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Big River Grille & Brewing Works

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very good

30 Ratings
Ratings: 30
Reviews: 22
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 11.76%
Active Beers: 21
Beer Ratings: 161
Beer Avg: 3.45
Taps: 0
Bottles: 0
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

222 Broad St
Chattanooga, Tennessee, 37402-1009
United States
phone: (423) 267-2739

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @bigriverchatt

Owned by Gordon Biersch. Some of the recipes are identical to those found at the Gordon Biersch restaurant chain, but have merely been renamed.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
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Ratings: 30 | Reviews: 22 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by mecmd:
Photo of mecmd
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%

mecmd, Oct 25, 2013
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3/5  rDev -19.8%

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3.25/5  rDev -13.1%

benloho, Jan 29, 2014
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3.5/5  rDev -6.4%

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3/5  rDev -19.8%

ZinFanDave, Oct 16, 2013
Photo of NewGlarusFan
3.61/5  rDev -3.5%

Went to the one in Nashville

Food is basic nothing to rave about and the same goes with the beer. I had a burger with sweet potato fries and my women had shrimp pasta which was very good. We did the beer flight and brews were simple and basic. I do not think i would go back unless it was for a work party. It was very crowded and service was outstanding for how packed it was.

NewGlarusFan, Aug 28, 2013
Photo of bamadog
3.55/5  rDev -5.1%

Stopped by here to meet up with some friends while at a conference. Not bad by any stretch, but certainly not an "OMG I need to get back here" moment.

Atmosphere: About what I've come to expect from restaurants that have the brew pub identity (whether or not they actually brew on premises is always a matter of debate); nice, big and open dining areas with plenty of booths, separate bar areas on both ends of the building, one complete with pool tables.

Quality: Not bad, the beer was "so-so" and nothing too mind blowing (I managed to get the IPA and Scotch Ale while in town), but the food was pretty solid.

Service: I enjoyed the waitress -- she was really cool and found time to joke around with us and make recommendations on the food. She knew the menu very well and worked to be sure people were taken care of.

Food: As mentioned, it was quite solid -- I had the jambalaya and was pleased.

Value: Definitely a bit pricey -- I only had one beer and dinner and my tab was about $22... Like I said, not an "OMG I need to get back here" moment.

bamadog, Feb 20, 2012
Photo of jadpsu
4.18/5  rDev +11.8%

Did a lot of business in Chattanooga over the years and went to the Big River at least a half dozen times. I used to stay out at Shallowford road so more often ate at the restuarants near Hamilton Place (read Bonefish).
Went back to Chattanooga last weekend to attend a retirement party. Party was held at the Big River.
Big River is my kind of place. Informal, has option of games (pool), their own Micro-brewery and food that I am familiar with (not high end fancy) that is prepared well and served timely.
A little too noisy for stories at a retirement party, but otherwise an atmosphere I am comfortable in.
Service on this night was good, and friendly.
There were 14 in the party and we ordered a half dozen appetizers, and an equal # of desserts to go along with everyone oredering their own entree. I myself had 5 Irish Reds, and I would say only 3-4 [people abstained from anything with alcohol)
Bill was still around $550.00 or about $40.00 per.
Don't think that as being pricey.

jadpsu, Mar 30, 2011
Photo of ectomorph
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%

I enjoy Big River's food probably more than I do the beer, but that isn't to say the beer is bad. To me the house IPA is quite nice, and I'm actually surprised it isn't bottled and sold in stores like the Vienna Lager (meh) and the Red (double meh).

Nice atmosphere (downtown), but the prices are little high IMO. Good place for appetizers and brews before a show at Rhythm Brews built in behind it.

Some of my favorites are the cajun chicken pasta, with the IPA or any sandwich and the Irish Red Ale. With a very limited selection of "brewpubs" around Chattanooga, this is an easy choice.

ectomorph, Aug 13, 2009
Photo of 77suburban
3.58/5  rDev -4.3%

Very cool place - you can sit at the bar, at a booth, or a table, even the patio. My food was excellent. They managed to make the jambalaya spicy enough to be respectable and the cold leftovers were still tasty after an evening of imbibing.

The beers were decent to good, but not much more than that according to my taste. I don't want to ruin this place for you by basing my review on personal preference so I'll just say that the beer list was a bit heavier on lighter beers than I'd like. Lagers, pilsners, pale ales, a hefeweisen. Only one stout and it was a sweet stout - good for the category, but I'm not a fan of sweet. No porter. Boo! It is a bit bothersome that the hefeweisen was as clear as can be. Apparently someone filtered off all of the hefe, oops!

This place is surely worth a try. Beers aren't stellar, but good enough to put a few down.

