Sunday, September 12, 2010

Big River Grille in Nashville

   This chain has a brewpub in Memphis, perhaps its first. Which may explain the big river moniker; the Cumberland, flowing through Nashville, is a fair sized river but not an epic river for Huck and Jim to float. The restaurant and brewery sit on Broadway a block from the river, amid a lot of country  music honky-tonk joints. A daughter and I had some appetizers and a brew there in mid summer. I ordered their IPA and our server, deducing our non-southernness from our speech, apologized for its weak punch when he brought my pint. It was a whopping 5.97 % ABV.  He explained that Tennessee law imposed a cap of 6 % ABV on any beer sold in the state, and also required any brewpub to derive at least half its revenue from food sales.  Hmm...Tennessee may not require high schools to teach evolution any longer, but the lawmakers could study the evolution of craft brewing in the US to some advantage.
  I later learned that several southern states have such laws, and came across accounts of a spirited--no, make that lively, campaign in North Carolina called Pop the Cap that raised the beer ceiling there from 6% to 15% in 2005.  Cheers, tarheels and good luck if you trace some old moonshiner routes to smuggle some northwest imperial IPAs into Tennessee!

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