When in the Southern region, one need not look far to find a brewery. From widely distributed favorites, such as Abita (Covington, LA), Sweetwater (Atlanta, GA) or Yazoo (Nashville, TN), to smaller, experimental microbreweries, there are ample opportunities to get your brew on, no matter your beer preference.
Whittling down the list of options was a daunting task, especially when faced with the numerous high quality craft breweries with open doors and excellent beers. With that in mind, we included some old favorites, as well as some newcomers, and while many of these breweries produce chart toppers on Beeradvocate.com, we considered other factors, as well. Our criteria included first and foremost the requirement of good beer, great atmosphere and having a little something unique about them that merits a visit when you’re nearby. While on your Southern brew crawl don’t hesitate to deviate from this list (in fact, we encourage it!). The spots listed below are merely a solid starting point for those eager to drink locally and support neighborhood breweries throughout the South.
Smith & Lentz
903 Main St., Nashville, TN 37206
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Newcomer Smith & Lentz is bringing something new to try for beer aficionados, as well as casual imbibers enjoying Nashville’s bustling beer scene. Located in rapidly changing East Nashville, Smith & Lentz has an expansive, but warm, facility, filled with both picnic tables and ping-pong tables. The taproom has a neighborhood feel and is the perfect backdrop to nurture a sense of community, especially with weekly ping-pong tournaments. With extensive fermenters and aging vessels, there is always something new on tap. Hops fans are especially welcome, as Smith & Lentz advocates a “sharper brew and proponents of an aromatic, dry IPA and a German Pils.” Although the brewery is not currently offering a food menu, don’t worry. Food trucks frequent the Smith & Lentz parking lot, and Butcher & Bee and Edley’s Bar-B-Que are waiting patiently across the street once the craft beers wake your appetite.
Lost Forty Brewing
501 Byrd St., Little Rock, AR 72202 • (501) 319-7275
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Lost Forty Brewing, situated in the heart of downtown Little Rock, is an inviting craft brewery that patrons love for its taproom vibe, as well as its menu, which features an impressive amount of local ingredients. Guests sample brews while seated along rustic, yet polished, community tables in full view of the inner workings of the brewery. The namesake of Lost Forty Brewing refers to a patch of untouched forest in Arkansas that, as legend has it, eluded timbermen and surveyors hoping to turn a profit. Brittany Hallmark of Lost Forty Brewing says the ambition of the brewery is “to craft beer as sought after and enduring as the stretch of timber from which we take our name.” Lost Forty is a place where you can get lost in not only the lore of a mysterious preserved forest, but also in an afternoon enjoying the sense of community, delicious beer and smoked kielbasa made in-house.
One of the more popular offerings, the Love Honey Bock, is a full-bodied beer sweetened with local honey. It’s an excellent brew for those newly exploring the craft beer world, described as a beer that “starts on a malty note, giving way to hints of toasted bread and caramel.” Not only do the food and drink bring patrons back again and again, but the atmosphere does, as well. Lost Forty Brewing Co. is the perfect place to unwind after a day of touring the Presidential Library or a Saturday morning perusing the Little Rock Farmers Market, and it’s a favorite in the burgeoning Little Rock brewery scene.
Burial Beer Co.
40 Collier Ave., Asheville, NC 28801 • (828) 475-2739
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Asheville’s beer scene is nothing to joke about. Microbreweries are plentiful and high caliber, and the beer culture runs deep. However, if you have to choose just one, Burial Beer Co. is a quintessential Asheville spot recommended by more than a few locals. In true Asheville style, Burial Beer Co. cites the cyclical nature of harvest and brewing as inspiration, inviting visitors to the brewery to celebrate life while sampling their experimental brews. Their current location in the South Slope neighborhood also includes an urban farm and beer garden. The upcoming year holds exciting changes for Burial Beer Co. The brewery plans to expand to a second location in Biltmore Village on a two-acre site built in the 1900s. It will include a new production facility, bar, lounge and restaurant. They also plan to expand their beer repertoire with a new line of sours and wild ales.
Orpheus Brewing Co.
1440 Dutch Valley Place NE, Ste. 2001, Atlanta, GA 30324
Hours: Thursday and Friday, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
If you have at all immersed yourself in the world of craft beer, chances are you have heard of sours. But for those just browsing, sour beers pour across a spectrum of pungent and funky to fruity and tart. Many find them irresistible, and if you are on the lookout for a good one, try Orpheus Brewing Co. in Atlanta. The bustling brewery overlooking Piedmont Park and the BeltLine, offers something unique to the Atlanta craft beer scene, including a delicious selection of saisons, sours and IPAs. There are even unusual beers on tap only available for tasting during tours. Recommended for first-time visitors is the Atalanta, Orpheus’ flagship beer. Brewmaster Jason Pellet describes it as a “tart plum saison — fruity, dry and refreshing.” The Atalanta can even be served as an alternative to white wine. Orpheus Brewing Co. fulfills a growing demand for these challenging-to-brew varieties in a great locale.
