Beer Name: Gerst
Brewery: Yazoo Brewing Company
Style: Amber Ale
Food Pairing: Summer grilling
Appearance: Warm golden maize hue with a crisp and well-structured head
Aroma: Bready with a hint of malt and herbal notes
Where to Find It: Yazoo Brewery, Nashville area grocery stores, bars, and restaurants
Lately I’ve been feeling a little nostalgic. Maybe it’s because NATIVE is turning six this month, or maybe it’s because I’ve had some family in town. Regardless of the reason, I knew I wanted to pick something classic for my “Beer from Here” write-up this month—something that hearkened back to Nashville’s history while nodding to its future.
I couldn’t think of a better fit than Yazoo’s Gerst. A little history: from 1893 to 1954, The William Gerst Brewing Company operated out of a massive brewery off 6th Avenue South. In addition to being a master brewer (he descended from a long line of Bavarian brewers), Gerst was also a master marketer. This was a man who was passionate about making beautiful items that were not only unique to his brewery but unique to Nashville. Etched glassware, lithographs, wall calendars—you name it, Gerst made it.
Fast forward to 2011, one year before NATIVE began. In a partnership with the Chandler family (owners of the now-shuttered Gerst Haus restaurant), Yazoo founder Linus Hall brings Gerst back to Nashville. The amber-ale hybrid is reconstructed using descriptions from the period, and the label pays homage to the wonderful branding that became Mr. Gerst’s calling card.
Every time I think of William Gerst, I can’t help but get inspired. He poured his heart and soul into creating a timeless Nashville product, and he made sure that product was accompanied by beautiful, clever branding that was a little different—a little off-center. Even though we’re only six, I hope NATIVE can one day become as enduring and distinct as the Gerst.
This beer pairs with just about any food—seriously it’s a shape-shifter that seems to complement everything—but I recommend enjoying it with some summer grilling fare. The clean, malty notes and light, balanced finish pair perfectly with grilled salmon and/or veggies. Plus, what’s better than celebrating Nashville history while barbecuing with your friends?