We're drinking the flagship craft beer from every state in the Union, counting down from 50-1, to find which is home to the President of Beers.
#38 Dos Perros: Yazoo Brewing Co., Nashville, Tennessee
State: This long, thin stretch of land bridging the gap between the Deep South, the Midwest, and the Appalachian backwoods is the center of the country music industry and, considered by some, the birthplace of the blues. Hard as it may be to believe, Isaac Hayes, the Allman Brothers and Hannah Montana all hail from the same state.
Brewery: Founded in 2003, Yazoo Brewing Co. has played witness to a whirlwind of changes as the state gradually embraced brewing. Yazoo became the first brewery in Tennessee to open a distillery in 2010, allowing it to make high alcohol beer.
Beer: Based on an Austrian-by-way-of-Mexico recipe, Dos Perros’ meager 3.5 percent alcohol is a relic of Tennessee’s old beer laws.
Difficulty of obtaining in Oregon: Very difficult. Yazoo does not distribute outside the state and stores there are not allowed to ship beer.
PHOTO: Cameron Browne
Corny is the first word that comes to mind after a sip of Dos Perros. That’s because Yazoo adds a small portion of maize to lighten the body of this brown ale. It’s a Mexican recipe, after all. The corn works with the chocolate malts to create a rich and sweet flavor that lasts long after you finished your beer. The low alcohol and bitterness make for a refreshing, muted beer that would go well mole enchiladas. At least, I assume so. Negra Modelo goes well with mole enchiladas, and Dos Perros is like that beer’s heavyset younger brother. Might go well with a lime, too.
To fully understand why Dos Perros, the state’s flagship beer, is the way it is, you must delve into the convoluted mess that are Tennessee’s beer and alcohol laws. Grocery stores and the like can sell beer with no more than 5 percent ABV. In 2011, it became legal to brew “high alcohol beer,” defined as having an between 5 percent and 20 percent alcohol by volume, provided your brewery also had a distillery. High alcohol beer can only be sold in liquor stores.
Tennessee as a whole has had a fairly odd reaction to the rise of craft brewing across the country. Aside from the aforementioned distillery law, there was an amendment— thankfully removed before it passed—that would have limited the production of high alcohol beer to three “pilot programs” in an attempt to lure Sierra Nevada east by essentially giving it a third of the state. There is a law currently making its rounds through the state legislature that would force private enterprises make an unstated limit on how much high alcohol beer—not all alcohol, just beer—that it could sell to a single customer.
Tennessee whiskey is an institution. There’s no denying it. In fact, I love it. But it has a far higher alcohol content and hasn’t had to jump through nearly as many hoops as Tennessee legislators are forcing its nascent beer industry through.
Nashville may be national headquarters of country music. It ain’t hard to find a bunch of country songs about Jack Daniel’s, but last time I checked, most of those artists weren’t even from Tennessee—probably why they prefer Jack Daniel's to George Dickel.
And it doesn’t get any better when you move onto songs about beer. Georgian transplant and current Nashville resident, Billy Currington, included the line “I love my Bud Light®” in his popular tune “Pretty Good at Drinkin’ Beer.” The Budweiser® Clydesdales ran through the streets of Nashville during the totally not redundant Country Music Awards Music Festival earlier this year. Headlining the event were noted Coors Light® fans Rascal Flatts and Miller Lite® mouthpiece Luke Bryan.
Aside from being sponsored by shitty beer, these artists all have one thing in common: they aren’t Tennesseans. What’s the matter with supporting your own state’s brewing industry, Tennessee?
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