Against the Grain Brewery & Smokehouse
401 E. Main St., Louisville, KY 40202 • (502) 515-0174
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Beer lovers passing through Louisville definitely need to stop and have a pint at Against the Grain. Hops reign supreme here, and no matter the lineup, there is always a selection prominently featuring that hops flavor many beer drinkers crave. However, if hoppy beers don’t suit your palate, Against the Grain offers a variety of lighter, session beers and dark, roasted malts. They even have rare smoke beers, using smoked grains from all over the world. Against the Grain is located in the corner of the Louisville Slugger Field in a former train station, which is impressive on its own, but once inside, you have to admire the three-story operational Victorian brewhouse. Against the Grain is also not only a brewery, but a smokehouse, so come hungry. Their pork belly on a stick with sweet sorghum is an easy crowd pleaser.
Avondale Brewing Co.
201 41st St. S., Birmingham, AL 35222 • (205) 203-4546
Hours: Monday through Wednesday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Thursday, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday, 3 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.; Saturday, 12 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.
If ever there’s been a brewery with an interesting back story, it’s Avondale Brewing Company‘s. Located in Birmingham in a building that was once a pharmacy, saloon and even a brothel, Avondale Brewing Company embraces its neighborhood’s colorful history by naming its beers after the folkloric characters of Avondale’s past. Most famously, the brewery has named their boozy tripel after the alcohol-loving elephant, Miss Fancy, who would escape the Birmingham Zoo to wander the streets at night. The Meredith Marzen, an excellent Oktoberfest-style beer, gives a nod to the ghost of one of the ladies of the night who frequently haunts the upstairs. Voted best local brewery in 2015 by Birmingham Magazine, Avondale Brewing Co. celebrates its roots while growing new ones and contributing to the revitalization of the area.
Wiseacre Brewing Co.
2783 Broad Ave., Memphis, TN 38112
Hours: Wednesday through Friday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Wiseacre Brewing Co. founders Kellan and Davin Bartosch are veritable experts in beer (as one likely must be to run a brewery), but these two have taken their dedication to and research of their product to the next level. Their beer expertise comes from years of research across the United States and Europe. Davin attended brewing school in Munich and Chicago, and Kellan worked for Sierra Nevada. Their efforts have led them to be featured in craft beer publications, and their beers have received numerous prestigious awards. Try their Tiny Bomb American Pilsner, for instance. Though not an intensely hoppy beer that many associate with craft-brewed beer, Kellen explains, “A great Pilsner can be an amazing beer, just like an incredible burger can be better than a poorly cooked steak!” For beer drinkers looking for an IPA to try, the Ananda IPA is the highest rated IPA made in the state. If you are seeking a more in-depth experience, tours detailing beer history, ingredients, process and brewery history are given daily, as well as specialized tours for newly released beers that focus on the style of beer. For all the awards and accommodations, Wiseacre taproom welcomes those with any level of craft beer expertise to come and enjoy the food trucks, tunes playing on the record player and most of all, the beer.
Lenny Boy Brewing Co.
2224 Hawkins St., Charlotte, NC 28203 • (980) 585-1728
Hours: Thursday and Friday, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
You might not think holistic or healthful when you imagine spending an afternoon at a brewery, but Lenny Boy Brewing Co. may change your perspective. Lenny Boy offers kombucha, a tart and fizzy alternative brew and fermented beverage touted as high in probiotics, amino acids and vitamin B. Not only is it organic, but many say it gives them an energy boost. If you are looking for something a little stronger, Lenny Boy also offers gluten-free wild ales, gluten-reduced beers, sours and traditional beers, as well. If that’s not enough of a draw for the health conscious, this brewery holds Saturday morning Vinyasa flow yoga classes with complimentary kombucha. Lenny Boy sits comfortably as a standout in the growing Charlotte brewery scene as a unique place with a holistic approach to beer culture, which is reflected in all of their brews. Whether beer or kombucha, Lenny Boy has something to please just about everyone. Oh, and you can bring your dog with you to this dog-friendly taproom!
Terrapin Beer Co.
265 Newton Bridge Road, Athens, GA 30607 • (706) 549-3377
Tour hours: Wednesday and Thursday, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.; Sunday, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Many say a visit to Athens is incomplete without a stop at Terrapin Beer Company. Terrapin bounded onto the scene in 2002 when it introduced its first beer, the award-winning Rye Pale Ale. Since then, Terrapin has been producing award-winning beers and cemented itself as an Athens staple. We also love their affiliated women’s beer education group, Lulapin Ladies, which provides a space where women interested in learning more about beer and seeking to find their place in the craft beer community can socialize together. Each month’s meeting discusses a specific topic in beer education, from a certain style brew to beer history. If you ever wanted a peek behind the scenes of a large scale brewery, Terrapin Beer Co. tours are as approachable as the beer, and they’re complemented with frequent live musical performances and a backyard vibe.
Enjoy your Southern brewery tour. And if you find yourself at one of these, snap a pic, share it on Instagram and be sure to tag us — @StyleBlueprint. Cheers!