1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

How's the Beer Scene in Memphis?

Discussion in 'US - South' started by Mscarpen, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. Mscarpen

    Mscarpen Savant (335) Tennessee Apr 2, 2011

    A buddy of mine is considering moving from the Midwest down to Memphis and is curious about the craft beer scene down that way. When asked, I was unable to offer any opinion as I am pretty ignorant when it comes to the Southern beer scene.

    So, I offered to turn to my BA brothers and sisters for some info and options.

    Are there any must-not-miss craft beer bars or bottle shops? Are there any active bottle share clubs? What are the local "must try" brews? My buddy is a huge craft beer fan and is curious to know if he will be able to find a group of BAs with whom he can share his passion (and cellar).
  2. mcmeador

    mcmeador Zealot (85) Mississippi Sep 2, 2012

    My friend and I refer to Memphis as a beer desert. The best places to find rare crafts have a pretty limited selection. There is Buster's and Joe's (both liquor stores) and then Raffe's Deli. All three are along Poplar Ave. Some Krogers in the East Memphis and Germantown area have a pretty wide selection of beer (for the Memphis area that is).

    As for bars with a great selection of craft beers, The Flying Saucer is a must. We have one downtown and in one in Cordova. Also, there is a brewpub called Boscos that makes some good beer.

    The only brewery we have in Memphis is Ghost River, but there are a couple more set to open soon: High Cotton, and Memphis Made. We'll see how those work out.

    Anyway, I don't really know what the selection is like where your buddy is from, so I couldn't tell you whether this is an upgrade or a downgrade. Hopefully it's the latter. If he's looking for an amazing beer selection, Memphis is not the place to go. If he wants to have a greater appreciation for an amazing beer selection, then Memphis is definitely for him lol.
    CaptainPiret and Mscarpen like this.
  3. Lived there for 3 years. Flying Saucer is going to be the best bar to get a beer, if you can get past the douchey crowd that likes to go there.

    As a whole, Memphis leaves a lot to be desired on the beer front.
    Mscarpen and CaptainPiret like this.
  4. yesferro

    yesferro Savant (250) Mississippi Jul 30, 2008

    I think Memphis has gone downhill, we'd use to drive there from Tupelo on beer runs but here lately it's been lackbuster after lackbuster, if it wasn't for Stone being there we'd skip it altogether and keep going to
    Tuscaloosa or Birmingham AL from now on, well worth the extra half hour drive.
    Mscarpen likes this.
  5. I've got to pile on — Memphis is way behind for a city its size. I buy beer here only when my stash is very low. Usually I stock up in Nashville (or if I'm traveling somewhere else), where the selection kills what Memphis offers.

    I wish there was a retail store that matched the quality of Flying Saucer's selection.
    Mscarpen likes this.
  6. harperman69

    harperman69 Savant (355) Tennessee Feb 11, 2009

    Yup Memphis has to be the worst metropolitan area for craft beer that I can think of. One fairly notable thing to add is Boscos is techically another brewer, even if it is pretty much the same as Ghost River. Unless a distributor in Memphis gets serious, expect the scene to be stagnant.
    Mscarpen likes this.
  7. Mscarpen

    Mscarpen Savant (335) Tennessee Apr 2, 2011

    This all sounds pretty grim. Any info on places "just 'cross the border" in Mississippi or Arkansas?
  8. harperman69

    harperman69 Savant (355) Tennessee Feb 11, 2009

    Lol, not really. The better border states are Kentucky, Alabama, NC and Georgia.
    Mscarpen likes this.
  9. Mississippi is improving, but it has a long way to go, too. But they do sell high gravity beer in grocery stores (unlike all of TN), so if I'm ever south of the border (in Olive Branch, for example), I'll stop in a store to check out the selection. Usually I just get Lazy Magnolia's Timber Beast, which I haven't seen in Memphis yet.
  10. Jimski123

    Jimski123 Zealot (95) Tennessee Feb 10, 2013

    Yes Memphis, compared to other large cities, is a pretty horrible place for wide selection of craftbeer....but....its getting better. Just recently we finally acquired new belgiums high gravity offerings, as well as Brooklyn brewerys. I also heard this week that Southern Tier should be on shelves by next week. Sweetwater is supposed to be making it this way in the first 1/4 of this year as well. So things are looking up and can only get better. Typically east TN gets new beer before us so if that trend continues then we can expect Lagunitas and Green Flash to be here shortly as well. That being said its tough to be a beer guy here.....I have to trade quite a bit off of instagram and make alot of orders online. As far as bottle shares go, i have no clue as to if it even happens here. If anyone knows of any, let me know please..
    Mscarpen and ubenumber2 like this.
  11. Mscarpen

    Mscarpen Savant (335) Tennessee Apr 2, 2011

    So, I just landed in Memphis for my first day in a new job. After work, I hit Buster's, Raffe's, and Whole Foods... All respectable selections, but oh heaven! Not quite a beer dessert, but it does feel like that long stretch of interstate between bathrooms when you realize that 7 Eleven Big Gulp just kicked in.

    Flying Saucer had a handful of decent brews, and holds some promise, but boy oh boy... I'm now realizing how much I'm going to need to rely on mulling stuff down from WI in the months to come.

