Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hop Project #80 is being bottled today! 10/22/14

Great news for all you hop lovers out there - the newest batch of Hop Project is being bottled today!

For this batch, which is #80 in the series, we decided to make a pretty big change.  When we began the series years and years ago, my favorite IPAs all had a dark amber color and a nice sweetness to balance out the extreme hoppiness.  Our Hop Project grain bill was heavy on the Crystal malts, the malts that give you that dark red color and the residual sweetness.  However, tastes change over time, and after the success of our 10 Yr IPA lately, we decided to change up the grain bill on Hop Projects going forward.  We think that a lighter base to the grain bill will help us highlight the hops even more.

So without further ado, here's the notes for Hop Project #80:

We changed the grain bill on this one to get a lighter malt body, cutting out a lot of the Crystal malts and using about 30% wheat malt, and some flaked oats and wheat.  We used Bravo hops for bittering, and Citra and Falconer's Flight for flavor and aroma, and for dry-hopping as well.

My tasting notes:   well, of course I like it!  The aroma tells you that this is going to be really hoppy, but there is a pleasant creamy sweetness from the oats that delays the initial hop bitterness.  Then the hops really shine, full of juicy tropical notes, and then on to a lingering clean bitterness.

We hope you enjoy this one, and as always, feel free to leave us some comments on how you think our latest twist to the Hop Project series is going!



Sunday, August 10, 2014

Re: Hops Harvest Thursday 8/14/14

Hi all,

It looks like the annual picking of the hops will be this coming Thursday August 14th. I counted 275 vines this year, so the picking will probably take at least four hours. We will start picking around 4 pm and go until finished. Volunteers can count on a fun experience of picking the essential ingredient in the Bells Bend Preservation Ale, with plenty of Yazoo beer along with your hop picking companions. Volunteers will also get a case of this years' Bells Bend Preservation Ale and free admission and beers at the Hop Harvest Square Dance party later on in the fall when the beer is released.

If you would like to volunteer, please email for directions to the farm.


Linus Hall
Yazoo Brewing

Friday, July 18, 2014

Hop Project #79 bottled today, 7/18/14

Here comes the next batch of our perpetually changing IPA! This amber beauty is the brainchild of Seth, and uses Warrior, Galaxy, Cascade and Columbus hops.

It's got a great nose, tropical fruit, a little earthy and maybe a hint of green tea. Plenty of bitterness too!

Look for this in stores around TN and MS starting next week. If you can't wait, come by the brewery this weekend!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Hop Project #76 out today! Bottled 01/14/14

videoFor this, the 76th in the series, we went back to combine some of our favorites - Warrior, Chinook, Cascade, and Columbus.

It's agressively bitter with that resiny grapefruit character that those West Coast hops are known for. We hope it gets you through the next few months of winter!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

One of those 2013 year in review things...

It's been another banner year here at Yazoo!  We're always so excited and focused on what the future will bring, that we don't often stop to look back.  But some great things happened in 2013:

Fix the Beer Tax passes!

Probably the coolest - craft beer lovers across the state were successful in lobbying and convincing Tennessee's legislators to Fix the Beer Tax, equalizing the tax burden on both big and small brewers in Tennessee.  We kicked off the reform with a rally at the Yazoo taproom, with brewery owners, distributors, and craft beer lovers packing the room.  The cooperation between the TN Craft Brewers Guild, the Tennessee Malt Beverage Association, and craft beer enthusiasts continued with Fix the Beer Tax rallies in Memphis, Knoxville, Johnson City, and Chattanooga.  Thousands of supporters wrote their legislators in support.  We had news coverage in all the cities, with the Tennessean, the Knoxville News Sentinel, and the Nashville City Paper's editors endorsing our cause.  The result was an overwhelming vote for passage!  We still have the highest beer taxes in the country, but the tax structure before placed a much higher burden on smaller brewers.

