Calling all beer lovers! In the past decade Memphis has emerged as a go-to destination for craft beer. New breweries are emerging on the scene every year bringing quirky variations and improvements to traditional brews. Most of the Memphis breweries have taprooms where you can sample drinks while listening to live music, playing lawn games, or battling teams at trivia. Also most of them have limited-edition beers that you can only try there; that means you'll be sampling brews no one else can access. Here's a guide to Memphis's best breweries.
Memphis Made Brewing Co.
Memphis Made Brewing Co., located in hip neighborhood Cooper-Young, was one of the earliest breweries on the scene. It started making beer in 2013, and the tap room opened in 2014. The brewery makes three staple beers that are always on tap. One of them, Fireside, an amber ale, is a favorite in the city and available at most bars and restaurants. The brewery also makes numerous seasonal and limited edition brews for visitors to try.
The tap room has a large outdoor space where you can play games under a bright red "I Love Memphis" mural. There are free brewery tours on Saturday and Sunday at 4 p.m., and the venue regularly hosts events from bingo to trivia. You can check the schedule on the Memphis Made website.
Ghost River Brewing Co.
Hailed as Memphis' original craft brewery, Ghost River Brewing is still one of the most popular breweries in the city. The downtown tap room just got a shiny new facelift. There is now a spacious bar with 12 rotating beers on tap, local shops selling their own crafts and merchandise, and food trucks serving creative grub.
The brewery always has four main beers available, and then changes the rest based on the season or occasion. Don't miss the brewery series; these are the experimental beers and include off-the-beaten path ingredients. They are only available in small batches, so try it before it runs out.
Wiseacre Brewing Co.
Wiseacre Brewing Co. is firmly a Memphis establishment. It's located in the Broad Avenue Arts District under a water tower that changes colors and designs. But its founders, two beer lovers, were educated all over the world in places like Germany so they could hone their craft and bring it back to the city they love.
The founders are super into science and give brewery tours to visitors where they explain their methods and ingredients. They also stage special events where the brew masters pair beer with items like bleu cheese, flowers, and chocolate.
On a regular night the taproom is a laid back, fun place to try different concoctions and mingle with locals. On a nice day there is an outside patio where you can order food from parked trucks.
High Cotton Brewing Co.
High Cotton Brewing Co is located in the Victorian Village not far from downtown Memphis. Fun fact: It's located across the street from Sun Studios where Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash recorded most of their songs.
It's a brewery that is proud of the way it makes beer and calls it a craft and an art. Every Saturday at 3 p.m., there is a guided tour that takes you through the exact method and what sets this brewery apart from others.
The tap room has a rotating selection of beers on tap and offers sampling platters. Where it has no food the brewery is located next door to a coffee shop and cafe that serves snacks that you can bring over. Locals love heading to this brewery on game days to watch football and basketball on large screens.
Crosstown Brewing Co.
Crosstown Brewing may be one of the newest breweries in the Memphis craft beer scene—its taproom opened in February 2018—but it's already one of the most sophisticated. It's located in Crosstown Concourse, a building that is as big as the Chrysler Building in New York City if you laid it on its side. So the brewery has ample room to make its famous creations like the Siren Blonde Ale. If you like sour beers, this is your spot. They are famous for their gose varieties.
Crosstown Brewing has a large indoor/outdoor taproom where you can spread out with your friends and family. While you try beer, you can order food to be delivered from one of the Concourse's 12 restaurants. It's a win all around.
Meddlesome Brewing Company
Meddlesome Brewing Company is located in Cordova, a suburb of Memphis, and a hidden gem in the city. The founders are passionate about beer and arrange their offerings in a way everyone can understand. The Curious series comprises the flagship beers that most people love; the Mischievous series is for those looking to be a bit more adventurous. Regulars may turn to the troublesome series, small-batched beers like smoked porter or blood orange IPAs that are available for only a week or two. The brewery also has a weekly cast beer and non-alcoholic root beers and sodas the non-drinkers in your family will love. The taproom regularly hosts trivia nights and special events.
Boscos Restaurant & Brewing Company
In 1992 Tennessee finally changed its state laws preventing restaurants from brewing and selling beer. That's when Boscos, Tennessee's first brewpub, opened.
Since then the midtown restaurant has been famous for many of its varieties especially Flaming Stone, a German-style beer that was awarded three stars by famous beer critic Michael Jackson.
The brewery has a full menu that it pairs with its beers so you get flavors that complement one another. It's also located in Overton Square, a hot spot for live music in Memphis, so you can try beers and then let your buzz carry you onto the dance floor all night long.
Hammer & Ale
Hammer & Ale may technically be a beer store, a one-stop shop for people who want to try local and regional beer all in one place. But the experience far exceeds that.
When you walk in, a knowledgeable guide will take you through all the beers on tap offering you a sample, pint, or growler. You'll get to try Memphis favorites as well as limited release and seasonal brews. Think of it as a personalized shopping experience except for your favorite beverage.
Hammer & Ale is also known for its food, which is designed to pair with the beer. So you can snack away while getting your comprehensive tour of Memphis' beer scene, all in one go. Check the website to see what's available the day of your visit.