“Cultivate Variety” is the mantra of Nashville, Tennessee's Bearded Iris Brewing.
I found myself in the brewery’s Germantown taproom just a couple hours after I’d touched down at Nashville International Airport. It was hot and sticky inside the very-industrial-and-yet-somehow-cozy warehouse space. The late afternoon heat was bolstered within by the large crowd of brewers who had gathered, all of them visiting town for the Craft Brewers Conference.
With a little luck on my side I snagged the last remaining seat at the bar and ordered a pint of Homestyle, the brewery’s house IPA. I enjoyed its bright, refreshing qualities of mango and cantaloupe, indulging in some light conversation with those sat around me while considering my next choice. Whatever I did choose would have to be an IPA, however, because that was as much variety as was being cultivated at the moment. Of course, as those who know me would understand, I was happy with this situation.
But as I worked my way through the list, I discovered a complex range of differing flavors, one beer serving up a piña colada burst of pineapple and coconut while another boasted vibrant tangerine and apricot overtones. At a time when IPA dominates tap lists, scratching beneath the surface a bit can yield surprising and enjoyable rewards. It's nice to remember that variety comes in different varieties, too.