77suburban, Jul 23, 2009
Photo of lehows
4/5  rDev +7%

Stopped in here on a recent business trip to Chattanooga. We came here around 9PM on a Tuesday night and it was surprisingly packed. The place was huge and the outdoor space was nice. The bartender was friendly and knowledgeable and the selection covered all your usual brewpub suspects. They had a lemon lager which was interesting and the beers I had were pretty good. We had already ate but the food looked and smelled very good. Definitely worth a stop if youre in the area, located right near the aquarium and utilize the free electric shuttle if youre hopping around town.

lehows, May 18, 2009
Photo of TheEclecticGent
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%

On a recent trip to visit my sister, my girlfriend and I stopped by the Big River Grille & Brewpub. This was my second trip to this location. Even though this brewpub belongs to the same chain folk that bring us Rock Bottom and Gordon Biersch, it has a local flair. The décor and beer names been modified to reflect Chattanooga and that goes a long way. Also, and more important - they offer beer above and beyond the standard brewpub lineup of Pilsner, Red, and Porter/Stout. We just missed their Winter Warmer by days. Most of their beers I have tried here are better than the standard brewpub beer. The food is good too and the portions are large. The location is large enough that it rarely seems too crowded. However, the background noise can get a bit loud in some of the areas. The atmosphere is very nice and even though I don't currently own any, their swag looked good too.

TheEclecticGent, Dec 30, 2008
Photo of Conrad
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%

We stopped in for a late lunch during the week, so it was not crowded. The wait staff was very attentive. The head beer guy gave me a run down on all of their current stuff, and I had the sampler tray. the head on one of the glasses had settled to leave only a half ration. When I pointed this out to the waiter, he brought me a full one plus an extra to make up for the shortage. I loved the samples, but did not take notes. Suffice it to say, it is a good range of beers, and you should be able to select a favorite quite easily. The food was excellent. My wings were big, well cooked, well sauced (hot) and nicely presented. My companions were also pleased with their selections. I recommend the Big River, but I don't think I would become a regular if I lived in the area. A bit too pricey, and probably too busy in the evenings and weekends. I am most comfortable in a quiet laid back place.

Conrad, Oct 30, 2008
Photo of jushoppy2beer
4.83/5  rDev +29.1%

This is my favorite restaurant in the Chattanooga area, and one of my favorite brewpubs anywhere.

Atmosphere is great if you like crowded bustling busy spots with a wide range of ages and groups, from college students to families. On weekend nights it can be a bit overwhelming

Everything is high quality, from the furnishings to the food, and especially the beer.

Service is friendly and personable, but can be a bit slow at times.

Great food selection, from pizza to pastas to salads to unique entrees. Drink selection is great, with 5-6 regular microbrews always on tap, along with 1-2 seasonals. Bottled beers from the basic American standard brewers for diners who don't really like beer.

Not a bad price scale, but you will not come away feeling like you stole your food.

jushoppy2beer, Jul 29, 2008
Photo of MMAJYK
3.86/5  rDev +3.2%

I am actually from the Chattanooga area, but never visited this place for their beer while there. I went there with some friends before and shot pool and drank swill, but never for their Microbrew.

I really enjoyed the view of the brewery behind the bar. That was a clean set up and very cool locationing.

I first asked for a sampler flight and they brought me out all 7 beers they were currently serving. I found the two I liked most were the IPA's. I purchased a growler of the House Brand IPA. Cannot wait to tap into that one.

I did not have any food at the time, so I cannot speak of it, but they did bring me some plain chips for palate cleansing when I asked for something. That was nice.

I will definitely go back when I am back up that way visiting friends and family.

MMAJYK, Jan 28, 2008
Photo of ndekke39
4/5  rDev +7%

Stopped by here for a quick snack and a drink while on a weekend trip to Chattanooga. We hit the place during a busy weekend, but still managed to get seated right away. Atmosphere was like a busy, family-oriented brewpub, so it's clean and a bit touristy, but not all bad. Decorations with lots of wood accents and bricks. Plenty of tables, plus a big bar area.

Food was tasty and fresh. We ordered an appetizer of some breaded and fried shrimp, which were done just right. The fries were great - nice seasoning.

My wife tried their locally-brewed root beer, which she declared good. I tried a couple of the beers. None of them were mind-blowing, but they were all decent, very drinkable craft beers. They had 6-7 of their beers on tap. I tried to buy a growler, but they were all out. Bummer.

The service was fantastic - our server was super friendly, chatted us up (but not too much), attentive, and willing to give us suggestions for places to go/eat in Chattanooga.

While this place may not be the best example of local color in Chattanooga, it's great for quick drinks and snacks. Again, not over-the-top amazing, but definitely NOT just a tourist trap with crappy beer.

ndekke39, Jan 22, 2008
Photo of Poser
3.55/5  rDev -5.1%

A very solid place. We actually came back during a short, 2 day vacation. We were there during the week, so there weren't many tourists, but it was definitely in the touristy area, right next to the aquarium. Several beers -- I tried the Sweet Magnolia Brown ale, the wheat beer, and the IPA. All were good, but the brown ale was my personal favorite.

Service was a little odd. The kitchen didn't have what either my wife nor I ordered the second time, but the waiter was very apologetic, sat there with us and helped us re-order for a good 2 or 3 minutes without complaint, and gave us better dishes for the same price. The food that finally came out was delicious.