The Beacon
Besides travelling all over the state for the Fix the Beer Tax rallies (man, we have a long state!), one of the most fun parts of the reform effort was our collaboration with Calfkiller Brewery on The Beacon.  We bottled the second batch at Yazoo in February, just in time to get it out in stores and get more people's attention to the tax reform bills.  The newspapers again loved the idea, and our label showing craft beer's taxes as the fattest part of the tax "pig" seemed to really drive the point home.  Some craft beer reviewers didn't know what to make of a light bodied smoked wheat beer made with Tennessee honey.  But the Sergios liked it, we liked it, and it definitely seemed to help get attention to the tax reform bills.

In February, we also bottled our Onward Stout for the first time.
Onward Stout
 This beer has long been a favorite of ours at the brewery.  Lila worked up a great label for the Onward Stout, depicting the famous and true story of how Theodore Roosevelt's bear hunt in Onward, MS, inspired the creation of the Teddy bear.

That month, we also resisted the calls to put out a Yazoo "Harlem Shake" video.  Remember that craze?

The Embrace the Funk beers picked up steam, with a collaboration blend with New Belgium for the Memphis Craft Beer week in April that we called "Rufus".
Already a collector's item
To really showcase both what we were doing with Embrace the Funk, and to celebrate sour and wild beers in general, we decided to turn the first Sunday of May into our annual "Embrace the Funk Fest".  The first Embrace the Funk Fest featured about a dozen beers that Brandon deemed were ready, including Rufus' debut in Nashville and bottles of Wild Child.  The Bloomy Rind had hand-selected an amazing variety of their wildest, funkiest cheeses. and some of Nashville's funkiest DJ's spun their favorite 70's vinyl.  Some really rare beers from across the world made surprise appearances too.  If you haven't already, pencil in the first Sunday in May for Embrace the Funk Fest 2014!

In June, Brandon, Lila, and I headed up to the Big Apple for Savor 2013.  We decided to bring two of our Embrace the Funk beers to see what the reception and feedback would be.  We took our Brett Saison, a bright and funky farmhouse ale; and Wild Child, a smokey and sour ale.  The comments we got were very encouraging, with several thumbs-up from writers and bloggers later on - thanks Jake and Nick -

We were bummed when registration for the Great American Beer Fest closed after only one day, leaving many breweries out in the cold. However, our friend Chad at Crooked Stave in Denver invited us and a whole host of other breweries out for the first ever What the Funk Festival.  Some of the best sour and wild ales were featured, and it turned out to be one of the hottest tickets in town during the GABF.

July always brings the annual Hot Chicken Festival in East Park in east Nashville.  This festival is the brainchild of Mayor Purcell, and has been going so strong for years that a little rainstorm this year couldn't slow it down.  I think the rain actually helped cool the fires a little.

We're a tight crew at Yazoo.  The people working here love what they're doing, and you can tell by their effort and dedication to brewing the best beer we can.  But after years of very little turnover, we had several people leave for other opportunities.  Ryan and Colin's better halves got great jobs out of state, but they were able to take their Yazoo experience and land great jobs at Baxter Brewing in Maine for Ryan, and Boston Beer in Cincinnati for Colin.  Katie moved on and is now at Tennessee Brew Works.  Dave Maderia got a great paying full-time gig and couldn't work the taproom any longer.  Kelly, Haley, and LP all moved up and couldn't continue their tour guide roles.  And two longtime Yazooligans, Brandi and Brian, are now at Hops and Crafts in the Gulch.  To all of you - thanks for all the hard work, the fun, and the great memories!

By August, the hops out at Sulfur Creek Farm in Bells Bend were getting ready for picking.  Eric and Loran had managed this year to divide up the rhizomes from our mystery hops and by August, we had 150 healthy vines full of ripe hops.
The Mystery Hops
The picking went late into the night by the light of the headlights of a couple pickup trucks.  We managed to get them all picked and into a batch of beer the next day.  The beer turned out great - a very nice and sessionable pale ale that really showcased the character of the hops.  We were able to get a full 700 cases or so bottled up and out to middle TN.
Fresh Hopped Bells Bend Pale Ale

The Delta Saints, live from the back of a 1956 F100  (from their FB page)

By the time October rolled around, we were ready to party.  We turned ten years old in October 2013, and to celebrate we decided to hold a two day party on Oct 4-5th.  The 10-Year IPA we brewed for the event was received so well, we decided to brew another batch and bottle it.  And when the power generator blew out on the last band of the night, our friends the Delta Saints took it in stride, finishing with an acoustic set from the back of my old Ford next to the loading dock.  It was one of those "only in Nashville" moments!

