You might remember Garr Schwartz as one of the founders and the original master brewer at Tennessee Brew Works, where he earned a reputation for developing extremely food-friendly beers that featured culinary ingredients such as lime zest and roasted sweet potatoes. Schwartz left TBW a while back to head in a different direction and has recently emerged with a plan to release his own line of brews under the Garr's Beer Co. label.
While he doesn't have a new brewery yet, there is a tradition of "gypsy brewing," where artisans travel to other facilities to brew their own recipes. Schwartz has spent quite a bit of time developing new recipes, finding equipment to brew on and lining up local distribution in advance of releasing his beers back into the Nashville market. After all that work, he finally has a plan in motion, and you should see the first of Garr's Beer Co. products hitting bars in Nashville around the middle of July. He also plans to release his beer in cans sometime in the near future. Lipman will be his local distributor.
Schwartz traveled to Washington, D.C., to brew his first batch after investigating a few options in Colorado. He's still looking at other potential locations, truly embodying the life of a gypsy brewer. His first release will be a Lemon Lime Basil Kölsch, a delicious summer beer that I have been fortunate enough to sample in advance when Schwartz was still trying out recipes in small scale.
It's here. After years of debate, marathon lobbying by various interests, and intense haggling over details, today it becomes legal in Tennessee for grocery stores to sell wine.
After Bites' Lesley Lassiter gave us a heads-up earlier in the week, the Scene's Cari Wade Gervin contributes a thoughtful cover story about not just the advent of wine in grocery stores, but other issues in alcohol regulation in the state, including the arrival of a new head of the Alcohol Beverage Commission, Clay Byrd, a 31-year-old attorney who is perceived as more pro-business than predecessors.
One thing he promises to do is modernize the ABC website, allowing online permit applications. More broadly, he wants to examine all of Tennessee's alcohol laws. "We are going to look at amending and updating rules and regulations that the commission promulgates," Byrd says. "The benefit you have ... is that you solicit input from various stakeholders, and I think that will be a unique opportunity to collaborate with people across the industry, to say, 'What does the industry understand this to mean?' and, 'What impact does the general law have here, and how can we craft the rule to reflect industry practices?' "
What are your thoughts about wine in grocery stores? And the regulation of alcoholic beverages in our region in general? And this is the Open Thread: What else is on your mind?
A couple of years ago, you could regularly find the folks from The BE Hive hosting vegan buffet/benefit nights at The Wild Cow. The concept behind the meal was to advocate for "healthy lifestyle choices, community involvement and sustainable environmental practices" through vegan foods, with a portion of buffet proceeds benefiting a nonprofit organization with similar values. Jack Silverman wrote about The BE Hive buffet back in 2012.
After a hiatus (due, in part to the production and expansion of wholesale and retail BE Hive seitan products), the BE Hive Buffet is back, now at The East Room, an event space that also houses the company's production kitchen. The next BE Hive Buffet is coming up Monday, July 11, from 4 to 10 p.m. Along with all-you-can eat vegan food with a summer theme (vegan versions of picnic favorites), there will be musical entertainment and desserts from Vegan Vee.
The cost of the event is just $15 per person. and a portion of the night's proceeds will benefit Walk/Bike Nashville. The BE Hive seeks to showcase the many ways vegan food can be delicious, and the buffet concept allows people to sample a little of everything. Check out the menu and other details on The BE Hive's Facebook page.
The BE Hive Buffet
Monday, July 11
4 to 10 p.m.
The East Room
2412 Gallatin Ave.
$15 per person ($13 to-go option)
While everyone else is thinking about Independence Day, Table 3 is making big plans for their fifth annual Bastille Day celebration on July 14. Commemorating the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, the Green Hills favorite is planning a special prix-fixe tasting menu with optional wine pairings, available for the entire week July 11-17.
The Bastille Celebration menus will be available for $25 for lunch and $35 for dinner, and co-owner and sommelier Elise Loehr has put together a fantastic set of wines to accompany the dishes.
"We have been humbled by the support of the community over the years and particularly during special events like the Bastille Day Celebration” says co-owner Wendy Burch. “Even with the unprecedented and continued growth of Nashville, our friends and neighbors have continued to make Table 3 their home.”
Table 3 Restaurant & Market, 3821 Green Hills Village Drive (next to the mall), is open daily for lunch and dinner, so make your Bastille plans now. Reservations are not required, but they are strongly encouraged. Reservations may be made by calling 615-739-6900 or by visiting table3nashville.com.
At the fifth Mystery Beer Dinner at City House earlier this month, attendees were delighted by some interesting new beer news. One of the mysteries of the annual dinner was that City House executive sous chef Aaron Clemins and former City House employee (and current managing partner at Collo Rosso Pizza) Juliet Ceballos have been collaborating with Yazoo's Brandon Jones on a super-secret brewing project.
Jones is in charge of the "Embrace the Funk" series of sour beer at Yazoo, and together with Clemins and Ceballos has developed a new gin-barrel-aged sour blonde ale they are calling "Blondes Have More Fun." In another fun local element, Corsair provided the gin barrels to age the beer in, and the team has spent more than two years developing this product.
It will only be available at the restaurant, and the supply is quite limited. Similar to how Blackberry Farm created their saison farmhouse ale program to accompany the menu at their restaurant, this beer is intended to be paired with the delicious food that Clemins, Tandy Wilson and the rest of the team prepare at City House.
If you get a chance to try one of these large format bottles with a meal at City House, let us know what you think of the collaboration.
