Big River Grille & Brewing Works


Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

222 Broad St
Chattanooga, Tennessee, 37402-1009
United States

(423) 267-2739 | map

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

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Reviews: 23 | Ratings: 42
Photo of Boto
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5

Back here for the first time in many years. Large, repurposed old building in Downtown Chattanooga. I think it may have been a trolley barn at one time. With the high ceilings, it tends to be a bit echoey, but not really any louder than similar places. Beers are decent, but nothing special. The food is pretty much what you’d expect: pub type fare with some steaks and other entrees. The Cajun Pasta is pretty decent. It’s a good stop if you are in the area.

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Photo of NewGlarusFan
3.61/5  rDev -4.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.75 | food: 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.

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Photo of bamadog
3.55/5  rDev -6.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4

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.

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Photo of jadpsu
4.18/5  rDev +10.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

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.

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Photo of ectomorph
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

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.

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Photo of 77suburban
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3 | food: 4

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.

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Photo of lehows
4/5  rDev +5.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

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.

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Photo of TheEclecticGent
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

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.

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Photo of Conrad
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

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.

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Photo of jushoppy2beer
4.83/5  rDev +27.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

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.

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Photo of MMAJYK
3.86/5  rDev +2.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

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.

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Photo of ndekke39
4/5  rDev +5.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

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.

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Photo of Poser
3.55/5  rDev -6.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4

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.

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Photo of ndolover
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3

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.

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Photo of kdoc8
3.45/5  rDev -8.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4

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.

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Photo of Enola
4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

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.

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Photo of weizendoc
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5

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.

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Photo of Graebner
3.25/5  rDev -14%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 2 | food: 4.5

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.

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Photo of cashew70
3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

I stopped in over the Christmas holidays and found the Big River a nice change from the average tourist center chains. The food was good, with the appetizer portions being large, a nice selection of different food items and beers. I had their brown, the IPA and their 375 pale ale. The 375 was by far the tastiest.

The wait on a Tuesday night was over an hour, but I found out that the trick is to slide into the ajoining "billiards room". It has an unmarked door on the front (head towards downtown), or you can scoot right through the restaruant. The Billiards room is self seating, usually with tables (hi-tops) available. We skipped the hour wait and found a table in the billiards room right away. The menu is the same and the waitstaff is attentive. It's a little noisier in there because there will be kids running around the pool tables, but it's worth the time savings when you have the same food and drink selection. Plus they sell growlers, which is a nice change from Georgia.
If you are in Chattanooga, this place is definitely worth a stop for lunch/dinner and a few drinks.

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Photo of FormatKid
4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I actually managed to get a sitter and drag the wife out to a BREW-PUB. That's a rarity, but she's heard the food here is good as well so she decided to humor me.

First off, I love the atmosphere, very laid back and beer-centric (of course, it’s a brewery). Super-high unfinished ceilings and plenty of room between tables. Not as crowded as expected for a Friday night judging by some of the other reviews I've read.

The menu was good, a lot of unique things to try, including lamb, aged beef, a nut-crusted chicken dish, etc. Unfortunately budget dictated burgers tonight, but they were satisfying none-the-less.

The staff was super-friendly, and again more knowledgeable about the product then you would expect. The waitress immediately suggested the sampler and upon bringing it gave a brief description of each one, (although the descriptions were broken down simpler than even someone as newbish as me would need).

Now to the most important part..the beer. Seven beers are offered including one seasonal that varies, tonight it was an Irish Red. I will break them all down briefly.

Light Lager - not my bag, but definitely good for the style.

Vienna Lager - this was the most surprising of the night, I found it quite good with a nice hop profile and smoothness I wasn't expecting.

Brown Ale - a bit disappointing, because everyone I know who's been there raves about it. A little thin, and just not as rich and smooth as I'd like.

"Imperial" Pale Ale - my favorite out of the line up, a delicious floral hop presence very reminiscent of SNPA with dare I say a bit more hop bite.

IPA – I was looking forward to this one, especially after tasting the Pale, but I have to say I was a little let down, bitter, but lacking character. They tout this as their most “aggressive” beer but it ranks in at only 4.75% ABV.