I had to do some quality control, of course!

October also saw us launch the first-ever beer kiosk out at the Nashville airport.  Another first - you can walk up to our Yazoo "Craft Beer on the Fly" beer kiosk, order a tall Pale Ale, Dos Perros, Hefeweizen, or Hop Project - and walk anywhere in the airport with it! (inside security, of course)

In November, we were honored to be voted the Best Local Brewery by the readers of the Nashville Scene.  While we have won "Best" awards from the Scene before, there had never been a category just for breweries (probably because there just weren't very many breweries before!)  We are so honored and humbled by your support, and we promise to keep trying to brew the best beer we can for you!

We finished out the year by bottling our 10-Year IPA in 750 ml "big bottles".  We were only able to get a limited amount of the hops we used in this beer, but we will keep brewing it until we run out for good, and hopefully in 2015 we can contract for a long-term supply.

Well, that's a wrap!  What's on tap for 2014, you ask?  You'll have to just stay tuned...

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

10-Year IPA bottle release!

Merry Christmas!  We have an early present for all you hop-heads out there!  We got such a great response for the celebration beer we brewed for our 10th year anniversary, we decided to keep brewing as much as we could and to get some out in bottles.  We'll be bottling the second batch of 10-Year IPA this Friday and releasing the bottles at our taproom this Saturday.

The 10-Year IPA is a light-bodied India Pale Ale, brewed with lots of wheat and oats, and generously hopped with the relatively new varieties of Citra and Mosaic hops.  These hops are hard to get right now, so enjoy this brew while you can!

For now, due to the limited run for this beer, we'll be bottling it in 750 ml "bombers". They'll be released this coming Saturday, Dec. 7, starting at noon at our taproom.  The following week, we'll be shipping limited quantities out to our distributors, so if you can't make it to the taproom, look for it at your favorite good beer stores soon!

About the label:  for Yazoo's 10th anniversary, I promised both of my daughters they could design the label for the beer.  So this is what they came up with!  It makes me think of fireworks going off, which is what happens to my taste-buds when I drink this beer.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

BIG weekend coming up...

We have a big party weekend coming up at Yazoo!  We first started brewing in October of 2003, ten years ago this month.  We're going to celebrate the only way we know how - new beers, great music, great food, and hopefully with all our friends!  Details about the party are here -  Details about the new beers are below:

We have two new beers coming out.  The first, as you know if you've been reading our blog, is the Bells Bend Preservation Ale.  I am calling it a new beer, even though we released one the past two years, because this is the first year we've actually had enough hops to BREW with them.  The last two years, we simply steeped the wet fresh hops in a batch of our Pale Ale.  While those beers turned out great, I didn't feel like we would capture the true essence of the Bells Bend hops until we were able to use them as part of a full batch of beer.

But this year, we got three times what we picked last year, and were able to use the hops in the final hop addition.  We steeped the fresh hops in the hot wort at the end of the boil, before cooling the wort and adding the yeast in the fermenter.

The result?  A great, well balanced American Pale Ale, with a nice blend of biscuity malts and pleasant bitterness, and a great hop aroma.  Will it blow away the hopheads in the crowd?  No, but that was not the intent.  We wanted to make a well-balanced beer that showcased a locally-grown hop, and that's what I think we did!  (Hopheads - and I include myself in that group - we didn't forget you - see the next post!)

As last year, a portion of the sales of this beer will go back to the Sulphur Creek Farm, so that they can continue their mission.  We hope to expand the hop field even more next year with these proceeds.

The bottle release party will be this weekend, Saturday Oct 5th, starting at noon at the brewery.  After the release, we will continue selling the beer at the brewery, and we will also be sending cases of the beer out to our distributors as well.  The 750 ml bottles of Bells Bend Preservation Ale will be selling for $4 each or six for $20.