The Brews

beer cover photoThe BriarScratch Brewery aims to make hand crafted, flavorful beer using traditional brewing techniques.  You can find BriarScratch beers on tap at select retailers in Sumner County Tennessee.  Click here to see Whats on Tap!  Brad has been brewing these beers for several years now and has won over a few taste buds and several awards along the way. The brewery will focus on producing a few year-round flagship styles, seasonals, and experiemtals with recipes that have been nearly perfected to our taste and hopefully you will find your favorite!  The goal is to have a beer for every type of beer drinker.

Our year-round flagship brews:

Cottontown Brown, a smooth, easy drinkin’ southern style brown ale.  Putting Cottontown on the map with  “The lightest dark beer in TN” (4% ABV, 16IBU)

Creekbank Blonde, A light bodied full flavored American Blonde Ale.  “The local answer to light beer!”  (5.2%, 19 IBU)

Our kinda year round brews:

Mudpit Porter – A Robust style Porter brewed with roasted barley, malted oats, cocoa, and TN sorghum.  Medium bodied, robust, and silky smooth. Dirty name, clean finish.  Sometimes you have to go through the mud pit to get where you’re going. (released randomly throughout the year) (6% ABV, 26 IBU)

The Volunteer – Tennessee style wheat ale, brewed with Orange Zest and White Pepper. (5% ABV)

Dixieland D-light – A new take on the “light beer” category.  This pale straw yellow beer is incredibly light thanks to the addition of rice sugar in the boil.  Nothing light about the flavor though!  Flavorful cascade and columbus hops show up first, followed by that familiar classic beer malt and rice finish.  “Spend my dollar, (on a beer!), brewed in a holler”

Hitchin’ Post Pale Ale – A balance of caramel malt and citrus hop flavors.  A harmony that is the American Pale Ale.  “Tie One On” (This beer also goes by the alias “Prince Street Pale Ale”) (5.8% ABV, 38 IBU)

Our Seasonal Brews: (Beers to look forward to!)

South Tunnel Stout – A milk chocolate oatmeal coffee stout.  All our favorite things that go well in a stout that make for a rich, decadent winter beer.  Lactose sugar, locally roasted coffee, cocoa, cacao nibs.  (Winter Seasonal, December-February)

Roaddog Red – An American style Red Ale brewed with Columbus Hops. Floral, citrus, honey, and sweet bread show up in the flavor and aroma.  Springtime in a glass.  (Spring Seasonal, March-May)

Hi Honey Autumn Ale – Fall seasonal brew made with honey nut cereal in the mash and brewed with local honey.

Sumner Summer – Light, thirst quenching, and a perfect full flavored summer beer. Sumner Summer is a Kölsch style bier. The official summer beer of Sumner County! (Summer Seasonal, May-August)

FlannelFest – Our take on an Oktoberfest-ish brew.  This light bodied, malty amber beer goes great with fall and food. (Late September limited release)

Swimmin Hole – This is a small batch farmhouse ale fermented with our own farmhouse yeast strain cultured from a briar. We used the wort of Sumner Summer which is a pilsner base with a bit of white wheat and munich malt. The result is a light bodied cloudy brew, with lots of complex flavors of clove, banana, vanilla, and citrus. (Released randomly during hot weather)

Winchester’s Gold – Wheat ale brewed with lemon zest (Released every August for Cragfont Gala)

Holler Harvest – Take a light malty amber ale and add cinnamon, allspice, clove, ginger, and vanilla and create a flavorful fall spiced ale.  After fermentation added fresh local harvested persimmon puree and add another layer of fall complexity to the flavor!  Just in time for Thanksgiving. (Mid November release)

Pop’s Hops (an ever changing adventure in hoppy brews):

Pop’s Hops #7: The first ‘commercial’ batch of Pop’s Hops.  What started as an antic while playing around with different homebrew recipes became an ongoing thing in our business.  Pop’s Hops #7 was released at our official launch.  A hoppy copper colored ale brewed with Columbus and Cascade hops and dry hopped in our brand new fermeneter, which we didn’t know exactly how to go about doing.  We quickly learned that nothing about our setup like whole leaf hops so we will stick to pellets.

