Support Your Local Pubs! Craft Beer To Drink In Memphis Right Now
Ed. Note: Here on the I Love Memphis Blog, you know we focus on local, local, local. But “local” can mean more than just something made from start to finish here in Memphis. Contributor Blake and I noticed how many locally staffed stores and bars work with local distributors to bring in the best beer from around the country, and so he did some tough investigating (ahem, drinking) to find out the best non-local brews on local shelves. Check it out and leave your additional favorites in the comments!
The Memphis beer scene is the best it’s ever been, and it’s no wonder that new breweries want to bring their beer to the Bluff City, especially with all the positive changes our city is experiencing.
Memphis has two beer distributors – A.S. Barbaro Inc. and Eagle Distributing Co.) – who continuously work to bring new varieties of beer to our best Memphis beer bars and stores.
And while we love our local breweries, the available non-local beer selection is great and we’re going to show you five beers you need to try (in no particular order). Most of these are generally available year-round, but be sure to call ahead if your heart is set on one of these craft beers in Memphis.
Read through to the bottom of this post for a list of places to find these tasty brews.
– Bell’s Oberon (5.8% ABV)
I lit up like a Christmas tree when I heard Bell’s Oberon was launching this month (March) in the 901. It is one of the greatest spring/summer beers available and you are likely going to love it as much as I do. Oberon is a wheat ale that is light, smooth, with nice citrus characteristics to it. Any fans of wheat beers or light Belgians will like this beer a lot.
This beer is perfect for nights at the Levitt Shell (click here for picnic ideas), BBQ fest, nights out toasting the hiring of Coach Penny and every other great moment in the city. Grab this beer and go enjoy your warm weather adventures!
– Blackstone Brewing’s St. Charles Porter (5.8% ABV)
I love that Blackstone Brewing is back in Memphis, after a several year hiatus from the 901 while they moved into their new brewing facility. I had five of their beers at Young Avenue Deli a few weeks ago and they were fantastic.
My favorite is the St. Charles Porter, a homebrew recipe beer, that has eight wins at the Great American Beer Fest for brown porters. It’s a very malty porter as you’d expect, but drinks lighter like a brown ale, with a creaminess to it, and a fantastic mouthfeel. I could drink this all day long (and have on several occasions).
– Terrapin’s Wake-N-Bake Coffee Oatmeal Imperial Stout (9.4% ABV)
Terrapin is known for flavorful beers and they don’t disappoint with the W-N-B. Light will not penetrate this car-oil-like dark beer once it’s poured in your glass. I don’t taste the oatmeal, but the coffee is there, starting with the strong aroma and moving into the great flavor.
I think this is the perfect beer to have with dinner, though some people might think this hearty beast could be dinner itself. At 9.4% it has a lot of power, so I could only have one or two in a night, but it would be one hell of a night.
– Ommegang’s Rosetta (5.6% ABV)
Rosetta is a traditional Belgian Kriek (sour cherry) beer that was perfectly blended with three-year-old aged cherries, a young flemish brown ale and a cherry lambic beer. The tartness got me in the back of the neck on my first sip, but the sweetness mellowed it out after another drink. It’s light and enjoyable, but I wouldn’t have more than a few in one sitting because of the sweetness. This is a perfect beer for brunch, pairing with soft cheeses or with a dessert.
– New Belgium’s Citradelic Tangerine IPA (6% ABV)
This beer smells like all the citrus in the world was put into one beer. The citrus is very present in this IPA, to the point where it mellows out the Citra hops a bit, but keeps that familiar hoppy character of an IPA. When drank very cold, the hops have more of a bite, but I allowed mine to warm up a bit and found the mouthfeel very pleasing. The tangerine and splash of tropical fruit flavors are very enjoyable and this beer is a great choice for anyone wanting an IPA.
Here’s a list of Memphis beer bars and stores with a good selection who likely carry the above varieties. Again, not every where will carry everything but life is an adventure, right? If you have any to add, leave ’em in the comments.
– Flying Saucer, both downtown and Cordova locations
– Lucchesi’s Beer Garden
– Young Avenue Deli
– Hammer & Ale
– Madison Growler Shop
– Casual Pint
– MS Ale House
– any of the bigger liquor stores that have growler stations, including Buster’s and Joe’s
– fancy Krogers, Fresh Market, Superlo on Spottswood
About the Author
Blake Marcum was born and raised in the 901 and now lives in Midtown, helping people vicariously live out their dreams on social media, if those dreams involve beer and barbecue. He’s a contributor to I Love Memphis,Memphis Travel, and MemphisCraftBeer.com. A Grand Champion of BBQ Fest (2013) and BBQ judge, he really knows BBQ. Pairing that with his love of craft beer, he’s a great representative of the fun side of the Bluff City. Blake loves the investment going into Memphis and believes the best is yet to come. Follow him on Twitter at@blakeandbrew.