NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — There’s a craft brewery in Nashville that specializes in beer-making — the German way!
The head brewer at Little Harpeth Brewing looks to the European tradition when making his lagers and beers with the goal of making a beverage that you’ll want to have more than one of!
Brie Thiele takes us behind the scenes to find out what sets Little Harpeth Brewing apart.
“It’s probably gonna get a little steamy on your lens, it’s about 170 degrees in there. Yeah, so this is full of the grain and water and we’re separating the liquid from that and then after we’re done with the grain, it’ll be completely dry and a farmer comes and picks it up, feeds it to his cows,” said Head Brewer Spencer Longhurst when News 2 came to tour his facility.
In the German-style of beer-making, nothing goes unused.
“This is what we call the brew house, everything starts right here, so up here all of our grain gets milled, comes into this grist case, the grist hopper up here and then we transfer it over here into one of our two mash tons where we mix the grain with hot water, that’s called the mash. In there is an enzyme conversion that’s turning all the starch and the grain into sugars that the yeast will then ferment out and turn into alcohol so when I was mentioning earlier that we have a unique feature where we can do the German-style concoctions. we actually have two steam-heated mash mixers so we can transfer portions of the mash from one to the other and heat that up to a boil, then push it back to the main mash, raising that main mashes temperature. And that speeds up the beer making process? It speeds along the mashing process and provides us with an interesting character that you can’t really replicate without it,” explained Longhurst.
Longhurst has been making beer for seven years, but when he became the head brewer at Little Harpeth, he had to learn a new approach that creates craft beer that’s easy to drink and refreshing.
“We want you to have more than one, four or five of them,” said Longhurst.
Which is perfect for those hot summer days.
“We then take the mash into this one, this is called the lauter tun, that’s a German term.
Inside the lauter tun, the solids get separated from the liquids creating a sugary, grain-flavored liquid, which is the bedrock of Little Harpeth’s beers.
Their most popular is a craft beverage called Chicken Scratch and it is a must-try!
“Something like Chicken Scratch, which is an 11 plato beer, that’s 11 weeks it takes us to produce that. Right now, we have beer in the tank that’s a dopplebach, it’s a 19 plato beer so it’s a higher gravity, it’s gonna finish at about 9% alcohol, that’s gonna be about 19 weeks by the time we’re ready to package it.
Basically, the higher the percentage of alcohol, the longer it takes.
The end product is a range of beers that are super fresh and flying off the shelves.
Little Harpeth puts every last drop into what they’re making.
“We put a lot of time and effort into it for people to slam it real quick,” said Longhurst.