When I think of Nashville, beer is not the first thing that comes to mind. Hank Williams, Sr. and the Ryman Auditorium are common associations with the country music capital of the world.  But standard reputation aside, the truth is that Tennessee has a rich brewing history. Hell, in 1903 the Tennessee Brewing Company was one of the largest breweries in the south and was turning out 250,000 barrels a year. To put things into perspective, that’s roughly four times Dogfish Head’s present day production volume. Fast forward almost 110 years and you will find a resurgent brewing culture throughout the south. At the center of this renaissance is Yazoo Brewing of Nashville, Tennessee. Owner Linus Hall is no newcomer to the craft beer game. Hall apprenticed under Garrett Oliver at Brooklyn Brewery and then spent five years perfecting his brewing under the American Brewer’s Guild before going on to open Yazoo Brewing in 2003.

Type: Production brewery

Available in DC Market: No

Beer #1: Fortuitous (Smoked Sour Ale (!) / 10% ABV)

Beer Advocate: 86 (10 Reviews )
Rate Beer: 97 Overall, 79 Style
Notes: This is just a cool freakin’ beer.  Back in 2010, Yazoo sent a batch of their highly acclaimed “Sue” American Smoked Porter out into the world, only to have some of it returned as the beer was not as advertised – the batch had been infected with something.  After collecting and replacing all of the “off” bottles they could, the brewers at Yazoo tasted the beer and thought, “Hmm…this is developing into something interesting.”  After some aging, the unpleasant diacetyl flavors died out, replaced by a tart, albeit thin, taste.  After blending the sour beer with some Barrel-Aged Sue, as well as some standard Sue, Fortuitous was born.  By analyzing the microbes in the beer, Yazoo has developed a method to brew this beer again and again for our enjoyment.  Filled with complexity, this smoked sour delivers a range of sour, berry-like flavors alongside deep smoky tobacco notes and dark fruit.  In short, this is a hell of a beer and I can’t wait to get my hands on some.


Beer #2: Rye Saison (Saison / 5% ABV)

Beer Advocate: 86 (41 Reviews)
Rate Beer:
73 Overall,  37 Style
Notes: Yazoo brought this beer along to SAVOR last year and it must have been a hit because here it is once again.  Consistent with the saison style, this offering will have the typical sharp yeast and faint sour notes. Obviously, the rye is a bit of a curveball for this style, but it seems like it works well and will play into the style’s general spiciness.

What you need to know:

Yazoo Brewing should be one of the more interesting but lesser known attendees at this year’s event. That’s what makes the lottery process work so well: it provides equal opportunities for breweries like Yazoo to expand their reach and get great visibility in a craft beer crowd. These guys seem to be both traditional at heart and willing to show a bit of a creative side by deviating slightly from the norm and creating really unique beers (even if it is by accident).

This profile is a part of the DCBEER.COM SAVOR Brewery Profile series. For more information, follow the link to see profiles of all 2012 SAVOR participants.

Beer Review Disclaimer: The beer reviews found on Beer Advocate and Rate Beer do not represent the opinions of this site. We provide these in the hope that they will serve as a resource showing what some craft beer fans have thought of the beers. These reviews can be a helpful guideline, but are not the be-all end-all about a beer’s strengths or weaknesses.