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 - http://www.dcbeer.com/news/savor-wrap-0

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 - http://www.yazoobrew.com/10years.html.  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.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Bells Bend Preservation Ale bottled today!

This year's Bells Bend Preservation Ale was bottled today!  Check it out:

Bottles will be released on Saturday, Oct 5th at the brewery as part of our 10 year Anniversary party.  Come on down and get you some!  And if you helped pick the hops with us this year, we've got your share stashed away, so don't worry.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Pictures from the Big Hop Pickin' 2013 at Bells Bend Farms

Hops ready to be picked!

The hop poles looking a little barren now, with the hop vines gone...

Now for the hard part!  Hand picking cones off 150 vines!

The hops safely in cold storage overnight...

Pouring the hops into our lauter tun, used as a hop back for this special batch!

Hops in the lauter, about to be steeped in the hot wort for an hour...

Hot work, getting the spent hops out of the lauter...

The spent hops, with all their flavor and aroma now in the beer!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Big Hop Picking Party this Thursday, August 22

Our Mystery hops are ready to be picked out at Bell Bend!  I love this time of year!  We'll be picking them out at Sulphur Creek Farm, just north of the intersection of Ashland City Hwy and Old Hickory Blvd.  We have about 150 vines to cut down and pick this year, about three times as many last year.  So we are looking for volunteers who want to come out, drink some fresh hop beer (from the Cascade variety we picked three weeks ago), and get your hands sticky and green from all the hops.  It's a fun time, and it's a great way to get back to nature and see what actually goes into making a good beer.  If you would like to volunteer to help, please email Linus at linus@yazoobrew.com and he'll get you hooked up.

Hop Project #74, first batch out 08/19/13

We bottled our next batch of Hop Project, #74, yesterday on 8/19/13.  Ivan took a turn with this one, and here is his description of the beer:

"I brewed batch 74 to honor my dear ole’ Grandad’s birthday. He grew up in Surrey county, England, right next to Kent. So in this batch we used mostly East Kent Goldings and Progress hops, both from the UK. To give it an American twist (Grandad now lives in the States), I used some Cascade for flavor and a touch of Chinook for a stronger bitterness. For his birthday I sent him a case. Cheers, Grandad!


I like it.  The English hops give it a nice lemony, green tea aroma, and the bitterness is more restrained than with American hops.  Look for this one in all of our distribution areas, including most of Tennessee, Mississippi, and northern Alabama.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Getting ready to pick some hops next Tuesday, July 30th - want to volunteer?

Well, the mixture of the rain and hot weather has the Cascades ahead of schedule this year.  We are planning on picking the 30 or so Cascade plants we have out at Sulphur Creek Farms in Bells Bend this coming Tuesday, July 30th, during their weekly potluck night.  It's a fun time, and if you would like to volunteer to help, let us know at info@yazoobrew.com.  It's a great time, with plenty of cold beers to help with the picking.  We normally chop down the vines, spread them out on a big table, and hand-pick the hop cones during plenty of conversation and cold brews.

The big field of about 150 vines of the mystery Bells Bend Preservation hop is coming along great too, but they aren't ready to pick yet.  We are going to shoot for sometime around the third week of August to pick them.  In the meantime, we will be using the first-picked Cascade hops in a special small batch that should be ready in time to drink while we are picking the Bells Bend hop - turning the main hop picking afternoon into a real "pickin party"!

Once we have the mystery hops picked, we should have enough to brew a full big 40 bbl batch this year, and to get bombers of the beer out in stores this year!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Hop progress out at Sulphur Creek Farm in Bells Bend

I checked in with Eric and Loran out at Sulphur Creek Farm today.  The hops are really thriving this year!  With all the rain mixed with plenty of sunshine, they are way ahead of last year.  The row of about 25 Cascade-variety plants are already budded-out with huge cones, and smell great already.  They may be ready for harvest in about a month, amazingly.

The bigger field of our "mystery hop" is doing great too, with almost all of the 150 or so plants coming up.  The rhizomes that bore cones last year were divided up and the new plantings are doing well.  The two-year old rhizomes already have vines that have reached 17' or so and have good buds coming out.  This variety snoozed last year until late August, when the cones popped out in what seemed like two weeks!  That's probably the time frame for this year too.

We are so lucky to have our partnership with Sulphur Creek Farm on growing these beautiful hops.  I can't describe how rejuvenating it is to be able to walk a field filled with the very herb that we love in our Pale Ale and Hop Projects.  It really brings home the fact that as brewers, we and our beers are only as good as the ingredients that go into what we create.  Here lately my life has been all about long days filled with finicky bottling lines, undersized air compressors, balky CO2 refrigeration systems, and other mechanical problems, but walking up and down rows of beautiful hops and crushing a few ripe cones between my fingers, and smelling the fragrant lupulin, really brings me back to Earth.  Cheers!

