Hi, I'm Jay. 
And I like beer, too. 1

“As a matter of fact, I like beer.”

—-Tom T. Hall

Yes, it’s true. I like beer. A lot. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to do a bit of traveling and have enjoyed local brews on four continents and a few islands, too. Though we may have been playing catch-up to Germany and Belgium, I can honestly say that the American craft brew scene is my favorite in the world. And those looking for a fantastic taste of great American brews need look no further than right here in Middle Tennessee.

When I first moved back to Nashville five years ago (after more than 20 years away), I was disappointed to discover that there were only a handful of breweries in the area. Luckily, that disappointment didn’t last long as our brewery scene has exploded, along with our food, entertainment and culture in general. As this magazine goes to print, we have over 20 to choose from in Williamson and Davidson County alone!

For this month’s beer article, I had the “difficult” task of visiting all of the open taprooms in town and I made it my mission to try each and every local beer I could get my hands on. It was a grueling job as you might imagine, but someone had to do it.

In my research, I was fortunate enough to sit down with the folks that make, serve and love the beer. The passion and enthusiasm for their craft is evident in each and every can, bottle and keg. I listened to them speak with pride about our people, our brewery scene and our area as a whole. Not once did I hear someone say anything disparaging about their competition. Each brewery has its own specialties, its own personalities and its own unique character. My odyssey around town made me remember why I fell in love with craft beer in the first place.

A few years ago, I was sitting in a small craft beer bar in Seattle, and I took a sip of a magical beer that practically knocked me off my feet. It was a one-time IPA from a small brewery and it remains the best beer I have ever had. Since that day, I’ve been searching high and low for an experience to match it. Something tells me that I’m going to discover it right here in Middle Tennessee. The next great American hop-spot and a place I’m proud to call my home.

JAY WILKE

jayswilke@aol.com