The Music City Festival and BBQ Championship returns to Nashville this weekend with a new location. The new location for the festival is the Tennessee State Fairgrounds just south of downtown, at 500 Wedgewood. The new site is tailor made for an event like this which will feature over one hundred talented and dedicated barbeque teams competing in over a dozen sanctioned categories ranging from Seafood to Whole Hog.
But on to the beer part. Hosted by the Great American Craft Beer Tour, they decided that the best approach to the Biergarten would be to feature local draft craft beer. Beyond that, rather than have a smattering of ten or so breweries, with maybe one or two barrels per brewery, they chose to feature only the breweries of the Nashville Brewery District.
The Brewery District has grown organically from Yazoo Brewing Company moving to 910 Division about five years ago from their Marathon Village location. Jackalope joined in, just a few blocks away on Eighth Ave. about three years ago. Czann's joined in at Fifth and Lea about eighteen months ago, followed shortly after, almost exactly a year ago, by Tennessee Brew Works at Ewing and Ash. Hops and Crafts, a 36 tap craft beer bar at Twelfth and Pine, though not a brewery, is often included in the Brewery District, because, well, we can. Oh yeah, Smith and Lentz will be opening across the street from Czann's later this year.
Rounding out the beer side, Granite City Food and Brewery is going to present all of the six styles of beer they produce at their Franklin location. Granite City is a St. Cloud, Minn. based chain brewery with 30 locations in 13 states. Their brewing process is unique, though, and has me a little skeptical. They make all the wort, for all locations, in Minnesota. The wort, by the way, is the water, grains, hops, etc., that makes up the brewing process. The wort is then shipped to all the restaurant locations where the yeast is pitched and fermentation begins. This is a patented process that they call Fermentus Interruptus. This, of course, eliminates the opportunity to use local ingredients and/or small batch experimentation. I am definitely looking forward to trying the beer, especially to see how the hops hold up after brewing, then shipping. Should be interesting.
Now to be fair, most of the over 20,000 attending the event will be there for the barbeque. And I guess rightly so. The competition is somewhat rare in that it is sanctioned by both the Kansas City BBQ Society and the Memphis BBQ Network. Many of the teams include full time barbeque chefs that travel around the country to competitions such as this. The mobile BBQ and smoker rigs many of the teams use to travel are absolutely ingenious and themselves make it worth the trip.
The event is this Friday and Saturday, Aug. 22-23. Friday runs from 5:00 to 11:00 p.m. Saturday is open from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. The Biergarten will be open the entire time. General admission is only $7 Friday, $9 Saturday, or $10 for both days. There is also a Smokin' Hot section, which is an all inclusive section with BBQ samples and beer. The cost for that is $25 Friday, $40 Saturday, or $60 combined. Music both days will be provided by the Nashville Blues Society.
The Music City Festival and BBQ Championship is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and they have donated over $30,000 to the Shriners Hospital for Children. Great beer, great barbeque, great music, with proceeds going to charity. Can't go wrong.
Time for a pint. Cheers!