Hop Project #73 is out!

Hop Project #73 was bottled for the first time yesterday, June 18.  This bottling run was a monster (for us), about 1000 cases, so you should see it soon in all the markets Yazoo is distributed in.

This recipe was designed by our Ken Price, and used liberal amounts of Nugget, Columbus, Ahtanum, Cascade, and Kohatu hops.  My tasting notes:   attractive dense head on the beer, slight green tinge;  some dank, herbal notes in the nose, a little citrus;  a pleasant resiny bitterness that lasts and lasts, finishing clean but definitely hoppy.

Ken always puts together winners for our Hop Project series, and this is no exception.  Enjoy!


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Benefit for Oklahoma tornado victims tonight

Join us tonight, Thursday May 30th, at the taproom for a benefit for Oklahoma tornado victims, as part of the neighborhood Gulch Cares night.  We are donating 50% of sales tonight to the United Way for their tornado relief fund.  Come by, have a pint or get a growler to take home, and visit some of the local restaurants that are also donating a portion of their sales tonight.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

OK, back to work!

First off, if you missed out on Embrace the Funk Fest last weekend, well... you definitely missed out.  But we will have a few of the beers that we debuted there on tap at our Yazoo taproom over the next few months, as well as a few others that we haven't released yet.

"Rufus" - on tap now - a sour red ale fermented with two strains of brett, blackberries, and blackcurrants, and then blended with "Oscar", New Belgium Brewing's sour base beer for blends like their "La Folie".  We were honored when New Belgium agreed to do a sour beer blend with us, and we think the result is fantastic.  It was a big hit at Embrace the Funk Fest, and here's your chance to have it again, starting today, May 9, at 4 PM at the Yazoo taproom.  Due to the limited supply of this beer, and our desire to spread the funk to as many people as possible, we will only serve pints of this beer, no growlers to go.

"Wild Child" - on tap after Rufus is done (in a few weeks?) - a blend of Sue and Dos Perros wort, fermented with a special blend of brett and souring bacteria, and aged with sour cherries in a barrel we sourced from Russian River.  This one is dark, fruity, funky and sour.

"Brett Rye Saison" - still in the Janky Tank (our special sour beer fermenter), but will be kegged next week, going on after Wild Child is gone - our Rye Saison seasonal fermented with two additional brett strains.

"Berliner Weisse" - an intensely sour wheat ale fermented with the addition of lactobacillus and brett.   Will be available after the Brett Rye Saison is done.

Well, now that you can plan our your next few months around sour beers, we'll see you down at the taproom!  Cheers!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Full votes next week on the Fix the Beer Tax bills!

The Senate will take up SB0422 during its Monday afternoon session starting at 5 PM.  The House will vote on HB0999 Wednesday morning at 9 AM.  If you have contacted your legislator to ask for their support of the bills, thank you!  If not, please visit www.fixthebeertax.com and click on "Contact your Legislator" for a quick and easy way to email your specific Representative and Senator.  Thanks!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Key vote tomorrow in the House and Senate Finance committees

The Fix the Beer Tax bills will be up for a key vote tomorrow in the Senate Finance committee at 8 AM, and the House Finance committee at 3 PM.  The bills passed through the Finance subcommittees last week with no opposition, so we are cautiously optimistic for their chances tomorrow.  Follow Linus at @yazoobrewmaster on twitter for live updates, or also @fixthebeertax too.  If we get the bills out of these committees, then the next votes would be the full Senate and House!

Hop Project #71 out in Bottles, 3/26/13

For Hop Project #71, we tried a new hop for us - Kohatu from New Zealand.  We blended the Kohatu with one of our other new favorites, Australian Galaxy.  In a new twist, we added most of the hops toward the end of the boil, shooting for more aroma and flavor.  Adding hops toward the end instead of at the beginning increases the aroma and flavor while actually decreases the bitterness of the beer, but this one is still plenty hoppy!

It was hopped at 30 minutes left in the boil with Galaxy and Kohatu; 5 minutes left with the same blend; and dry-hopped in the fermenter after day 4 with a blend of about 1/3 Galaxy and 2/3 Kohatu.

This recipe will get out to all of our current markets in TN, MS, and northern AL.  Grab one while you can!  Hop #72 is already in the works!

Monday, March 4, 2013

2nd batch of Hop Project #70 is being bottled today 3/4/13

We bottled the second batch of Hop Project #70 today.  This one is proving to be a favorite of people in our taproom and beyond.  It was brewed with Stella and Topaz hops from Australia.

