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!