East Nashville Beer Festival

Reported by Ken Carman for Professor Goodales

You would never know by looking at the empty tents, but shortly after the picture to your left was taken this became the location of Nashville’s newest, quite amazing, very popular beer festival in Nashville, Tennessee. And not just “the location,” but a very packed location. Festival goers varied with a very wide range of ages from 21 to the elderly. We even had mothers and daughters, sons and fathers, together basking in a wonderful spring day and the bubbly beauty of good beer.

As organizer Matt Leff told us at our own booth for Music City Brewers, “When I moved here I was unhappy there was only one beer festival here.” That festival is held when it is very hot and humid in the summer. Matt wanted something better than that. I’m never been able to attend that other event, but since I’m heat adverse and it’s mid summer, I’m not crying. But I do enjoy pouring beer and passing in knowledge to craft beer eager souls, so I was delighted to be here.

Now I didn’t get a good picture of the Music City Brewers booth, unfortunately. I was busy pouring and I took one that didn’t come out. Digital cameras can be funky. But I did get a couple pictures of nearby was local brewer: Hamilton Creek. This is strictly a home brew operation right now, but they have had so much success they are considering “taking it to the next step. It says a lot about homebrewer’s dedication to the craft that they set up their own pouring systems/taps and head out at their own expense just to provide the public with good beer and beer education when they’re selling nothing, like Hamilton and Music City Brewers. As you will soon see this festival went from empty to packed very fast.

This is the back of the big vendor’s tent. There were quite a few pouring from Karen Lassiter the brewer at the local Boscos brewpub, to Sierra Nevada a large craft brewery, various southeast brewpubs like Foot Hills in Asheville, NC… Magic Hat and Left Hand from Vermont and Colorado, respectively. Even Sam Calagione’s Dogfish was there out of Delaware, I think because they wanted to assure Tennesseans that pulling out of their state due to too much demand was a temporary situation. We had local, soon to be brewing in Nashville, Jackalope, with two women brewers and one of the “upcoming attractions” for thirsty Nashvillians to quaff. I’m hoping to interview owners Bailey Spaulding or Robyn Virball soon. And we have little known, as of yet, companies like Calfkiller out of Sparta, TN. I didn’t get a chance to try their fare, but don-cha love the logo cut in wood? Beer creates an intense dedication that, in my opinion, surpasses wine. It is generally a snob free passion, in comparison. The usual focus: taste, not being “classy.”

You can tell that one could barely move inside the main tent. “Packed” would be an understatement. You may notice the gentleman wearing the beer shirt. There were plenty of them: each with unique character. That’s what I mean by “dedication.” I know some had specially made shirts with sayings they came up with: not just off the shelf beer shirts.

Below you will find one of the festival’s happy pourers. He also happens to be a member of our homebrew club too, but he was pouring for Boscos, a small brewpub chain from Nashville, Memphis and Little Rock… pouring for them because some slave driving brewer in tight black leather, jackboots, had her fiendish whip out and ordering Adam, who just happens to be her assistant, to “man up” and “man” the taps. Oh, wait, Karen. Are you going to read this too? Sorry about that. Just joking about the leather and all that.

To give you an idea of the size of just the main tent what you see below is only about a quarter of the tent before the crowds descended. The bugger was huge and packed. At $35 a head, a price some might squirm at, it’s obvious the festival was a big success.

A note must be sung in favor of the vendors. I had an incredible taco while I was there out of an old Winnebago, there were Brats (No, the food. This was an adult affair, obviously.) and plenty of other options. I heard nothing but praise when it came to the selection and taste.

Of course, after an afternoon of drinking beer the inevitable happened. You were able to gaze up at the Nashville skyline just across the river as you headed off take care of… Oh, wait. That’s the wrong picture below.

This was from the canine cheese and milk festival I attended last year. They also served many barrels of juice drinks: juice extracted from steak, liver, chicken and pork. No wonder my collie waited in that line almost the whole day to get to the tree. Of course the little dog did what most little dogs do: whatever he wants, and wherever he wants to do it.

But, to be honest, all odd attempts at humor aside, the human line at the end of the festival to “take care of business” was almost as long as my attempt to make a joke out of the whole thing.

Once you scroll down, you’ll see where the line was.

Anyway, all in all it was a beautiful day, with a bit of a breeze, and none of that roast your feet off on pavement feeling you get during the summer beer festival I’ve been told about. I never attend that one because I get as far away as I can from summer in the South.

So the day ended well on a light spring breeze and full of good beer, satisfied, quaff-ers left quietly… some not so quietly… but still hoping for another successful festival in 2012.

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