We had the opportunity to spend Christmas in Chattanooga, TN this year. As usual, we stayed at a budget hotel slightly outside of downtown, but still walkable. We’ve been through Chattanooga and eaten at The Terminal Brewhouse before, but had not done a detailed exploration of the area’s breweries. Here is our review. Tl;dr – good food, beer needs work.
Three levels of seating surrounding a well of brewing right near the old Chattanooga Choo Choo makes for a stellar setting. Dinner is often crowded without being mobbed. We have always found the food here terrific, and this visit was no exception. We felt they MUST have gotten their taps switched somehow, though, because they poured what they called a Scottish but what we could swear was a Maibock. The rest of their lineup is fine, but not remarkable.
Big River Brewing
Closer to the downtown river area, this spot seems largely a destination for tourists. This doesn’t make it necessarily bad. A broad lineup of 9 beers, they were fairly true to style. There was nothing which really grabbed our attention, no standouts which we would really want a pint of. The food was quite impressive.
This was probably our favourite spot in Chattanooga. Very close to the hotel, right across from the baseball stadium, and near an up-and-coming part of the town. Housed in a brewery which was closed down during prohibition, they have a nice lineup and a stand out Dunkelweis and Ginger Wit.
Supposedly a local little Irish pub which brews its own, our plan was for us to have a couple of pints, me drop off Susan at Mass, and then go back to the pub for some more pints. All of the beer tasted slightly infected. Incredibly, they allowed smoking in the bar area, which further messed up our palates. We had one pint each and made a quick exit. Do not go.
Moccasin Bend Brewing Co
Located in a cool basement space with exposed stone and brick, this quiet tucked out of the way brewery seemed very promising. Unfortunately, most of the beers we tried had remarkable flaws in terms of off flavors. Their Belgian Trippel had a ton of fusel alcohols and others were infected or oxidized. They have since closed their doors.
Although there are a lot of breweries in and around Chattanooga, it seems like they have a little ways to go before I would suggest people make it a destination for good beer. Head over to nearby Asheville or, our favourite place in Tennessee, Blackhorse Pub in Clarkesville!