We will be brewing #71 in the next few weeks.  On deck - Galaxy and Kohatu hops!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Talk about Beer Tax Reform tomorrow on News Channel 5+

Representative Cameron Sexton and I will be on News Channel 5+ "OpenLine" tomorrow, Wednesday Feb 13, from 7-8 PM to talk about reforming TN's beer taxes this year.  Rep Sexton is the House sponsor for our bill to reform the 17% beer wholesale tax, which has caused TN's beer taxes to grow to the highest in the nation.  It's a live call-in show, and we need you to voice your support for saner beer tax policy in TN!  Call in to 615-737-7587 between 7 PM and 8 PM to get on the show.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Hop Project #70 bottled today 2/5/13!

Hop Project #70 was bottled today!  We brewed the first batch of Hop Project ever through our new 200 bbl fermenters, so there will be a whole lot of this to go around.  Which is a great thing, because we are continuing our love affair with Australian and New Zealand hops.  Seriously, if I ever disappear and no-one knows what happened, first check for a brand new hop farmer in New Zealand (if they would let me in the country - seems like immigration is pretty tough down there).

Anyway, we used a lot of Australian Topaz and Stella hops in this one, all the way through the brew and for dry-hopping.  It has a great aroma of ripe citrus fruits and a really nice pleasant bitterness.  Look for it in all our distribution area in the next few weeks!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Thank you to the editors at the Tennessean for endorsing beer tax reform in 2013!

Time to take froth out of beer taxes

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Tennessee has the highest tax on beer in the United States.
Under the current tax structure, it is an honor that the state is virtually guaranteed to keep, as the state’s local wholesale beer tax of 17 percent automatically benefits from producer and wholesaler price increases. In fact, the wholesale tax is a tax on top of a tax, as it is calculated from the price of a barrel of beer, including state and federal barrel taxes.
Tennessee municipalities and counties have been beneficiaries of the tax structure that was originally passed in 1954. The tax is paid directly to the cities and counties, no pausing required in the state’s coffers. In 2011, those government entities received $125.3 million in wholesale beer tax revenue; the state collected an additional $16.4 million through the state excise beer tax, while the federal government nabbed $69 million through the federal excise beer tax. That is a frothy $210.7 million in taxes paid by the beer drinkers in Tennessee.
Our local governments have seen those revenues increase by a tasty 30 percent over the past 10 years, even while beer consumption declined by 5 percent.
This sin tax structure has cost jobs. The local wholesale beer tax was cited as the primary reason Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. selected Mills River, N.C., for its second brewery and first in the eastern U.S. (North Carolina’s beer taxes are about 50 percent of Tennessee’s.) Virginia is actively recruiting Kingsport craft brewer Studio Brew, offering a reported $500,000 in incentives to leave Tennessee. The drink local movement has helped craft brewing become a fast-growing industry, one that is unlikely to see Tennessee as a welcome place to brew or sell beer.
The Tennessee beer industry is looking for a little relief in a bill introduced by Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, that would convert the local wholesale beer tax from a percentage of the wholesale price to a tax by volume — the way federal and state excise taxes are calculated. Kelsey and Rep. Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville, who is sponsoring the House bill, say the conversion to a volume tax would not reduce the 2013 tax rate or the revenue paid to local governments; it would, however, stop the automatic tax increases based on wholesale price increases.
The bill may be a tough sell to local governments. Davidson County, for example, collected more than $15.5 million in wholesale beer tax in 2011 (then collected sales tax on top of that — how neat: a tax on a tax on a tax, a governmental dream).
The General Assembly should reform the wholesale beer tax to a fairer volume-based tax, or even better, reduce the tax. Tennessee, which ranks 42nd in beer consumption, should not be No. 1 in taxes on it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Join us Wednesday, Jan 30th to fight for beer tax reform in TN

Please join us for a fun event to kick off our efforts to reform beer taxes in TN in 2013!  Brewers from the TN Craft Brewers Guild, including Yazoo, Calfkiller, Jackalope, Chattanooga Brewing, Cool Springs, Turtle Anarchy, Fat Bottom, and Mayday Brewing will be on hand pouring their brews as we introduce our two legislative sponsors for a bill to reform the 17% wholesale tax this year.  Doors will open at 4 PM, and the announcement will happen at 5 PM.  We are anticipating a big crowd to show the legislators and the media the popular support for beer tax reform in Tennessee.  See you there!

For more information on how you can help this year to reform beer taxes in TN, please visit a website we have set up at www.fixthebeertax.com, where you can see how TN stacks up against other states (warning, it's pretty graphic) and where you can send an email to your particular legislator in support of beer tax reform.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Looking ahead in 2013...

Wow.  Sometimes that's all you can say.  The year 2012 was a banner year for us here at Yazoo Brewing, and for craft beer in the Southeast.  Our sales jumped 40%, up to about 17,250 barrels of beer sold.  We did expand into the rest of Mississippi in 2012, selling our beer now along the Gulf coast and in north MS, but the amazing thing is that most of that 40% growth came from existing markets for us.  

