By Dominick Platt
I’m a born and raised Memphian. I know all the back roads and have been to about every local place you could think of, and some you can’t. However, even with my love for fantastic beer and my pride in our cuisine, I’ve neglected my knowledge of our local beer, the breweries that make them, and the culture that is growing around and from out of them. So when my team pitched the idea for articles during beer week, I thought this would be the perfect excuse… I mean opportunity… to get out this week, try some beers, and tell you good people what I thought of them. But, I didn’t know where to start. So for those like me who are uneducated on the local beer scene, let's go through some of the major breweries in the area to give us a start into this budding culture.
Ghost River Brewing Company
827 South Main Street, Memphis, TN. 38106
Let’s start off with the big one: Ghost River. I’ve actually had one or two of these bubbling bottles in the past, and they left a satisfying, golden taste that wanted me to get a few more. However, I didn’t know they were local until I did some research on them. They’ve served good beer to Memphis since 2007, and they boast that one dollar of every barrel they sell goes as a donation to The Wolf River Conservancy. They know how to give back. They boast three unique beers that can be bought any time: Gold, which I can recommend, Riverbank Red, and 1887. All three offer different, tasty experiences for the palate. They offer seasonal beers too, the current one in circulation being Lost Hive, which they describe by stating: “Along with the honey from our friend on the Wolf River, we add some orange peel for a little pop for the perfect summer beer”. For those that have tried all of these, this brewery still has several more beers to offer. A good starting point in our beer adventure, to be sure.
Wiseacre Brewing Company
2783 Broad Avenue, Memphis, TN. 38112
The next stop in our survey is Wiseacre. They’re the producers of Memphis favorites like Ananda and Tiny Bomb. As a man who worked at a bar for several years, I can tell you from personal experience, these are hits and should be stocked in any Memphis bar. Again, I had no idea these were local beers, even with my work, but from tasting these colorful cans you can tell they were made with passion. Wiseacre also offers Gotta Get Up to Get Down, a coffee-based beer I’m dying to try, and Adjective Animal, which has as much assorted fruit mixed in it as a produce aisle. These are all their year-around beers, with several seasonal and specialty beers to choose from as well. Definitely the brewery with the most diverse collection for the beer adventurer.
High Cotton Brewing Company
598 Monroe Avenue, Memphis, TN. 38103
Our last stop is this little watering hole on Monroe: High Cotton Brewery. The smallest of the three breweries we’ve looked at thus far, High Cotton still offers that patented Memphian passion put into every drop of their beer. Their main beer is one that shines a deep, golden copper and has a satisfying bitter kick to it: ESB (Extra Special Bitter). I’m more of a sweet-toothed man, but this is their frontrunner. They offer several other options as well such as Scottish Ale, Dunkelweizen, and Ctzar. Some of those are hard to pronounce, but I’m sure these aficionados can help you out. Their website has solid descriptions of all their available beers, to give you a clear idea of the one that’s perfect for you.
While I wasn’t able to cover every local concoction Memphis has to offer, this is a good starting place for someone like me who has no idea where to begin. Try out these three fine breweries next time you’re out; they’re served at most Memphis bars. Enjoy, and please, drink responsibly.
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Dominick Platt is a staff writer with The Galleon and a major in Creative Writing at Christian Brothers University.