Updated: Sep 17
"One Love, One Heart, One Beer"
By Guest Blogger: Zach Eiting
Southern Grist Brewing Co. pushes the boundaries of the Nashville craft beer scene.
Upon entering any brewery you pull out a menu and begin plotting your course. You glance at the IPAs, Lagers, Stouts, and Ales… the beer basics.
But at Southern Grist what you don’t expect as a beer lover, will shock your taste buds and leave you guessing as to what else you can find on their menu. In order to truly experience the surprise flavoring at Southern Grist Brewing Co., you must keep your mind and palate open to new flavors and styles of beer.
Something unique about Southern Grist is that their beers are “experimental” and small batch. This means that they never brew extremely large quantities of one beer. Small batch brewing gives Southern Grist the flexibility to experiment and try an enormous amount of flavors and styles. It also means their menu is ever changing, you could get a beer there one day and the next month, they don’t make it anymore. They brew in “series” creating beers in similar styles and flavor profiles so there may be a beer similar to the one you enjoyed last time.
For this specific review I will be rating Southern Grist Brewing Company’s taproom in the Highland Yards neighborhood of East Nashville.
To break down the review, I will award up to two points for each category to give a score out of ten. The categories are: exterior, interior, food, beer, and overall atmosphere.
The first category to be rated is the exterior. The East Nashville area is up and coming and very popular among locals. However, the specific part of East Nashville that Southern Grist is located in isn’t very busy. There isn’t much to walk to in the area making this location more of a destination place versus somewhere you’d just stop by. There are more surrounding shops and attractions at the taproom in the Nations and off of Douglas Ave. However the building exterior of the Highland Yards taproom is very nice. There are also two different patio areas located out front and along side of the building providing lots of room to sit outside on sunny days. There is plenty of room in the parking lot and street parking is available as well. I give the exterior score a 1.25 because there isn’t much in the way of other shops or restaurants to walk to, but the abundance of patio space is really good.
Next, we will take a look at the interior. I felt the interior was designed incredibly well. In the center of the room is a 360 degree bar with seats all around. At the front of the room are plenty of pub tables for smaller groups and at the back of the room are long benches with tables for larger groups. When I last visited, a Christmas themed bar crawl was going on and the large space easily accommodated everyone in the taproom. There is also a refrigerator at the door with canned beers that you can purchase on your way out which is convenient because you don’t have to buy a growler to take home your favorite brews.
I would score the interior as a 1.75 boosted by the spaciousness and the cool 360 degree bar.
The next category to be reviewed is food. Southern Grist has an incredible menu featuring share-ables, brunch, lunch, and dinner options. The menus include vegan, gluten-free, and vegetarian options to be inclusive to all preferences/needs.
The food being served in this taproom is certainly restaurant quality and can meet a variety of wants and needs. I recommend checking out the menu provided on their website before visiting. Southern Grist gets a food score of 2 due to the variety and quality of options.
Finally, what you've been waiting for. Beer.
As I mentioned earlier, Southern Grist makes a variety of wild flavored beers that will surprise even the most seasoned beer drinker’s palate. I got a flight of beers which consisted of four small sample size glasses of so that I could taste the variety of flavors and styles that Southern Grist has to offer.
The first beer that I got was called Hawaiian Thanksgiving and it is labeled as a Sour. This beer had a pomegranate flavor to it and in my opinion it was just an ok beer. Nothing too shocking.
The next beer I got was called Blueberry Cobbler. This was labeled as a Pastry Sour. I was absolutely mind blown by the similarities of the beer to actual blueberry cobbler. It was incredible and hardly tasted like beer.
Stunned, I moved onto the Mango Upside Down Cake IPA. This is labeled as an Imperial IPA and I thought the hops drowned out the mango flavoring.
Lastly, I tried Canela Oscuro which is a Milk Stout. This one was below average in terms of stout flavoring. It tasted a little more bland like a Guinness would.
After my harrowing flight experience filled with peaks and valleys I decided to go with their classic Southern Crisp Pilsner. I was reminded by what a classical style of beer tasted like and I thought it was rather refreshing.
Overall I will give Southern Grist a beer score of 1.25 with their experimenting small batch style brewing there is going to be a lot of crazy and unique styles and flavors. Some will be incredible and others will flop.
Lastly, I will review the overall atmosphere. I enjoyed the atmosphere of Southern Grist. There was a bustle to the place due to it being a bar crawl location and it was a mix of both restaurant quality dishes flying around and eclectic looking beers everywhere you looked. The bartenders and waiters were very knowledgeable and added to the experience. Overall, I would give the atmosphere a 1.75 because it looks, sounds, and feels like a brewery.
Overall Southern Grist Brewing Company scored an 8/10. This is because the outside provided plenty of patio space but lacked other things to do in the area. The interior flowed well featuring plenty of seating and a 360 degree bar. The food is accommodating to any want or need with snacks, brunch, lunch, and dinner options. The beer reaches an enormous variety of style and flavor pairings. It is going to be a hit or miss with a lot of the beers but that adds to the excitement and fun of the experience! Finally, the overall atmosphere was everything you could want in a brewery. Southern Grist is certainly one of the best and unique breweries you can find in all of the South.
I will be back to experiment and sample as many flavors and styles as the expansive taproom has to offer!
Follow author Zach Eiting on Instagram for more brewery content.