If you love sampling local craft beers, we have the perfect event for you to attend! The Main Street Brew Fest in Franklin, Tennessee is an annual event that takes place in March every year and offers visitors the opportunity to sample some of the finest local brews. For those of you that are not particularly fond of craft beer, don’t worry as there are plenty of alternative beverages available, including flavored cider and even sparkling water with a slight kick!
Franklin is a town located just south of Nashville but despite its relatively small size in comparison to the nearby Music City, it certainly offers a myriad of amazing experiences that will help justify a visit here. When you throw in an annual event like the Main Street Brew Fest, it’s an ideal way to explore Franklin for a weekend getaway!
Did you read our post on the top things to do in Franklin? If not, Franklin is renowned for being a historic location in the American Civil War. Visitors to Franklin today have the opportunity to experience a variety of civil war sites located in and around the town but even if American history doesn’t really spark your interest, there is plenty more to do here.
We want to focus on a very different experience in this beautiful part of Tennessee – the Main Street Brew Fest where you can sample as many craft beers as you wish. Let’s take a look at what we now consider to be the best event in March! Forget March Madness and instead head to Franklin to enjoy the festivities.
14th Annual Main Street Brew Fest
Our visit to Franklin gave us the opportunity to experience the 14th Annual Main Street Brew Fest event that takes place in the heart of downtown. Every year, the Downtown Franklin Association offers visitors from around the state and further afield (we drove in from Arkansas but I can only assume there are folks that traveled much further for this awesome event!) the chance to sample some of the best local, national and international brews.
Tickets were available for $55 if you purchased online or $65 if you opted to purchase on the day of the event. These prices are subject to change each year so be sure to check out the Downtown Franklin Association website for the latest prices. This may sound a little expensive but when you realize that you can sample as many of these brews as you want, it’s actually a pretty good deal.
The beauty of this event is that it takes place regardless of the weather! We actually experienced a few light snow flurries during the morning and even into the evening as we eagerly anticipated the start of the event. Parking is relatively easy with a large parking garage located in the heart of the downtown area and just a short walk from the main square where the Main Street Brew Fest was taking place.
Check-in is available at the local City Hall where you are given a small glass commemorating your participation in the event and of course, to sample the fine variety of brews. 80+ craft beers are available from over 35 different vendors from Franklin and beyond.
Tents are set up throughout ‘The Square’ and for 3 hours (5:00 PM – 8:00 PM), beer lovers can wander around and sample these delicious brews.
I’m convinced that if you take part in this event, you will likely stumble across at least one or two brews that you will LOVE! Heather is not a huge fan of IPA’s or craft beers but she was able to find several that she loved.
The Best Craft Beers in Franklin
Although the focus on the Main Street Brew Fest event is local vendors showcasing their best craft beers, there are a number of brews from further afield that you may already be familiar with.
For those of you that are familiar with Icelandic beer, Einstock was present offering a fine ale and porter. It’s really not for that prefer a lighter brew but this unique taste is definitely worth sampling.
There is no place like Iceland. There is no brewery like Einstök.
Located 60 miles south of the Arctic Circle in the fishing port of Akureyri, Iceland, I am sure that many locals were intrigued to sample the distinctive taste of these craft brews.
Hap and Harry’s was one of the first tents we visited and this was definitely one of our favorites.
Renowned as producing fine craft beers that help folks revisit times when local breweries created the finest brews rather than competing with global conglomerates that they are faced with today.
Louisville’s Goodwood tent was a popular spot at the event given the hint of bourbon that is mixed into their beverages.
Both the Louisville Lager and Walnut Brown Ale were two of my favorites but I think the combination of beer and bourbon was a little too much for Heather’s tastebuds.
Asgard Brewing Company probably had the most innovative sampling experience.
Their van had taps connected to the side making it easy for them to provide samples. Conveniently located next to the Einstock tent, Asgard is another brand with an Icelandic heritage.
Asgard Brewery brings the cool, smooth beers of the Icelandic region to the Middle Tennessee area.
Looking for Beer Alternatives?
As I mentioned earlier, if beer just isn’t your thing, there are plenty of alternatives waiting to be discovered at the Main Street Brew Fest.
Flavored cider may not sound the most appealing beverage but after sampling a few alternatives courtesy of Woodchuck and Ace Cider, we can attest that adding a different flavor such as pear or pineapple works really well.
How does Pomegranate Ginger sparkling water sound? We were intrigued to visit the Press tent to sample some of this alcoholic water and we both have to admit that we were pleasantly surprised at just how refreshing this was.
Succulent superfruit with a snap of fresh ginger
I can certainly imagine drinking one of these on a hot summer’s day. It may not sound like the best combination but it works!
How about the sound of a delicious root beer? Head over to the Abita tent and sample some of their beverages that are flavored with pure Louisiana cane sugar. The goal is to create a root beer that has a typical flavor of a drink from the 1940s or 1950s before bottlers turned to corn sugar and fructose.
While Heather was sipping one of these root beers, I couldn’t resist the taste of the Sweet Orange Lager. If you love the taste of adding an orange slice to a Blue Moon or Shock Top, the taste and aroma of this lager will certainly make you want to purchase a case or two!
Enjoy Live Entertainment
The Main Street Brew Fest in Franklin is more than just an excuse to drink a variety of beers. The event offers live entertainment and this year we were entertained by Boomerang, a local band that rocked out 60s and 70s tributes all night to keep everyone warm despite the chilly conditions.
Whether you are looking to put on your dancing shoes and rock to your favorite artists from the rock n’ roll era or just enjoy a few beers with your friends while listening to this lively entertainment, the Main Street Brew Fest event is definitely the place to be.
Devour Tasty Cuisine
With all the alcohol around Franklin’s Square, I am sure that you will need a little nourishment to accompany your favorite brews.
Three different food trucks offered a variety of delicious cuisine options, ranging from local southern fare to typical Tennessee barbecue.
Music City Brisket, Puckett’s and Califarmia were the food trucks present and I have to admit that all of these were tempting. The finest brisket in Nashville was perhaps the most intriguing but I don’t think you could go wrong with any of the menus available.
The beauty of having the Main Street Brew Fest in such a central location meant that the plethora of downtown restaurants available was just a short walk away. From local pizza joints to an Irish pub, historic downtown Franklin is the place to be for “foodies” looking to sample some fine Tennessee cuisine.
It’s fair to say that we had an absolute blast at Franklin’s Main Street Brew Fest. This was our first experience at this event and we are already excited about returning next year to celebrate the 15th anniversary of this awesome festival.
I think it’s more appropriate to refer to this as a “festival” because it feels more than just a ‘one-off’ event as you are able to interact with the local breweries and find out where you can purchase these awesome brews.
We definitely fell in love with several of these craft beers and look forward to sampling them throughout the next 12 months as we eagerly anticipate any new concoctions that these brands create.
Be sure to grab a commemorative t-shirt before leaving the event! I’m sure it will help bring back awesome memories from your experience.
Hopefully, after reading this post you will feel inspired to take a trip to Franklin next year for the 15th Main Street Brew Fest. If you can’t wait until March, be sure to visit many of the local breweries in the Franklin area and be prepared to purchase several to take home with you!
Have you experienced a beer sampling event or a “Brew Fest” before? Do you have a preference over craft beers, cider, IPA’s or another brew?
Disclaimer – We would like to thank Visit Franklin for hosting us on this trip. These are solely our personal opinions/experiences and we were not financially compensated for this post.