We added two new 200 bbl fermenters in December, bringing our annual capacity to somewhere between 27-30,000 bbls a year, depending on our mix.  That should give us some room to grow for another year or two before we have to figure out a way to get more tanks into the brewery.  It's getting pretty tight in here already!

In the first part of the year, we plan on making a big push along with other members of the TN Craft Brewers Guild to reform TN's 17% wholesale tax on beer.  I firmly believe that the current structure of this tax unfairly puts a higher tax burden on smaller brewers in Tennessee and keeps other craft brewers from distributing in the state.  We have the beginnings of a great beer culture in Tennessee, and reforming this tax would help nurture local breweries and the jobs they create.

As part of that effort, we will be brewing the second batch of our collaboration brew with Calfkiller Brewery here at Yazoo, and bottling it for state-wide distribution.  We are calling this beer "The Beacon - a TN High Tax Ale" to try to bring awareness and publicity to our fight to change the 17% wholesale tax.  Look for it in your favorite beer stores in Spring.

Our seasonal brews will include Onward Stout in bottles for the winter (coming soon!), Rye Saison again in the spring, and the Fall Lager in fall.  We plan on introducing a summer seasonal as well, but haven't settled on a recipe yet.

We are working on two new high-alcohol releases for this year, but again, the recipes haven't been finalized yet.  I can say that we are definitely looking forward to an even bigger batch of Bells Bend Preservation Ale, with hops grown out at Sulphur Creek Farm, around October.

Finally, mark your calendars for October 5th, 2013, for the Ten Year Anniversary party for Yazoo.  You won't want to miss this one!

So long 2012! Here's to ya, 2013!

What a great year for craft beer lovers in Nashville and the rest of the Southeast!  It was a whirlwind year for us here at Yazoo.  Some of the highlights:

The beginning of 2012 saw us roll out Yazoo brew along the coast of Mississippi with FEB Distributing.  It's been a blast to get to know the folks down there and to share some great southern brew with people in Ocean Springs, Gulfport, and Biloxi.  Back in Nashville, we had the first ever big bottle release of Yazoo Fortuitous, which quickly turned into an epic bottle share upstairs in the brewery while everyone was waiting for the bottles to be raffled off.  I've never seen so much great beer from around the country, and so many generous drinkers in one spot in my life.

In March, we installed two new 120 bbl fermenters, the biggest yet.  And just in time, too - we began bottling Gerst too.  The ground began thawing in late March, and we spent the morning before the East Nashville Beer Fest planting 20' tall poles and stringing cables out at Sulphur Creek Farms for the new hop vines.

We kicked off the 2012 Hot Chicken Festival on July 4th with a great brand new twist - the first ever Hot Chicken Parade!  Former Mayor Bill Purcell and his red antique fire truck led a battalion of other old fire trucks down Woodland St, with the Hot Chicken Queens flinging beads into the crowd.  I haven't had that much fun in a long time.

In August, we finally were able to source pry-off bottles from our supplier and made the switch from twist-offs.  I am happy to say that I don't think many people even noticed, except for homebrewers, who can now reuse our bottles.

In September, we harvested the hops from Sulphur Creek and packaged up a special batch called Bells Bend Preservation Ale.  We were pretty excited by the flavor from these locally grown hops, and can't wait until harvest in 2013 to do an even bigger batch.

October brought home some great news - our Hefeweizen won another medal at the Great American Beer Festival - this time a Bronze.  We saw the writing on the wall as far as brewing capacity went, and decided to bite the bullet and order more fermenters, this time two 200 bbl tanks, the biggest we could fit inside the building.

In November, I traveled up to Sparta, TN, to do a collaboration brew with the guys from Calfkiller Brewing, dubbed "The Beacon - a TN High Tax Ale".  We debuted this beer at the 12S Winter Warmer on Dec 1.  We will be brewing the second batch here at Yazoo and bottling it in 750s for distribution across the state, as we try in 2013 to get some of TN's crazy high beer taxes reformed in the legislature.

We announced a new series of special sour ales called the Yazoo "Embrace the Funk" series, with our friend and great local brewer, Brandon Jones.  The first beer of the series was "Wild Child", our Sue aged in white wine barrels with sour cherries and Brett Lambicus, which we debuted at the 12S Winter Warmer as well.  Our sour ales will take a while to develop, but we hope to have bottles available later in 2013.

Finally, in late December, we had one of the most nerve-wracking tank installations yet.  Our new 200 bbl fermenters arrived, and we lifted them up and down though a large hole in the roof and into place.  For all my worrying, the installation went so smoothly that everything was in place and the roof replaced by about 3 PM the same day.

All in all, a great year!   Here's to more of the same in 2013!