Have you Yazoo’d?

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(TMP Photo/A. Schmittendorf)

Chances are if you’re reading this, you’re a busy, busy, busy Middle Tennessean.

So, how should you utilize those few free hours you get on the weekend?

How about a fun day trip?

Yazoo Brewery is a no-brainer destination.

Yazoo is located on 910 Division St. in Nashville, just off the interstate within walking distance of The Gulch. This area is a flutter of activity with many restaurants, popular shopping destinations and live music.

Yazoo’s Taproom, which includes a patio and guided tours, is open from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday for growler refills only, and from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays. Yazoo also offers loot for purchase and a brewery tour on Saturdays starting at 2:30 p.m.

The taproom contains a few couples on day dates, but mostly, it looks like clumps of Saturday conversationalists. There’s just as many men as women – and just as many runners in track shoes and running shorts as there are imbibers with a little extra belly to fill.

It’s a spacious, warehouse feeling with a large L-shaped bar and quick-to-serve bartenders, and malt sack curtains line the wall-length windows from inside the taproom. There are tall patio heaters to guard their smoking patrons against potential chill in the air, and beams around the outside patio support triangles of canvas that lace one end of the patio, offering sporadic protection from the elements.

For $11, a thirsty patron can get six 5-ounce tastes of various beers on an easy-to-carry tasting tray.

You don’t have to be a beer sommelier to agree with some of the following tasting notes:

The tasting begins with the Hop Project G3.

“Each consecutive batch of Hop Project is brewed with a different blend of spicy, aromatic hops, never using the same blend twice,” according to the Yazoo website.

Comforted by that knowledge, this particular project, at the nose, is all spring. It puts off the fragrance of dandelions, hyacinth and slight perfume. It’s not overt, but it is earthy and light. The brew smells like one might imagine Flora, the goddess of spring, and it rushed across the tongue like a lumberjack logger rather than a lager. It’s bipolar in that taste and smell battle for your senses.

“You got to like hoppy beers,” chuckles Matt Knoop, visiting from St. Louis. “You get to like hoppy beers by drinking lots of hoppy beers.”

According to the company's website, Yazoo Brewery brews “an authentic example of a Bavarian Hefeweizen. ‘Hefe’ means cloudy or yeasty and ‘weizen’ means wheat. This beer is made with mostly wheat and uses a true Hefeweizen yeast that gives it a fruity, banana aroma with just a hint of cloves.”

Jason and Duke Green of Nashville say that it tastes like rotten fruit, but they nonetheless love it. Lemon rind, orange peel and a rainy day in the mouth are included in their description. Sounds like a bummer, but quite the contrary – the Hefeweizen got rave reviews.

Undoubtedly a patio favorite, the Sly Rye Porter smells like coffee and sweet hazelnuts. On the palete, the coffee taste quickly hops out; there is very little aftertaste, though. It has a medium finish and leaves a milky lather on the sides of the tasting glass – and maybe on your lips if you aren’t careful.

The Gerst brew is nothing to be nosey about. The only thing tasters could smell was the atmosphere of Division Street. However, this beer is fantastic to the taste. The Gerst is extremely well balanced and light in color and flavor. There is an obvious high-water content mixed with a light vanilla flavor, and it finishes simply like a well-executed disappearing act.

Dos Perros doesn’t have much on the nose other than the obvious malty aroma. It is made with German Munich malt, English pale malt, and chocolate malt, and hopped with Perle and Saaz hops. Yazoo adds a small amount of maize to the mixture, which is homage to the Mexican brewers. The Dos Perros is a little more bitter than the Gerst, but many agree that they would gladly toss more than a few of these pints back.

The Amarillo Pale Ale has an almost kerosene and chlorine aroma with a bitter palette, which means it could stand up to a spicy or creamy dish of food. Metallic and citrus flavors are detectable. The name is derived from the Amarillo hops used in making the beer.

Toward the end of the unsupervised tasting at one of the main tables, several drinkers look around, making eye contact as if to say, “What’s next?” Most go back for pints. It’s an engaging atmosphere.

Unlike most any other bar in the area: great beer, friendly bar staff and options for activity or relaxed drinking.

All in all, it is a perfect Saturday destination for your invaluable free hours, you busy, busy, busy Middle Tennessean, you.

Tagged under  Beer, Day Trip, Entertainment, Food, Living Well, Nashville, Tennessee, Travel, Yazoo Brewery

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