Nashville’s island? Well, I call it that. It being Metrocenter. A “river” of highway to the south, and the Cumberland on the east and north, there is basically one way in, one way out. Okay, okay, you can in reality get in from the west toward TSU, or the secret way in off Third, but face it, when those office monstrosities let out for the end of the day, you know where they go. They go to Rosa, Rosa Parks, Eighth. It is a mess.
So how did Honky Tonk end up on the island? Opportunity and availability. Owner, brewer, sales guy, welder, janitor Scott Swygert looked in earnest for six months. He finally found this spot, at 240 Cumberland Bend. Pretty easy to get there, really. Enter the island from the south, take the second right, go through the three way stop, take the first left and follow it around. Honky Tonk Brewing on the left!
So where did this one start? Well, like every brewery start up, Scott started home brewing, a great hobby for most. But Scott decided very early on that he wanted to go pro. The name was a relative no brainer with respect to the appeal that is Nashville. And Honky Tonk Brewing was introduced to the world, through facebook anyway, on February 28, 2012.
The pursuit of private funding began, selling $10,000 shares. By August of that year, he met his initial goal of half mil, then buying his first piece of equipment, a 15 barrel steam fired mash tun, in October. That put a little pressure on finding space, just as Czann’s did with theirs.
The brewery slowly came together, with parts and pieces being purchased from around the country. That included 200 gallon stainless steel tanks from Smuckers, currently being used as finishing tanks. All the equipment finally was in place and the brewery started to be assembled, in the final design iteration, in May of this year.
Things started to happen rather quickly at that point. In July, the taproom was ready. In August, the license was approved. In early September, the first brew was boiled. On September 24, the first beer was publicly poured in the taproom, although Music City Brew Tours had a private tasting the week before. Most importantly, though, the first keg was delivered on October 28 to the Picnic Tap, in the farmers market.
One last note on the brew system is the boiling tank. At just over 20 barrels, very sizable for a start up, the kettle has a conical bottom. This allows for a very efficient brew, about 98% recovery, as the trub is removed from the bottom. Outsizing the mash tun, also unusual, when sales demand, he will be able to double mash to take advantage of the size.
As for the taproom, it’s huge! Room for close to a hundred. It is comfortable and appealing. Currently able to pour up to six beers, with room for plenty more as needed, the regulars are recognized on the chalkboard with the number of visits. Pretty cool.
And the beer is great. The West Coast IPA is spot on with over 90 IBU’s. The Wheat IPA was a happy accident, and the Amber is rich and malty. The only downside, perhaps, is that Scott is also the sales and delivery guy. That means, with limited time, all the current accounts are essentially on the way home on the west side. Look for his beer at the Picnic Tap, Beer Pale, TailGate Beer, as well as in the gulch at Hops and Crafts and the Pub.
The taproom is only open on Friday and now Saturday, so make sure to get out and try the great, fresh craft beer from Nashville’s newest brewery, Honky Tonk.
Time for a pint. Cheers