As craft beer has grown in the Southeast, Nashville has witnessed exponential growth of microbreweries across the city. The growth has spread so far that breweries are sprouting up in the suburbs like Mill Creek Brewing Company, which is located approximately 20 miles south of downtown Nashville. Located on the banks of Mill Creek (hence the brewery’s name), founder and former guitar teacher Chris Going wanted to open a brewery that focused on approachable beers for the average beer drinker. Driving up to the brewery also evokes an approachable feeling with its attractive rusted sign.
Even the entrance to the brewery appears quite approachable with glass doors that allow visitors to see the activity inside the taproom.
As evidenced from the photo outside the entrance, the bar and the friendly bartenders immediately greet visitors to the taproom.
Immediately behind the bar was the merchandise stand, which offered many staples people come to expect when visiting a brewery.
By far the most unique thing at the brewery was the food truck. Food trucks are a staple when visiting breweries because many do not sell food and having a food truck allows people to eat and potentially stay longer. That’s not unique at Mill Creek. What is unique about the food truck is its location…
The food truck at Mill Creek is inside the brewery! In September 2017, Chago’s Cantina partnered with the brewery to open a dedicated location at the brewery. Chago’s is a Mexican/Latin American eatery in the Belmont Hillsboro area of Nashville, but the food truck at the brewery offers a slightly pared down menu. However, considering that the brewery is not immediately near any eateries the food truck is a great option for visitors.
So what do visitors see when they sit down to drink, assuming they don’t just sit at the bar. Visitors get to enjoy a taproom in a massively expansive industrial building.
Although the tables in the seating area hold in excess of 50 people, there is plenty of space to add more seating or to rearrange seating for other events like corn hole. The bar has another dozen or so seats, so seating at Mill Creek is unlikely to be an issue.
Behind the bar is something that visitors don’t typically find at taprooms…
The brewery has a large cooler behind the bar, so visitors can purchase a six-pack to take home or get their traditional growler filled with beer on tap. My wife Katie and I opted to pick up a sixer of SunSplash, which is a seasonal tart fruit beer. There are three varieties in the six-pack: coconut, pineapple, and strawberry.
Mill Creek also has an informational sheet detailing its four core beers.
Even seasoned craft beer drinkers have to appreciate the fact sheet. In particular, I appreciated reading about all the flavors added to the beer. For example, while I can detect the orange peel notes, I was unaware of the coriander in Lil Darlin. I also like seeing these fact sheets at breweries because it allows novice craft beer drinkers to expand their knowledge without the potential awkwardness of asking the bartender about each beer.
Elaborating on the beer, I had tried three of the four core beers when Mill Creek expanded its distribution to Alabama earlier in the year. So I only ordered two beers: Oktoberfest and Woodshed. Woodshed is a session IPA with a pretty mild hop profile. I’m not typically an IPA drinker, but really enjoyed this beer because it wasn’t super hoppy. I expected to like the Oktoberfest because I generally enjoy maltier beers, and especially like drinking German-style brews. It was precisely what I expected, and very enjoyable.
Back to the taproom and the brewing facility…
The brewery occupies a huge space, so it’s easy to see the brewing facility and all the areas used for storage. For example, the company stacks pallets of can just behind the food truck. So visitors can see the packaging used for Landmark, Silo, and Woodshed while exploring a bit of the facility. Naturally, people can see the fermentation tanks and other equipment used in the beer-making process. I did not ask for a tour nor did I explore extensively, but I enjoyed the setup of the taproom.
In the Metro Nashville beer scene, Mill Creek Brewing’s taproom is farther out from most of the touristy spots. So if you’re going to visit, you have to plan accordingly. It is not near other breweries, so you are unlikely to stumble upon it while in Nashville. However, the taproom has a great amenity that many breweries do not offer: a dedicated food truck on site. It certainly helps that the food truck is affiliated with a well-known area restaurant, too. So if you’re exploring South Nashville, it is worth the drive to Nolensville to check out Mill Creek Brewing.