Pop’s Hops #8: the next brew in the ongoing adventure in hoppy ales. This one is really special to me. I used the built up farmhouse ale yeast to ferment a full batch of hoppy goodness. Complex flavors of pineapple, clove, and orange peel round out a malty brew. (One time release June 2015)

Pop’s Hops #9 – American IPA with Chinook, Citra, and Nelson Sauvin Hops. 60 IBUs (One time release August 2015)

Pop’s Hops #10 – Golden session style ale brewed with Citra and Chinook hops and fermented with a Kolsch yeast strain.  Dry hopped with an ounce of hops per gallon!  60 IBUS, 5% abv (one time release, October 2015)

Pops Hops #11 – American IPA brewed and dry hopped with tropical Nelson Sauvin, and piney and zesty Chinook hops. (Dec 2015)

Pops Hops #12 – Bright golden IPA brewed and dryhopped with with Glacier Hops for big notes of Citrus and Pear! (Late January 2016)

Pop’s Hops #13 – Copper colored ale brewed and dry hopped with Citra and Sorachi Ace Hops (March 2016)

Pop Hops #14 –  (May 2016)

Pops Hops #15 – (August 2016)

Pops Hops #16 – An IPA brewed with rye for a subtle spice character and hopped with Citra and Chinook for fresh fruity characteristics. (November 2016)

Pops Hops #17 – A “New England Style” IPA with low bitterness and lots of late kettle and dry hops. Brewed with Jarrylo and Amarillo for a unique, juicy, citrus tea flavor.  This beer has many characteristics of southern fruit tea.  An inspiration for another seasonal brew! 7.5%abv  45IBU  (March 2017)

Briar Farmentation
These are ales fermented with our own farmhouse yeast strain captured from the surface of a green briar along the brewery driveway.  This special yeast strain imparts a heap of flavors including citrus, wood, lemongrass, clove, and bubblegum.  We love to offer our own takes on saisons using a variety of beer styles combined with this fermentation profile.

Pop’s Hops #8
Spring Weeds
Swimmin Hole Saison
1 Year Beer (brewed with clove, allspice, and sorachi ace hops)
Farm Dog
Farmentation Farmhouse Ale

Experimentals, Rare Releases, Collaborations, and One-Offs.  (Beers that were awesome but you probably can’t find because someone drank them all….)

Popcorn, a collaboration with Homebrewer Chris Suho, uses air-popped popcorn in the mash in place of traditional flaked corn, to create a cream ale that has a solid balanced flavor and finish. (One time release, May 2015….we may have to do this one again)

Southern Proper – Bourbon Barrel Aged Cottontown Brown (aged in a 25 gallon Tenn South Tennessee Whiskey Barrel) (One time release July 2015)

Elder – Swimmin Hole infused with a locally made spiced organic elderberry syrup. (One-time release July 2015)

Lunch Box – Brown ale with peanuts and natural concord grape flavor added.  Our highly coveted PB&J beer! (released randomly throughout the year!)

Queen Bee – a porter brewed with honey and rye.  A portion was used to fill the bourbon barrel for “Bourbon Bee”

Bourbon Bee – Collaboration with Broadway Liquors.  We aged our honey rye porter in a bourbon barrel that previously held bourbon for 10 years.  We kegged some and bottled (72) 22oz bottles.  (3-19-16) This was our first bottle release!

Rusty Roof Amber Ale – A balanced light bodied amber ale with biscuity malt flavors and subtle hop aromas.  The color was a beautiful rust amber like the barn roof across the field.  (one time release April 2016)

Batch 100 – A Sugar Cookie flavored Milk Stout!  To commemorate our 100th batch of beer, we brewed something a bit different.  We started with a batch of a basic milk stout recipe and added a Sugar Cookie flavor for a result that was unique and delicious.

Sweet Bean – Brown ale with natural Vanilla and Coffee added. (Released Jan 2017)

Unincorporated – The “Ungoverned Ale” is inspired by a hybrid of styles.  This beer is a take on a light colored ESB but with the addition of Oats, Wheat, and Rye, then generously hopped with German Hallertau hops.  The result meets no specific guidelines other than delicious.  (Brewed twice.  March 2016 Release, December 2016 Release)

Ole Red – Inspired from a beer that I really like from a brewery in East TN.  Ole Red is a simple grain bill, with a light balancing hop addition to focus on the malt flavors.  A well balanced ale and a good ole beer.  (November 2016)

