Located on the banks of the Tennessee River, Knoxville is a thriving historic city home to the University of Tennessee. A small drive from the Smoky Mountains, Knoxville is not just a college town but a multi-faceted city with an amazing renovated downtown area. This area is filled with independent businesses that showcase the many interests of Knoxville. One of those interests is sports, and that crazed fandom has also led to a boom in the craft beer scene.
There’s nothing more sports fans love than a cold one while they’re watching the game, and the breweries downtown provide them with no lack of options to indulge in. If you are stopping on your way to the Smoky Mountains, enjoy a beer with the game, or just want to unwind, Knoxville breweries will not disappoint you.
Knoxville is home to some of the most ardent sports fans and a stop just before one of the most visited spots in the US, the Smoky Mountains. These factors have led to the city being home to a thriving craft beer scene. These are the places to visit for a true Knoxville craft beer experience.
Next Level Brewing Co.
Next Level Brewing Co. is a craft brewery located in the Old North neighborhood of Knoxville. The brewery is a literal labor of love, as the two friends who found the brewery even did a lot of construction themselves to save money. The founders are still very much hands-on in brewing and love to chat with patrons whenever they get a chance.
Try the Moundz pastry stout on the menu for a whole new experience. Named after the candy bar used to make the beer, this drink has all the rich chocolate and coconut taste underlined by the bitterness of the imperial stout. The Clinched Fist American IPA is a crowd favorite and packs a great punch, just like its name. For a classic IPA experience, this hits just the right spot.
Pretentious Brewing Co.
Located in downtown Knoxville, Pretentious Brewing can be described as a whole experience. All the brewing equipment is displayed in the taproom, and the beer flows into the most unique glassware you will ever see in a brewery.
The glasses are hand blown on-site by Matthew Cummings, one of the brewery’s founders. Customers sip their beer, enchanted as a few steps away from them, Cumming blows glass. Cummings has said that he wanted the brewery to be one of the only places where you drink beer made in-house out of glasses made in-house. Glass blowing is mesmerizing to watch, and craft beer is exceptional to drink. This combination makes Pretentious Brewing one of the main attractions in downtown Knoxville.
Pretentious sells its exceptional glassware along with beer, and there has been an increasing demand for handcrafted containers. Keeping the theme of innovation for the beer, the brewery does not have any flagship beers. It is dedicated to experimenting with different flavor profiles. Try their sour called Orangesicle Dreams if you like a citrus kick in your drinks. Their Czech Pilsner, the hilariously named Chug Life, is a crowd favorite and will fulfill your need for European-style beers.
Printshop Beer Co.
Located on the scenic South Knoxville Waterfront, Printshop Beer Co. provides your beers with a view. The brewery’s name pays homage to its beginnings as it was a former print shop. Printshop brews a range of American-style craft brews, keeping in line with its overall low-key vibe. With ten to twelve beers on tap and the soothing sight of the Tennessee River, Printshop is quickly becoming a hit among beer lovers.
Try their Manuscript Don’t Burn fruited gose. Its key lime tartness provides the right kick and jolts you to your senses. With the one-two punch of salt and orange peel, this beer hits a sour note that makes your taste buds sing. If you want to go classic, their American Pale Ale called Hand Cranker will provide you with the right company.
Crafty Bastard Brewery
Crafty Bastard Brewery is all about rebellion. In its own words, the brewery makes traditional yet mischievous beers and shows a middle finger to the mundane. The Crafty Bastard is an ode to innovation in the craft beer industry by serving these quirky concoctions in downtown Knoxville Pride Bitter Ale. With notes of butterscotch and toffee, this will transport you to an English pub while in Knoxville. A strong earthy undertone further enhances the experience and leaves you wanting more. If you truly want to be experimental with a Southern twist, try their Picklebier Sour. This drink feels just like biting into a dill pickle, a delight to the senses if you love pickles as much as we do.
Best Breweries in Knoxville with Food
Beer is one of life’s greatest treasures to wash off a great meal. We have compiled a list of the best breweries in Knoxville with food to ensure you get your share of that treasure.
Xul Beer Co.
A staple in the Knoxville craft beer scene, Xul Beer takes great pride in the brewing process and makes sure to provide a range of beers to the customers. Their specialties include decadent pastry stouts and Hazy Hopped IPAs. You can take in the city’s skyline from their taproom, which used to be a 1960s car showroom. You can also relax in the beer garden. Xul provides a little something for everyone.
Try their Pepperoni Pizza with their German Chocolate Cake stout. The coconut, Cacao nibs flavor of the drink will serve as an excellent substitute for dessert.
Last Days of Autumn Brewing
The Last Days of Autumn were conceived when the founder received a home brewing kit in 1994. He brought his passion for craft beer to his brewery, and the brewpub is now a favorite for many Knoxville Beer Lovers. A taproom with a range of beers and a menu with tacos and BBQ make this cozy pub an excellent night out.
Try their smoked chicken nachos with OG Biff’s, an American IPA with tangerine and pineapple. The combination will keep you coming back for more.
Abridged Beer Company
Abridged Beer Company is an ideal place to hang out with friends and family, as the designers have ensured that the environment is great for all sorts of people. Settle in with a pint and enjoy the industrial backdrop of the 1950s garage in the brewpub is located in. Abridged is a local favorite and a must-visit for tourists to get that Knoxville community feel.
Abridged takes pride in its brewing process, and its menu comprises a selection of curated beers. Try the Frita burger for their food truck and pair it with their Alright Alright West Coast IPA. A laid-back meal to match the environment.