brew Works, Christian Spears and Garr Schwartz, it didn't take long for me to realize that Scott was right. This weekend, Garr and Christian stopped by our porch with a few growlers of their newest brews. And while I'm no beer buff, Brian Thiele and Josh Lauritch of the Beer School Blog offered to help navigate the way through the tasting.
To fill you in on the back story, Garr grew up in Nashville, but lived in New York City for ten years working for Lehman Brothers with his friend and co-worker, Christian. For years, Garr moonlighted as a home brewer, and Christian was his favorite test taster. After years of the daily grind, Garr and Christian made a huge leap—they left the world of finance and devoted themselves to the art of beer, aiming to open a craft brewery in Garr's home town (a much more affordable alternative to NYC) as soon as possible.
When they stopped by the porch, it became deliciously clear that Garr treats beer the way Evie Coates treats food. He knows it's special. He knows it's more than just hops, yeast and sugar. In fact, he makes sure of it. He explained that beer is really a lot more like wine than it's usually treated in the United States. It's meant to be enjoyed with food; it's meant to be sipped around a table—not sloshed on a fraternity floor. They brought perfectly curved glasses, encouraged us to swirl, sniff, and taste carefully.
My absolute favorite was the "Basil Ryeman," a smooth brew with hints of basil—it was so delicious, you could hear "wow's" all around the table. I immediately imagined sipping it with Italian food, or my favorite herb-crusted pork. But don't just take it from me. Make sure to check out Beer School Blog over the next week or so, for their favorites too! Even though I love a good beer, Brian and Josh know a whole lot more than I ever will.
Check out a few more photos of the tasting...
Brian Thiele knows beer. Here he is, trying to put words on the good things he's tasting.
Though Garr still ferments his creations in the guest bedroom of his home in Franklin, a brick-and-mortar brewery is well on the way. They expect to open this summer—and I for one can't wait! TN Brew Works will be located on Ewing Avenue, just a stone's throw away from Jackelope and Yazoo. Brewer's row anyone?
Thanks so much fellas! Can't wait for the rest of Nashville to fall in love with your beer!
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