    If anyone is interested in meeting up for a brew or a bottle share down the road, let me know. I'm hoping to make some beer buds in the area so I have some BAs to share with once my cellar is shipped down.

    Cheers!
  12. StuartCarter

    StuartCarter Savant (425) Alabama Apr 25, 2006

    If you are up for a day trip, Huntsville has a good selection of stuff available from the local breweries as well as Bells, Founders, Great Divide, etc., etc., ....
    Mscarpen likes this.
  13. Memphis to Birmingham is about the same distance as well. Nashville is also a relatively short trip with a better beer selection than Memphis.
    Mscarpen likes this.
  14. Jimski123

    Jimski123 Zealot (95) Tennessee Feb 10, 2013

    Would love to get some good bottle shares going around here......we should definitely do that.
  15. Mscarpen

    Mscarpen Savant (335) Tennessee Apr 2, 2011

    I'll have a pair of really nice Revolution brews I can share now. More goodness to come in the weeks to come. Beer Mail me if you are interested in setting up a time.
  16. harperman69

    harperman69 Savant (355) Tennessee Feb 11, 2009

    Anti Hero is a fantastic DIPA.
  17. Mscarpen

    Mscarpen Savant (335) Tennessee Apr 2, 2011

    It
    really is! Really an all around fantastic brewery.
  18. harperman69

    harperman69 Savant (355) Tennessee Feb 11, 2009

    Just noticed I slipped a D where it didn't belong.
  19. Mscarpen

    Mscarpen Savant (335) Tennessee Apr 2, 2011

    I haven't been to Space Camp in 20 years or so... Might be another good excuse to get down there. Thanks for the tip!
  20. BlueMoon10

    BlueMoon10 Savant (415) Mississippi Mar 29, 2013

    Memphis is pretty far behind compared to other cities its size, but like a few have stated we are getting a few new breweries in the next year. High Cotton and Memphis Made have already been mentioned but I didn't see where Wiseacre had been covered. I have read good things about their owners/brewmaster so I am excited to see what they are going to offer. Prior to these three I am saddened to say we only had Ghost River and Boscos if you count them. Each has good beer but its pretty sad when other cities have always offered more. Anyways, heres to the future. As far as bars go, like others have mentioned, Flying Saucer is your best bet for a large selection of beers on tap.

    In addition, Nashville is only three hours away and has a few breweries - Yazoo, Blackstone, Jackelope, and Big River.
  21. harperman69

    harperman69 Savant (355) Tennessee Feb 11, 2009

    I would knock out Big River and replace them with Fat Bottom. Big River is an afterthought.
    MikeEhrmantraut likes this.
  22. Jimski123

    Jimski123 Zealot (95) Tennessee Feb 10, 2013

    sounds good bud. Im out of the country until next week so ill message you then and we can figure something out
    Mscarpen likes this.
  23. It'll be interesting to see how the change from Big River to Rock Bottom affects the brews. Big River always did some middle-of-the-road stuff, with a couple beers every year that were really good, but I feel like Rock Bottom just has a better reputation.

    Back to Memphis, the stuff being announced for Memphis Beer Week sounds really exciting, a New Belgium/Yazoo sour collaboration, casks beers, beer dinners and specials all over the place.
    harperman69 and Mscarpen like this.
  24. Jimski123

    Jimski123 Zealot (95) Tennessee Feb 10, 2013

    im excited about that sour. Will prob hit the saucer that sunday for it.
  25. Mscarpen

    Mscarpen Savant (335) Tennessee Apr 2, 2011

    Out of all of the events, this is the one I'm most excited about. I'll be there for sure.
  26. Mscarpen

    Mscarpen Savant (335) Tennessee Apr 2, 2011

    Aside from beer week, are there any other large beer events in Memphis or the surrounding areas? Brew fests, bottle release parties, etc?
  27. Jimski123

    Jimski123 Zealot (95) Tennessee Feb 10, 2013

    there are 3 beer festivals, memphis brewfest, theres one off beale st in handy park, forget the name of it though, and then theres cooper young beer festival in midtown
  28. BlueMoon10

    BlueMoon10 Savant (415) Mississippi Mar 29, 2013

    Theres a Crawfish and Beer Festival in Southaven, MS (just south of Memphis for those that don't know) on April 20th. Its called Heads & Tails. There website says it will have over 100 different beers there. I already bought tickets. I tried to create an event on BA for it but not sure if it went through.
  29. Mscarpen

    Mscarpen Savant (335) Tennessee Apr 2, 2011

    Cool. Great to know. Thanks!
  30. The zoo has zoo brew also a couple times a year
  31. Zoo Brew is always on Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend. They don't get anything out of the ordinary, but it is a pretty fun event. I recommend the one on Memorial Day weekend ... the weather is usually better than in early September.
    Mscarpen likes this.
  32. we almost have a better selection in jackson, tn than memphis.....hey at least we can get lagunitas
  33. Mscarpen

    Mscarpen Savant (335) Tennessee Apr 2, 2011

    More than happy to chase down some Lagunitas. I'll likely head over to Jackson this weekend to check it out. Any liquor/beer stores you can recommend? How about bars?
  34. the party mart is the liquor store to go to...lagunitas, green flash....etc.

    as far as bars downtown tavern, and the tap room, but the bar scene is crappy
    Mscarpen likes this.

Share This Page