Our journey began at The Terminal Brewhouse in Chattanooga, TN and ended at The Bluegrass Brewing Company in my home town of Louisville, KY. I’ve been to The Terminal twice previously and introduced to it’s amazing fare by my friend Marque, who is a connoisseur of all things beer. I was thrilled over the prospect of sampling their consistently delicious beer and food once again. Although many brewhouses don’t serve or are known for their food, I would go here just for their sweet potato fries and pot-roast queso nachos which are heavenly. The Terminal brewhouse is located in the historic Stong Building, which was built in 1909, a one-of-a-kind in Chattanooga, if not the entire U.S. It is very “eco-friendly” and boasts grassy, landscaped porches and decks, water-less urinals, and “2 flush” toilets. The premise being that if you go number 1, you press 1, if you go number 2, you press 2. This can be very confusing to a drunk patron.
The beer menu at The Terminal consists of American Copper Ale (Terminally Ale), Maibock, (rock out with your Maibock out), West Coast India Pale Ale (Magnum P.A.), Belgian White (The White Shadow), Oatmeal Stout (Southsidenstein Stout) and their seasonal, a black ale. I’m not a ‘dark beer’ type of person, but that changes when I cross the threshold at The Terminal. Their Oatmeal Stout is amazing. I even liked the black ale once my palate stopped freaking out.
I always order a sampler so I can savor all their beers without getting terribly intoxicated, plus it’s a paltry $6, a bargain for 6 large sample glasses of their tasty beer. Of all the beers made at The Terminal, the Maibock was our overall favorite.
Our second stop took us to Nashville, the home of Yazoo Brewing Company. I arranged for our hotel accommodations to be as close to this iconic brewery as possible, which just celebrated it’s 8th anniversary. A mere 4 hours after leaving the Terminal, we found ourselves in the tap room enjoying Yazoo’s delicious creations. Yazoo is a true brewery in that it bottles the beers it produces but has limited hours, closing at 8:00 p.m. on a Friday night. Several people have spoken very highly of Yazoo on numerous occasions so I was not only excited to be there, but I also had very high expectations. They didn’t disappoint! My brother Chris and his wife, Melissa, LOVED the amber ale, which is huge kudos for Yazoo as they’ve sampled amber ales from around the U.S.
Yazoo features eight different brews: Dos Peros, made with 3 different types of malt, Pale Ale, Hefeweizen, an authentic German wheat beer, the Sly Rye Porter, Onward Stout (aka “Nitro Stout”), Hop Project, Sue and a seasonal, a somewhat exotic lager that was quite tasty. I LOVED the Hefeweizen and the seasonal and was determined to bring some back with me. Since last call was at 7:35, we hurriedly ordered a growler (half-gallon glass air-tight container). The next day, we savored the beer that we took home from this great brewery. Last, but certainly not least, we made it to BBC, aka Blue Grass Brewing Company in Louisville. Once again, our hotel accommodations were very close to our destination, which worked out better for Chris who was the designated driver.
Let me say that I was thrilled to be at this brewery. BBC is located 5 minutes from where I grew up, and it’s stellar reputation preceded it. Last year, Chris, Marque, Darren (another connoisseur and Chris’ best friend) and I were at a Taco Mac in Chattanooga on a crawl. We all tried BBC’s porter and unanimously dubbed it the best beer we’d EVER tried. The manager at Yazoo was very familiar with this Kentucky brewery and recommended it, but was unfamiliar with The Terminal located in his own state. BBC is a very large entity when it comes to brewpubs and restaurants. They have 3 locations and are a somewhat ‘segregated’ company in that one portion of the compay handles bottling their delicious beer while the other serves it to anxiously awaiting patrons.
Within minutes of getting seated at the bar, I had met Chris Williams, BBC’s manager at their St. Matthews location. Before we could blink, we had 2 large planks of beer in front of us. Chris, like Dave at Yazoo and Jericho at Terminal, were extremely friendly and excited about being a part of their organizations. In fact, the staff I met at all three locations were friendly, knowledgable and more than willing to help me gather information about their businesses. TWO WORDS: ‘Rasberry Meade’. This was the first beer I sampled and by far was the most exotic. Like the black ale from The Terminal, my palate freaked out over this unusal beer concoction. The “Meade”, as it’s known by local brewers, is made with locally produced honey and rasberries. Like the black ale, it takes a few sips to get used to. Our wonderful bartender (I suck with names, sorry) suggested mixing the Meade with their delicious wheat beer. One word: ‘brilliant’. In fact, I may have proposed to her after my first sip. I don’t recall getting down on one knee or buying a ring, so I guess I’m still single.
BBC’s other offerings include: a traditional American Pale Ale, an amber ale (altbier or ‘old beer’) which ‘bridges the gap’ between ales and lagers, Nut Brown Ale (which we weren’t too thrilled with), and their amazing Bourbon Barrel Stout. (To the unitiated, Kentucky is the only entity in the world that produces bourbon and even has the word copywrited). We loved the stout, it is a beer that personifies Kentucky’s heritage of creating unique and delicious alcoholic beverages. Bidding farewell to BBC, Chris and I found ourselves the next day at our uncle’s 80th birthday conversing with our cousin’s boyfriend, Andrew Alt, about our brew crawl. We came to find out that he is a brewer and a managing partner of Against The Grain, another brewpub in Louisville. After making the statement that I was ‘beered out’ the night before, I knew it was a sign from the beer gods when Andrew invited us to his brewpub and that we continue our quest for the best micro-brews in the Southeast.
Suffice to say, Chris and I missed our opportunity to explore yet another brewery. I had consumed 4 Makers Mark and ginger ales at the party and somehow forgot that Andrew had given me his business card with his number. We’ll make it next time. I’ve concluded that Louisville has one of the most progressive and extensive beer scenes in the U.S. I’ve never been to ANY single location that has such an amazing selection of craft brews from around the country. After all, they have a place called the “Liquor Barn”, the Walmart of beer and liquor stores. If only Ben Franklin were alive to see this….