Big changes are happening at Blackstone, the oldest and most-awarded brewery in town. After 21 years of operating a brewpub at their West End location, they have announced they're closing the restaurant for the next few months for a complete remodeling face lift, effective Friday, July 1. (Meanwhile, Blackstone is opening a new taproom at its brewing site just north of Charlotte.)
Considering how prime Blackstone's West End real estate is, one has to wonder if the pub's closure is the sort of "remodeling" that happened at Boscos and Sam's Sports Bar & Grille, which turned out to be akin to sending an aged pet to "live on a farm."
Other developments that raise an eyebrow include this announcement: "From now through Thursday, it's a great time to trip down memory lane and get a piece of Blackstone history. Along with our great food & beer, we will be selling our current really cool decor, T-shirts, growlers, wall art, posters & bottle collection. First come, first to cherish a piece of Blackstone history."
However, Blackstone owner Kent Taylor told me he really does intend to reopen the brewpub some time in the near future. His brother had been operating the restaurant, but is planning to return to Arizona, offering a good opportunity for a reboot. Kent promises that none of the original fixtures that have been in the brewpub for years will be sold. "Most of the stuff [my brother] put in there will not fit with what I have in mind, so I figured that allowing him to sell it is better than the dumpster."
After months of anticipation, Salt & Vine is finally ready to launch this Friday, July 1, in the new Hill Center Sylvan Heights development at 4001 Charlotte Ave. The stylish wine bar, restaurant and specialty market should make an immediate impact to the good on the livability of the burgeoning West Nashville neighborhood that is flying up around it and should be quite a welcome amenity to residents of the new housing that is being built as part of the Sylvan Heights center.
Conceived and executed by a talented trio of young women, Salt & Vine aims to be a shopping and dining destination for the neighborhood at just about any time of the day. Nashville native Mattie Jackson is the sommelier and beverage director for the operation, which is pretty much the most important gig in the building, since so much of the experience at Salt & Vine is designed around great wine, beer, cocktails and fine foods to accompany those drinks. There are also plans to open a retail wine and craft beer operation next door in the next couple of months, so the restaurant will be the spot to taste and discover new bottles to buy and take home.
Hannah Schneider is the GM and partner in Salt & Vine, and she has been working to bring the whole concept together, including design elements that are spare and classic while maintaining plenty of charm at the same time. Think interesting light fixtures and lots and lots of subway tiles. The fairly large space is full of flexible areas that will change uses throughout the day.
A grab-and-go cabinet near the front door will offer prepared foods for takeaway, but the focus of the room is a large set of counters stocked with charcuterie, fine cheeses and sandwiches.
In among the chatter of press releases, emails, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds, I occasionally stumble across a story about the local food and drink community that really warms my heart. One bar's response to the tragic events at Pulse in Orlando was exactly that sort of nice story.
On June 13, three employees at Lipstick Lounge in East Nashville decided they wanted to donate their tips to Equality Florida, an organization dedicated to "securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community." Eli LaFlamme, Jamie Bussell and MItch Wolfe contacted the bar's co-owners, Christa Suppan and Jonda Valentine, to let them know their intentions.
The owners were so impressed by their generosity that they committed to matching whatever their employees raised to double the donation. It didn't take long for Lipstick Lounge patrons to get in on the act and come together to raise more money to support LGBT efforts in Florida.
In one night June 14, the trio raised $3,902.05 in tip money at the cozy karaoke bar, way above anyone's expectations. Despite the big number, Suppan and Valentine made good on their promise and bumped the donation up to almost $8,000. In fact, they decided to see what they could do to augment the donation even further and spread the word to some of their suppliers to see if anyone wanted to get involved in their efforts.
Take a look in the skies over Nashville Wednesday, Thursday and possibly Friday this week and you might just be confronted with an odd sight. That massive flying cucumber is not a publicity stunt for National Cucumber Day (that was May 12 anyway) or any sort of phallic empowerment gesture. The 130-foot-long Hendrick's Flying Cucumber Airship is meant to publicize the world-famous brand of gin and its notable array of botanicals dominated by cucumber and roses.
It's too hard to design a flying flower, so the cucumber lent itself much more easily to being turned into a blimp. (It's not a dirigible, by the way, because it's basically a bag of gas with no internal structure or backbone. I'll skip the presidential politics jokes.)
The Hendrick's Flying Cucumber Airship is traveling from coast to coast, and will be spending a few days flying back and forth from the Smyrna Airport to downtown Nashville and back every hour, weather permitting, so you should have plenty of chances to get a glimpse of the giant cuke.
"Two Buck Chuck" is coming soon to the Trader Joe's in Green Hills
You probably already know this Friday marks the arrival of wines in local grocery stores. (It's a pretty big deal; keep an eye on the Scene for a lot more coverage coming up later this week.)
Due to restrictions and licenses, not all grocery stores will sell wine (Nashville Public Radio has a handy map of the stores that have been approved to sell), but the ones that will be selling wine have been preparing for months. Publix stores started clearing shelves for wine near the beer cases a couple of months ago. The new Kroger in Brentwood was built with wine aisles already designated, though they've been filled with overstock products. Trader Joe’s started reorganizing the store a few weeks ago and as of last week had already started stocking the shelves with products (along with signs noting that they were not yet for sale).
I perused the selections at several stores and … well, I wasn’t terribly impressed. I suppose it’s great for convenience, but I mostly saw the high-volume brands from the big-name bottlers, not the wines I tend to prefer. (But I will admit I'm curious to try the Trader Joe's house brand, Charles Shaw, affectionately known as "Two Buck Chuck," though it's no longer priced at just $2.)