The Food Biz: Extra suds

Downtown beer options expand with Tennessee Brew Works

A new microbrewery is gearing up to open this spring in SoBro. Tennessee Brew Works is in a former printing warehouse at Ewing Avenue and Fogg Street downtown. That location puts it not only a stone’s throw from the upcoming Music City Center, but also just blocks from two other local craft breweries, Jackalope and Yazoo.

Christian Spears, who is launching Tennessee Brew Works with his longtime friend Garr Schwartz, said they’re big fans of those establishments and joke that they’re creating a new “brewers’ row” in downtown Nashville.

Schwartz has been an amateur brewer for quite a while. His buddy Spears was so impressed by the product that he started pressing his friend to turn his hobby into a business. “Finally he said, ‘I’ll do it if you will,’ ” Spears recalled, laughing.

The two are experienced finance guys — they met working at Lehman Brothers in New York several years ago (before the company’s collapse). Schwartz eventually moved back to his hometown, Nashville, and Spears took time off to travel and work with charities in Guatemala and India. Spears moved to Nashville a couple years ago to team up with his friend and launch Tennessee Brew Works. “We’re crazy,” Spears said with a laugh. “And holy crap, it seems to be working. The beer is that good.”

Working in his garage in Franklin, Schwartz has created 12 different brews, which Spears said will be winnowed to five or six for launch, all ales. The team is getting ready to install a new commercial brewing system, which Spears describes as “cutting-edge” with “incredible efficiency.”

The space at 809 Ewing Ave. is large: 21,000 square feet, with 20-foot ceilings. Tennessee Brew Works’ emphasis will be on making brews for restaurants and bars, but Spears said they’re also carving out about 3,000 square feet for a taproom, which will operate with limited hours, 4 to 8 p.m. a few days a week.

The taproom will offer a small slate of cheese plates and snacks, but Spears said they plan to host restaurants for special dinners, along with food trucks. They’ll also fill growlers.Eventually, they hope to bottle their product for distribution in Nashville and around the state.

Spears said the team is aiming for a soft opening for the taproom around the end of April. You can follow TNBrew on Facebook for updates.

• Over in the Melrose neighborhood, there’s been another expansion of Nashville’s craft brew options. The aptly named Craft Brewed Nashville kicked off a soft opening a couple weeks ago in the former dry cleaners at 2502 Franklin Pike. My Scene colleague Chris Chamberlain checked it out and reports that the business is unusual in that it has both on- and off-premise licenses, representing two identities: a retail shop where you can fill up your growlers from a lineup of 21 taps, but also a tasting room where you can try a pint. (That’s why Craft Brewed is subtitled “Bottle Shop and Tasting Room.”)

Craft Brewed also caters to beer hobbyists with a selection of home-brew supplies for sale, and there’s even a classroom space for educational seminars. Watch craftbrewednash on Facebook for word on upcoming developments, like when they add high-gravity beers and throw their official opening party.

• Fans of chef Arnold Myint are eager for details on the new restaurant he is planning to replace Cha Chah, which he closed at the end of 2012.

Last week Myint revealed the name: blvd Nashville. Myint, who is both owner and executive chef, is working with chef de cuisine Francesco Vito to craft the new menu.

“Lunch service is casual — guests order at the counter and have the option to grab pre-made sandwiches and salads to go, or they can be seated for table-side service,” Myint said in a release. “Dinner offers a full menu that includes a broad selection of soups, salads, sandwiches and entrees.”

No word yet on when the little house at 2013 Belmont Blvd. will reopen in its revamped form.