I know it's a chain, but I left very happy twice.

Poser, Aug 16, 2007
Photo of ndolover
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%

This Big River is located in a touristy area of Chattanooga. The scene was of tourists and area entertainment seekers in the dining room. With a good portion of cigar chomping professionals drinking happy hour specials in the main bar. The room was cookie cutter brewpub as you would expect from a chain. Efforts were made to the TV's hoisted in view, but out of the way for the most part. Cigars were sold on site and seemed to be encouraged by the large fans ventilating the place. The food was good to average but the prices made that acceptable. Besides from the numbing feeling from the over the top clove taste in the hefe, the beers were not memorable. It should be noted that they did have 2 hand draw taps which helped to make the selection a bit wider. If you are in Chattanooga, by all means hit this place...but I would't go out of your way either.

ndolover, Jul 12, 2007
Photo of kdoc8
3.45/5  rDev -7.8%

It was a very random experience to end up in Chattanooga. It certainly wasn't planned. We were traveling from Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg...for some reason by way of Chattanooga... to the Smoky Mountains. Anyway, famished and thirsty, this was a good place to stop. It was a large place, lots of room and seating and right in the middle of downtown aquarium area Chattanooga. They had an extensive food menu with good vegetarian options. Their beer was ok - nothing spectacular, but many choices of brews on tap. I'd recommend it.

kdoc8, Mar 14, 2007
Photo of Enola
4.45/5  rDev +19%

This place is about one block from the aqarium, just diagonally across the street from the Mellow Mushroom. There is a pay parking lot beside here or a parking garage across the street. The place was divided into three sections. On the end sections were bars and the middle was dining. There were a couple pool tables. The place was mostly wood and brick inside. I bought a growler here. The prices are a little high. The waitress was knowledgable and freindly. My wife's food was prepared incorrectly and she took it off the bill. The service was great. They have a mug club but I did not find out the details. This place also has a couple more resturants connected on the back side but we did not explore these any. One was Blue Water Grille and the other was Rythem and Brews. I do not know of these are directly connected or if these are seperate buisnesses altogether. One may want to check out these locations as well.

Enola, Oct 12, 2006
Photo of weizendoc
3.35/5  rDev -10.4%

Big River is in the newish, gentrified Restaurant/bar section of the city. It is about 1 block from the Aquarium, 2 blocks from the river and Hunter art museum. Several other beery places are nearby including 'Mellow Mushroom' right across the street. Big River is a big warehouse kind of place. They have 3 or 4 pool tables and two BIG rooms of (food)tables and bars.

They had 7 beers on tap. The first I tried was Summer Wheat. It came in a proper glass and looked to be about 16ozs. Decent weizen effort from a micro, but I would rather drink Widmer. It didn't hold a candle to the Bavarian offerings. The second beer I tried was light Lager. Tasted like Coors and was served in a chinsy (12oz.?) Kolsch-style glass. Lame.

Our server was very nice and professed how proud the brewery was of their gold medals at World Beer Festival. Food was decent. Prices were similar to similar places I have been in Calif. and Wash.
If I lived in Chattanooga, I would probably not go there more often than 3-4x per year.

weizendoc, May 09, 2006
Photo of Graebner
3.25/5  rDev -13.1%

Big River sits in the heart of Downtown Chattanooga, right in the thick of the restaurant/tourism/summer hang-out area, and is built in an old railroad car barn. Big River is frequented more by locals than by tourists, which usually makes for a pretty nice atmosphere.

The selection is not great, they have only a handful of bottled beers, and none of those are worth drinking (Mich Light, etc..). However, they always have seven or eight house beers on tap, and at least one is a seasonal that changes every couple of months, and all their tap beers are available only from Big River (and the Lookouts Stadium, during ballgames). Most of their beers are quite excellent examples of their respective styles. I have never tried the Southern Flyer Light, but the Nut Brown, Imperial 375, House IPA, Sweet Magnolia, and Iron Horse Stout are all excellent beers. The price is a mere $3.50 per [US] pint, which is not bad at all.

They also keep at least one, usually several, of their beers available from the firkin, meaning cask-conditioned and served at room temperature (and sans most carbonation). The last time I was there they had the Nut Brown on the firkin, and it was quite excellent. My source tells me that they will soon have a stout cask-aged with bourbon-soaked wood chips. Mmmmm.

They also have a small selection (15-20) of decent cigars, ranging in price from five to fifteen dollars a piece.

The food is great, though slightly more expensive. A house brick-oven fired pizza will run you a little over $10, a burger is $8-10, and most entrees run $12-$20. They'll have specials for various holidays, such as Oktoberfest and St. Patricks.

Downsides include the slightly higher price of food, the fact that there is sometimes a crowd of soccer moms (sometimes with kids), cougars, mid-life crisis types, and various other douchebaggery. Basically, don't go here to meet people, but if you're bringing your own crew with you it can be a very good time.

Graebner, May 02, 2006
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Big River Grille & Brewing Works in Chattanooga, TN
86 out of 100 based on 30 ratings.