Some of the world’s sweetest water come from Memphis’s artesian sand wells. Local breweries use this purified water to make beer that is just as flavorful and vibrant as the city. Beer events like the Memphis Brewfest, Art on Tap, Cooper-Young Beerfest, and TASTE the RARITY celebrate the breweries with the community.
The breweries that serve some of our favorite pints are High Cotton Brewing Company, Crosstown Brewing Company, Soul & Spirits Brewery, Ghost River Brewing Company, and Grind City Brewing Company. The ones that also serve food are Boscos Restaurant and Brewing Company and Memphis Made Brewing Company. However, if you are looking for other breweries, check out our list of the Best Tennessee Breweries or better yet, the Best Breweries in America.
With so much to see and do in the city, it’s easy to miss some small craft breweries.
From inside a refurbished carriage house that has to be at least 100 years old, this artisan microbrewery has strict quality control, from diligently selecting the finest ingredients to mercilessly critiquing their brews. But the intense process of trial and error is well worth the effort. Their exceptional ales are some of the best. You can grab a seat inside or settle on the patio with a board or card game and appreciate High Cotton’s hard work.
There are ten beers on tap. Try the Saison, an amber farmhouse ale with its fruity aroma, soft malt flavor, and dry finish. It’s perfect for a warm summer evening. If you are in the mood for something new, try the Thai Pale Ale, a fusion of Thai spices like basil, chili peppers, lemongrass, and ginger with a hoppy pale ale. It’s one for the books.
Founded by two beer lovers after years of studying and practicing, Crosstown Brewing company opened its taproom in 2018 just outside Crosstown Concourse to the delight of the neighborhood. There is plenty of indoor and outdoor seating to park yourself while you enjoy a pint or a sampling flight. Even the pickiest of beer enthusiasts will be impressed with the collection. There is even cold brew coffee on tap.
Patrons’ favorites include the Siren Blonde Ale and Traffic IPA. While the classics are great, they have more adventurous options like the Spacebird, a pastry stout that blends a milk stout with the sugar rush of yeasty, chocolate, and sprinkle-covered donuts!
It all started with a trip to the motherland, Germany, and then to the Czech Republic which launched the founders’ foray into lagers and backyard brewing. Soul & Spirits comes from a quote from German professor Anton Piendl who said, “Malt is the soul, hops is the spice, yeast the spirit, and water the body of [the] beer.”
The warehouse brewery feels like a giant beer hall with long tables and muralled walls. There is even a pet station for your dog to enjoy treats and water. There is a separate lounge for those who want to drink in peace.
Memphis music is the inspiration for each of the 25 brews on tap. Like the Love Joy Sour, it was inspired by “Lovejoy, Ill.” by Albert King. This tart German wheat ale is like a lemonade with a salty kick. Then there is Ophelia, a farmhouse ale Inspired by “Ophelia” by The Band. This Belgian-style Saison is malty and peppery with hints of tangerines for a dry finish.
Brewmasters say, “Great water makes great beer.” This adage became the driving philosophy behind Ghost River Brewing when they started in 2007. The drainings from the Ghost River wetlands filters through the Memphis wells to provide crisp, mineral-free water that is the perfect base for beer making.
The Ghost River taproom features indoor and outdoor space, including an excellent patio. It hosts an array of events like weekly trivia, a book club, and live music. There are twelve taps for year-round brews and seasonal beers. Popular choices include The Ghost River Gold, a no-fuss ale with caramel malts, The Grindhouse Cream Ale with its subtle malt and hop flavors, and the Riverbank Red, a toasty Irish red ale.
A father-son duo founded this riverside brewery in 2018. These two know their business and even won a Gold Medal at the CAMRA Battle of the Beers. Located in Uptown Memphis, the taproom has an indoor drinking space leading to a deck for live music and a spacious outdoor seating area with picnic tables and scenic views of the river.
Grind City has five year-round beers, seasonal specialty brews, and a selection of hard seltzers for non-beer drinkers. Favorites include The Godhopper, a hazy IPA, Poppy’s Pils, a light American Lager, and Tiger Tail, a Malt Liquor.
The Memphis food scene is just as diverse and delicious as the craft beers. Here are a couple of brewpubs who know beer tastes even better great tasting food.
The pioneers of craft brewery in Tennessee, Boscos Restaurant and Brewing Company, started in the early 1990s. They are known for their great selection of brews that have won several national awards. Grab a patio seat and order a pint or a flight of samplers. Must-tries include their silver medal-winning Flaming Stone a German-style ale with a distinct caramel flavor, and their four-time award-winning Bombay IPA.
Pair these refreshing brews with Boscos’s extensive lunch and dinner menus filled with mouthwatering dishes like the Crab and Fried Green Tomatoes, Blackened Fish Sandwich, Ribeye Steak, and Wood-Fried Pizzas. Don’t forget to order dessert! A warm Apple Crisp is the best way to finish a meal. There is even a Sunday brunch menu filled with omelets, frittatas, biscuits, french toast, and waffles. We weren’t kidding when we said extensive.
This microbrewery/taproom stands in Memphis’s dynamic Cooper-Young neighborhood with ample seating, live music on the weekends, a game of corn hole, and a giant Jenga set. It’s the perfect family-friendly hangout spot for the community around it. Right next to Aldo’s Pizza Pies, fresh pizza comes straight into the taproom so that you can enjoy a pint with a delicious fresh slice.
Here they produce a lot of different brews that are on an ever-changing rotation so that you can expect something new every visit. Best of the year-round offerings include Cat Nap (IPA with notes of pineapple, peach, and mango) and Fireside (a German-style malt). The limited release that deserves a sip is Dockside, a smooth wheat ale with citrus notes perfect for the summer weather.