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The first thing to know about Nashville: wherever you go out, you're going to see familiar faces. I don't mean famous faces, although that's probable too. I mean friends, neighbors, exes, and that guy who works at the butcher. The second thing: the snaking Cumberland River bisects more than just the landscape. If the West Side of town is Nashville's super-ego, the East Side is most definitely its id. The onslaught of recently opened draft beer bars seems to be the great mediator between the two. And things are coming together nicely.
With outmoded state laws, like the legal split between high- and low-gravity beers (a demarcation at 5% alcohol by weight, or 6.3% by volume) and the "franchise laws" of the wholesale distribution system, Nashville once seemed destined to remain a craft beer backwater. But luckily for the locals, breweries have been popping up like a game of whack-a-mole—just you try and keep up.
Because of all that, and because, for the most part, beers from here are good and getting better, the craft beer scene in Nashville is focused heavily on local flavors. The out-of-touch might find it parochial. I'd call it hometown proud. Either way, Nashville is positioning itself as a bona fide beer destination. The richness of the music scene doesn't hurt any either.
Whether kicking it at one of the many established bars in East Nashville, cherry picking a favorite along 8th Ave, or searching for an alternative to the noisy honky-tonks on a downtown Saturday night, wherever you are, a craft draft pour is close at hand. Here are our six favorite spots to grab a pint »
About the Author: W.S. Lyon wanders high and low places with a book in one hand and a drink in the other. He writes, works and lives in Nashville, TN.