Brew Biz: Werts and All

This is the taproom for…

Jackalope Brewing
701 Eighth Ave. S.
Nashville, TN

Looks kind of lonely, doesn’t it?

Not for long!

The following was selectively edited from to suit the purposes of this column…


The jackalope — also called an antelabbit , aunt benny , Wyoming thistled hare or stagbunny — in folklore is said to be a cross between a jackrabbit and an antelope (hence the name), goat, or deer, and is usually portrayed as a rabbit with antlers.

The legend of the jackalope has bred the rise of many outlandish (and largely tongue-in-cheek) claims as to the creature’s habits. For example, it is said to be a hybrid of the pygmy-deer and a species of “killer-rabbit.” The jackalope will drink its fill of whiskey and its intoxication will make it easier to hunt. It has also been said that jackalopes will only breed during electrical storms including hail, explaining its rarity.

All “true,” Except for the whiskey part.



Ken Carman is a BJCP judge; homebrewer since 1979, club member at Escambia Bay and Music City Homebrewers, who has been interviewing professional brewers all over the east coast for over 10 years.

Brew Biz is a column written by Ken Carman for Professor Goodales

So, let’s see… fast as a rabbit? Well, perhaps a deer in the headlights might be more apt. Or maybe my Aunt E. Lope? Whenever you start something as complex and prone to snafus; legal and otherwise, well intentions take time to cross the road. But Jackalope was close the day I visited…

…speaking of “across the road.”

The first time I visited Jackalope the cupboard was bare, well the warehouse, waiting for the brewing equipment. Construction signs on the door. The small, homebrew-like, system they used to brew their first batches seemed so lonely. I’ll take it off your hands. Seriously. If you saw what I brew with you’d take pity on me.

It all had to be frustrating for owners Bailey Spaulding and Robyn Virball, who met in St. Andrews, Scotland; where the dream for this adventure began.

Bailey and I sat for a while and talked about how this all began, the idea for a socially conscious brewery.

They were both students, Bailey was a Harvard student doing a semester abroad and Robyn was beginning undergrad at St. Andrews. You know how it goes. You go to the local pub, my favorite one in college had rocking chairs and you could bring your dogs in! …or the college pub, and soon you’re best of friends as you chat about dorm life, or college life in general, and soon your playing pool, darts, or in their case teaching Europeans how to play beer pong.

Now I feel old. Beer pong, guys? We were more into pool and that weird puck-based bowling machine.

Oh, and chatting about… beer!

Well, that was a single semester abroad for Bailey, who went back to Vanderbilt for her law degree and Robyn entered the working world: marketing and sales in Boston. But the dream of opening a brewery with a social conscious for a community lured Robyn to team up again with Bailey in Nashville.


Speaking of “cool…”

That’s the nice size walk in cooler’s gaping mouth longing to be filled with beer. Writing this at 4am and being a serious beer geek, I understand. What, no pre-dawn competitions I can judge in?

Steve Wright, intern, and I talked about drainage, as I noticed several grates. He mentioned they may put in ways to divert the water to make sure they weren’t in some indoor version of the Everglades or the Atchafalaya in Louisiana. An option only a Crocodile Dundee would prefer. Though, now that I think of it, swamp brewing may be a great way to get… croc-ed.

Here’s Steve…

Now the sampling room and the taps are finished, except final touches, and I thought, “What a great, warming, homey, room to sit, chat and quaff a pint or two, or…

I will be back to report on their beer in the fall, since I go on tour. I’m Michael Jackson’s stand in until he returns. No, not the guy with the glove! The beer guru. Nah, I’m an entertainer of sorts. And looking at the beginnings (cue the Chicago song) I think my first pint here will be very entertaining.


A few days after starting this edition of Brew Biz the aliens arrived in Nashville and landed in Jackalope Brewing. Here you see their three conical (fermenting) spaceships lying on their sides.

Nah, the equipment arrived! Whew! For a moment I thought these were Transformers ready to colonize Nashville and turn Music Row Techno. Hm, might be interesting…

They even opened for pints. Unfortunately I was out of town. Rats, foiled again!

The taproom looks better with people, right? Could also be my spastic camera, but see what I mean about a warm and inviting place to quaff?

As their website says, there may be no unicorns in Nashville, but I do believe a lotta folks will be spotting a Jackalope… at least for a pint or two.



Brew Biz: Werts and All, is a column dedicated to reviewing, discussing and commenting on all things beer including, but not limited to: marketing, homebrewing and homebrew/beer related events, how society perceives all things beer. Also: reviews of beer related businesses, opinions about trends in the beer business, and all the various homebrew, judging and organizations related to beer. Essentially, all things “beer.”

©Copyright 2011
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
All Rights Reserved

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