A Local Icon, Brewed Once Again in Nashville!
Gerst Amber is being brewed once again in Nashville! This venerable brand, created by William Gerst in 1893, was once one of the most popular beers in the South. The massive old William Gerst Brewery occupied several city blocks in the area near 6th Ave South and Lafayette Street, and at the time of Tennessee’s Centennial was one of the largest brewers in the South. The brewery never fully recovered from the blows of Prohibition, and the last keg of locally-brewed Gerst beer was tapped in 1954.
To keep the Gerst name alive in Nashville, Gerst’s grandson William opened the Gerst Haus Restaurant at 315 2nd Avenue North in 1955. It became a popular watering hole for attorneys and politicians throughout the 1960’s, due no doubt to its proximity to the Courthouse, as well as its massive fishbowls of beer. The namesake Gerst Amber beer, however, was missing until Jim and Jerry Chandler bought the Gerst Haus in 1988. The Chandlers searched to find a brewery to recreate the old Gerst Amber recipe, and found a willing partner in Evansville Brewing in Indiana. Despite the beer being a hit back in Nashville, the brewery went bankrupt in 1997, and the Chandlers moved production to Pittsburgh Brewing in Pittsburgh, PA.
That’s where Yazoo Brewing entered the picture. While researching the local brewing scene while planning the opening of Yazoo Brewing, Linus Hall became fascinated by the wonderful history behind Nashville’s original brewery. When he met Jerry Chandler one day in 2005, he broached the idea of bringing Gerst back to Nashville, and brewing it at the Yazoo Brewery.
With Yazoo’s move to bigger digs in the Gulch in 2010, the brewery finally had enough space to add the Gerst beer to Yazoo’s current lineup of craft beers. After several test batches, the Chandlers and Linus have brewed a true replica of the original Gerst Amber.
We invite all of Nashville to join us for a celebration of the return of locally-brewed Gerst Amber, at the Gerst Haus Restaurant, 301 Woodland Street, on Friday, March 25th, from 6 to 9 PM. Mayor Karl Dean will be on hand to offer a toast, to both the long history of brewing in Nashville and to its bright future!