Panther Scratch – A collaboration brew between BriarScratch and Panther Creek Brews in Murfreesboro.  This recipe was born in 2013 as a collaboration 10 gallon homebrew and shared with many folks.  This “India Style Brown Ale”  is all about in-your-face flavor.  The aroma is super juicy.  The flavor starts with strong caramel and roast, followed by a wave of tropical citrus and bitter orange, then back to a bittersweet chocolate.  This beer encompasses huge malt and hop characteristics from the use of flavorful specialty dark malts and Citra and Simcoe hops.  Upon fermentation the beer is double dry hopped 5 days apart. 7% abv  (February 2017)

Diggity – An American IPA brewed with a whole bunch of dank hops and fermented with a Vermont IPA yeast strain. a balanced bomb of light colored malts and pungent hops.  Some say it was diggity dank!

Batch 150 – our first strong beer since the change in the TN beer law!  An American Strong Ale with rich malt flavor and moderate hop bitterness.  A majority of this beer is resting in a Four Roses barrel.  Will be available in limited quantity in both draft and 750mL bottles in May 2017.

A little tidbit about beer

Beer is the oldest known beverage to mankind.  It is said in history that beer helped sustain life in many cases since it was the only safe beverage to consume.  Where water contained harmful bacteria, beer was safe due to the bacteria killing properties in fermentation.  Beer has been attributed to the development of our civilization and has many claims to fame throughout history.   Beer is traditionally brewed using 4 main ingredients.  Water, malt, hops, and yeast.

waterWater:  To make good beer you must first have good water.  If your water tastes funny, then that will carry over to the beer.  Fortunately, we have access to some of the best tasting water I’ve ever had right back on our little hillside.  This is the basis for how BriarScratch was born.  Our beers are brewed with pure, all natural filtered spring water from right here in the BriarScratch hollow of Cottontown, TN.  In the near future when we offer brewery tours, going back to the spring and tasting the water from the source will be a featured activity. *Due to State regulations, we are not yet using our spring water in our brews until we install a delivery and purification system.  Luckily we have great tap water from White House Utility District! Soon folks, soon the unaltered water will flow!

grain

7 varieties of grain for a 10 gallon batch of Oatmeal Stout

Malt:  The standard in beer is malted barley, with some styles also containing wheat, rye, or oats.  Corn and rice are also used by most commercial facilities to lighten body and flavor.  Malting is a process for grain which occurs at a “Malt House”  done by “Maltsters.”  The process is done by moistening the grain kernels and allowing them to sprout over several days.  This causes the seed to create natural starches which support the plant growth and make the seed grow into a nice healthy plant.  As soon as they sprout they are sent through a kilning process which terminates growth and the result is grain kernels that are full of natural sugars.  Different varieties of grain go through different kilning temperatures which change the flavor profile and color.  Beer gets its color from the grain that is used.  BriarScratch gets its grain fresh from quality malting facilities throughout the US.

hops

Amarillo hops almost ready for harvest

Hops:  Hops are a unique and magical plant variety.  They are flower cones which grow on a vine.  Hops are the foundation of balancing the sweetness of the malt by adding bitterness to the beer.  They also act as a natural preservative.  Hops are available in many varieties, over 100 available, each with their own flavor and bittering qualities.  Hops are added to the beer in different stages, resulting in bitterness, flavor, and aroma.  Different hop flavor and aroma profiles can range from earthy, spicy, and grassy, to floral, fruit, or evergreen-like. Certain hop strains are named after their native regions in which they are grown and harvested.  The hop and grain market have exploded in America with the rising demand for flavorful, craft beers.

Magnified view of budding yeast cells

Magnified view of budding yeast cells

Yeast:  Yeast is truly an amazing thing.  Yeast is a living organism which thrives on sugar and is the only organism which can function in conditions without oxygen.  Yeast is naturally occurring.  It is everywhere in the air all around us.  Most brewers yeast is manufactured in a lab under controlled environments but many brewers are now beginning to experiment with spontaneous fermentations.  Yeast is the workhorse of beer.  It contains billions of tiny critters which consume sugar and creates alcohol and carbon dioxide.  Brewers yeast comes in many different strains.  Each strain has its own fermentation characteristics and flavor profiles.  Without yeast there would be no beer!

“He was a wise man who invented beer” -Plato