Stout – A cream stout I believe, highly drinkable, sweet and lightly roasty. Another one I enjoyed highly.

Irish Red – Best I’ve had of the style, a bit more defined in its character than a Killian's, etc.

The other seasonals they rotate according to the waitress are:

Fall – Oktoberfest
Winter – Coffee Stout
Summer – Hefeweizen (wish they were serving this already instead of spring’s Irish Red)

Needless to say, all these beers are fresh tasting, which bumps them up another notch in my book. A solid line-up, low ABV’s across the board are somewhat disappointing, but understandable. The line-up makes you crave at least one BIG or experimental brew, I mean..even if it flops you only have to brew a small batch. Ah well.

Growlers are available. The first one will cost around $15 I believe with a fill being around $8. Again, the budget didn’t allow for one on this trip, but I would definitely like to stop by for a growler of their Pale Ale, or Stout.

Overall I give the place a healthy thumbs up.

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Photo of rajendra82
3.23/5  rDev -14.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 2.5 | food: 4

This is a brewpub located within a block of the Tennessee Aquarium. I did not see any brewing equipment displayed in sight, so I am not certain if they brew on the premises. The overall look is that of a converted brick warehouse (which I am quite sure it is), with tall metal ceilings and brick facade. The premises look well kempt and clean with two tap areas, a main restaurant area, and some pool tables. The atmosphere was very friendly for families with kids.

The selection of beers was underwhelming with six year around choices (Light Lager, Vienna Style Lager, Brown Ale, Pale Ale, India Pale Ale, and Stout) and a seasonal (which currently was Irish Red). You can't get much more boring than that. In addition all brews were quite watery with the light lager at 3% ABV being the weakest, and the IPA at 4.75% ABV being the strongest.

The food we ordered was a bit slow to be delivered, but the taste of the chicken flautas I ordered and the chicken salad sandwich that my wife ordered was quite good. The French fries that came with our son’s chicken tendered were just perfect.

If they got a bit more adventurous in the styles and strength of their beers, I’d recommend this place wholeheartedly to anyone. Right now it’s worth a visit if going to Chattanooga, but not much more than that.

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Photo of sbattert
4.43/5  rDev +17.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

My family and I stopped at this restaurant in chattanooga about a year ago so forgive me if details aren't sound. This is a very clean restaurant and I remember the hostess and waitress as extremely friendly and accomodating. There is mahogony and wood everywhere so it is very warm and inviting. I recall a pool table and some college age kids playing pool, so it seems to cater to more than just families. It was quiet, but it was also lunch time.

I don't remember my entree, but I do recall a really good tortilla soup. As for beer, I tried a sampler of seven different beers they make. The Sweet Magnolia Brown Ale really stands out as delicious. The pales were good too, although I'm not a huge fan of pale ales.

If I lived in the area, I would definitely be a repeat customer. This is a very warm establishment and is quite big.

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Photo of aracauna
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

To start off with just be aware that this place stays packed. If you visit during normal dinner hours then be prepared to wait to be seated. It will vary from 30 minutes to an hour often. You may want to visit this place during off hours. The restaurant is very open and airy. There is a lot of dark wood and low lighting. As you walk in the main dining area is straight ahead. To the left is a pub area behind which is the brewery. If you can find a seat in this area you won't have to wait to be seated in the dining room. They serve a full menu at the bar. To the right of the main dining room, there is another bar like area with pool tables.

The food is really good. I've eaten here twice and both times the food has been good. The desserts are huge for the price. They are easily shared with a few friends. The entrees are also pretty tasty and a good amount. Like many more upscale brewpubs, they have some pretty tasty gourmet pizzas and the guacamole that came with my flautas was really good. I don't even like it usually.

The beer selection is large for a brew pub. They have at least 6 taps and when a seasonal brew is on they will often have 7 beers. Like many brew pubs, they are a little timid with their beers but none of them are bad. The stout actually is quite good.

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Big River Grille & Brewing Works in Chattanooga, TN
3.57 out of 5 based on 247 ratings.
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