Brewery Tour: Yazoo Brewing Company

3 02 2010

For Christmas, I went down to Nashville, Tennessee with Christine to visit my family. While we were there, we went on the brewery tour at Nashville’s own Yazoo Brewing Company. It was a great time!

Founded in 2003 by Linus and Lila Hall, Yazoo Brewing is one of Nashville’s best. The small brewery sits in the old Marathon car factory on the southwest side of the city. Linus is the brewmaster and holds a degree in brewing from American Craftbrewers Guild and held an internship at the Brooklyn Brewery where he apprenticed under one of my heroes, Garret Oliver.

Brewery tours are are on Saturday afternoons. They begin in the taproom. Here you can grab a pint, have a growler filled or have a beer sampler. My folks, Chrisitne and I shared a sampler and compared our favorites. Linus welcomes the participants and invites them into the brewery.The tour begins with Linus explaining what beer is. He grabs a growler full of beer and begins pouring beer into everybody’s pint glasses that come with the tour.

Yazoo’s flagship beer is the Dos Perros Ale, a Vienna lager inspired ale. It has a sweet malty front end with rich biscuity and deep amber middle finished with a crisp, hop-dryness, this beer is incredibly well rounded. Linus then grabs a big handful of the Munich malt that makes the base of the grain bill. He invites every one to grab some grain and chew on it until it becomes sweet. He then encourages every one to take a sip of the Dos Perros while tasting the malt. One can really place the Munich malt in the beer after chewing on the malt.

Linus then takes every one over to the mash tun and kettle where he explains about hops. When Yazoo first started, it was just a few years before the great hops shortage of ’07. Without having a concrete relationship with hops growers and producers, Linus had to deal with what he could find. Having an inconsistent supply of hops along with a homebrewer’s background and a young brewery gave Linus a certain amount of freedom in his hoppier beers. That is when Linus came up with the IPA project. Each batch of IPA is different from the previous batch. And with the added benefit of having a small group of  die hard group of fans, Linus gets real, honest feedback on how each batch fairs. Now that the hop shortage is over, Linus is able to tinker and tool around and really have fun trying new things out for his fans.

After passing around samples of Hop Project 25, Linus passed around a pint glass filled with the same hops used in the beer. Here is a picture of Christine smelling the hops.

After every one smells the hops, Linus takes the tour to the fermenting tanks where he talks about yeast and Yazoo’s GABF Gold Metal Winning hefeweizen. Bright, light, and golden, the hefeweizen has a distinct orange and clover aroma to it, almost like a fresh orange honey. The creamy head has a slight iron

The tanks are big! They are about 12 feet tall. They hold about 150 gallons total. For a lot of breweries, that is not a lot. But from my homebrewer’s standpoint, they were massive. Linus told us that the original Yazoo site is being handed over to a local microstill. The folks who are taking over the location will be distilling small batches of whiskey and other spirits. Yazoo will be moving to a new, larger location downtown. The distillery will be using the same fermenters that Yazoo uses now. Linus then takes the tour past the kegging station where beer gets packaged for local brew pubs, bars and restaurants.

The tour concludes at the bottling station. This is where the beer gets bottled and labeled for local beer stores and grocery stores. It is a short tour. But it is intimate. And it is really neat that the owner and brewer takes time out of his busy schedule to show people around. Next time you are in Nashville, take an afternoon to visit Yazoo Brewing Company and check out their tour.

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2 responses

5 02 2010
Beth W.

Glad you had a good time. I really enjoyed myself and learned a few things. Meanwhile, I sent a link to Linus so he could read your blog.

20 04 2010
Beth

BTW – You can YAZOO beer during plays in Nashville. Very nice.

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