By Bobby Bush
Just past Bohannon Brewing in downtown Nashville and around a corner, I was greeted
by a store side sign proclaiming 99 beers. So down a dank stairwell we trod into Beer
Sellar. Yes indeed, there were at least 99 beers. Fifty of those were on tap. Darts, pool
tables and plenty of seating, this five year old pub really knows beer. As did our cute,
outgoing bartender Jenny.
Scanning the tap handles mounted two high on the bar back, we spied Spaten
Munich, Starapramen Pilsner, Redhook ESB, Anchor Steam, Pyramid Hefe, Fling Down,
Sierra Nevada Porter, Arrogant Bastard, Bass, Tennetís, Boddington and Abitaís Purple
Haze. Only three taps were out, not a bad ratio. About the only new beer to these
bloodshot eyes was Gerst, a beer originally brewed in Nashville, according to Jenny, and
now made in Pittsburgh. With time for only one beer before moving on, I chose the
potent Belgian Maresous 8. As expected it was sweet with hints of pickled beets and a
dry sugary finish. Beer Sellar is indeed a wondrous beer cellar/seller.
Just a few blocks away, across the street from the Frist Museum, we discovered
another 76 beers on tap. Part of a chain of multi-tap beer houses, Flying Saucer (thereís
one in Raleigh) had a back bar of shiny pennies and taps sporting the likes of Rogue,
Abita, Sierra Nevada, Pyramid and many many imports. Plates (saucers) decorated the
ceiling and walls. I selected a Salvator dopplebock. A heavy, deep copper-hued German
lager, it was smooth and tempting with sugary caramel malt flavor. Talking with the
bartender, we learned that the only local beers on tap were actually leftovers from New
Knoxville Brewing, a microbrewery that had been out of business for at least four months.
Surprisingly, neither New Knoxville XX nor Mild were showing the effect of age. But
since they were hiding behind Rogue tap handles, the UFO patrons were oblivious to its
One thing garnered from the experience of these two Nashville beer bars: if you
want locally brewed beer, go to a brewpub.
So thatís exactly what we did for dinner. We headed to Boscos Nashville
Brewing Company. Situated near a huge hospital and Vanderbilt University, Boscos has
been abrewing since 1992. Almost ten years later, itís still humping.
Every week day, a lucky happy-hour patron wins the right to drive a spigot into a
pin of cask-conditioned ale. Though we missed the 5:30 cellarmaster ceremony, the Isle
of Skye Scottish Ale still left in the small keg, served at room temp, was smooth, foamy
and sultry in almost a feminine manner. From a wide curved bar we tried the others as
well. Award-winning Famous Flaming Stone Bier, brewed using a traditional German
technique, was golden clear. Smooth and subtly sweet with minty aftertaste, this was one
great session brew. A 1997, 2000 and 2001 Real Ale Fest medalist, IPA opened with an
inviting fruity flavor and texture which quickly subsided revealing intense hop bitterness
from mid-mouth onward. A lagered German ale, dark copper Germantown Alt was
bittersweet like dark chocolate, finishing quickly, while the draft version of Isle of Skye
revealed more chocolate than its cask counterpart. Edís Porter, a London style reddish
brown porter, was honey blessed creating a malty near-addictive taste.
Brewer Fred Scheer, whoís been in that position for just over a year, also crafts a
few specials/seasonals in his upstairs brewery. Boscos Tennessee Cream Ale had a slick,
light mouthfeel, i.e. a good summer drink. A ďsuper premium version of [the] normally
brewed Alt beer,Ē Boscos Smoky Alt was darker and richer than Boscosí regular Alt. It
was so good that, unfortunately, my glass was empty before I got the total effect. Brewed
with Tennessee wildflower honey, Boscos Honey Rye was a pleasant sipping beer but I
found no hint of rye. Unusual for a brewpub, Boscos also bottle conditions several ales.
Per state law, they must be consumed on the premises. Drat!
Boscosí smoked duck spring roll appetizer and Moroccan spiced venison chops
provided fitting accompaniment for such an amazing array of beer. Hey, thereís no way
you can go wrong with Boscos.
Come along for another great Nashville brewpub, Blackstone
This article first appeared in Focus, a weekly paper published in Hickory, North Carolina.
© Bobby Bush