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Old Shed amongst debuts at Music City Brewers Festival

Ole Shed amongst a number of debuts at Music City Brewers Festival.

Nashville's original and biggest beer festival hit downtown last weekend with two sessions of craft beer tasting madness. With over sixty breweries and malt beverage drinks from which to sample, it is fair to say that everyone had something to enjoy.

The first session went seamlessly without the lines that typically await the twelve noon opening. The crowd swelled slowly and never got overwhelming. This turned out to be the best opportunity to access as many tasting stations as was safely feasible.

And tasting there was to be done. As someone with almost 2,000 unique beers sampled on the Untappd app, I was still able to add close to twenty new craft beers.

The first new sample of the day was Nashville Hot by Yazoo Brewing Company. This beer was created for the Hot Chicken Festival. It is their summer beer with cayenne peppers in the keg and pushed through a Randall of mostly jalapeno peppers. Linus that morning described it like a beer bloody Mary. Turned out he was right if you like spicy bloody Mary's, like me. This one had immense pepper aroma with a nice hot bite.

One of the other break out moments was the introduction of Great Lakes Brewing Company to Nashville. This Cleveland based brewery is very highly regarded in the beer community with an amazing array of year round beers. They are possibly best known for their Christmas beer, the likes of which people from Tennessee travel to more reasonable and fairly taxed Kentucky (long story, sorry) to acquire. They have yet to sign with a distributor, but this is a good sign.

One other nice Nashville launch was that of Ole Shed. This is a Tullahoma, Tenn. based brewery that has essentially been in the works for about sixteen years. Long time friends Mike Thornburh and Mike Ramsey started brewing beer in an old out building, aka shed, and raced to alternate and one up each other. Eventually, they decided to just combine their efforts and brew together. They finally got to the point, like most small brewery stories, where their buddies said they had to sell their beer. And they did. About a year ago, they got all the pain in the butt licensing out of the way and started to sell their beer. They have a distributing agreement with Mid-South, part of the great SEC Distributing group, for distribution into south cental Tennessee. They are not yet available in Nashville, but their beer is certainly well worth tracking down and sampling.

Another fun part of the show was the Lagunitas Lounge area. This laid back area in the upper patio was under a bigger tent with couches , lounge chairs, and a circus maximus, of sorts, dancing around the perimeter. How can you not have fun here? Especially with great beer.

The second session, just as a note, may have been oversold. With the ridiculous proliferation of half-ass beer festivals in town, the ticket sales for this event were down. As such, they may have sold an abundance of walk up tickets for the generally cooler and more comfortable second session. Beer lines weren't bad, but it seemed like the bathroom lines were pretty bad. Maybe carry overs from session one. Fortunately, I live a block away.

Either way, great event supporting Second Harvest. Well worth the time and money.

Time for a pint. Cheers!

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