As with most things that some view as “trendy”, the art of making and enjoying small batch and craft beer has been around for decades. Much like the cigar boom of the 90’s, people are starting to pay particular attention to craft brewing and it’s popularity…and as a result we have the pleasure of benefiting from even more innovative companies and creative blends that are helping to shape and contribute to the artisan culture here in Nashville.

There are pockets of the city where visitors and residents alike can experience the true craftsmanship and creativity of the South. Many of these crafts are unique in their own right, but some of them go together like a hand and a glove. Like peanut butter and jelly. Like craft beers and cigars. Lucky for us, there are plenty of those last two in Nashville to choose from, and some that are exclusive only to patrons of this great state!

I traveled around the corner from my house to Southern Grist Brewing Company of Nashville, TN. Opening early 2016 and founded by three Nashville transplants who bonded due to their passion for making (and drinking) craft beer, this poppin’ East Nashville spot on Porter Road has a little something for everyone. Unique beer isn’t the only thing on the menu, as patrons can fill up on appetizers from 312 Pizza or they are welcome to bring their own food as the owners just want to make sure everyone that walks in is comfortable and happy. Because what makes me happy is enjoying a great drink with a great cigar, I perused the large chalkboard menu hanging over the bar and decided on the Bean There, Brown That (BTBT); which turned out to be a refreshing brown ale with some mellow sweet and nutty notes. As they prepared my “crowler” (a 32 oz. can that was filled from the draft) directly in front of me, co-owner Jared Welch told me that this was definitely the one that he’d pair with a cigar!

Seeking to find a cigar would pair well with the BTBT, I immediately thought of a cigar that that offered many of the same sugary, buttery and robust tasting notes that awaited me inside my crowler. The Volunteer State exclusive Tennessee Waltz cigar from Crowned Heads, a Nashville-based artisan cigar company, came to mind. The TN Waltz is a cigar that was inspired by the song of the same name, as it was playing in the dance hall when Crowned Heads founder Jon Huber’s grandparents met one another for the first time. Much like the BTBT, the TN Waltz is blended with Tennesseans in mind and can only be found here in the state.


When pairing a beverage with a cigar it’s important not to have one that overpowers the other. Keeping in mind that the wrapper of the cigar will account for a majority of the flavors that you taste, it’s suggested that the notes of the beverage and the cigar somewhat “match” one other. If one is new to either craft beers or cigars, I’d suggest first selecting the one that you’re most comfortable with and then finding the complimenting item. Most importantly, I always say that the best thing to pair with your cigar is whatever drink you enjoy the most as all tastes and palates are different and “what’s good” is subjective. A basic rule of thumb; however, is lighter beer, lighter cigar…dark beer, darker cigar.

The Bean There, Brown That is medium-dark ale, nutty with creamy notes and a citrus, non-lingering finish, which makes it perfect for pairing. The darkest beer on the Southern Grist menu, it is made with vanilla beans and is blended to appeal to those that enjoy semi-sweet and chocolately craft beer. And because we love our sweet things here in the south, it’s fitting that we are able to get our fix by way of an artisan beer. The creaminess is extremely pleasant, and unlike the stereotypical darker beer, the BTBT is smooth and medium-bodied enough to enjoy all times of the day and in any setting. Additional tasting notes for the Bean There, Brown That include baking spice, vanilla, nuts and milk cream.

The Tennessee Waltz is a sweet and spicy creation of it’s own. This Nicaraguan filled Connecticut Broadleaf wrapped cigar is just as dark as the BTBT and every bit as complex and sweet. You immediately taste the brown sugar and sorghum notes once it’s lit, and some black pepper and butter notes on the retrohale (when the cigar smoke is blown through the nose). The sugary smoke of the Waltz matches perfectly with the richness of the BTBT as they seem to have had each other in mind when they were brewed and blended, though created thousands of miles apart. Additional tasting notes for the Tennessee Waltz include caramel, cocoa, brown sugar, butter and black pepper.

From start to end there is a great balance between the Tennessee Waltz and the Bean There, Done That. The nearly hour and a half it takes to enjoy the Waltz gives ample time for the BTBT to slowly settle on the palate allowing one to pick up every note and nuance. These two are definitely a couple of the best things artisan creations coming out of Middle Tennessee. You can find the Southern Grist Brewing Company at 1201 Porter Road and a Tennessee Waltz cigar in any Tennessee retail humidor.

Tennessee Waltzine with Southern Grist Brewing Co.
Written by Justin Harris | Photography by Sean von Tagan