Sometimes it pays to go off the beaten path. For those of us who seem to be keeping I-40 hot between three of Tennessee’s major cities, the interstate fare between those places can be uninspiring at best. If you’re willing to go a little further than the ring of amenities at the exit, I can promise a better meal than anything you’d get at a fast food joint.

The Pour House Bistro + Wine Bar  in Crossville offers a warm welcome to locals and the road weary alike. Sally Yap and Dustin and Beka Mullinax opened the bistro in December 2014 with a menu that pulls inspiration from a variety of places on the map. The best burger in town takes pride of place next to shrimp and grits and a trio of tacos. Sushi is also available at dinner Thursday through Saturday. Crossville is full of surprises.IMG_1079

Don’t let the name fool you. Though there is an impressive wine list, the Pour House offers an equally impressive number of beers on tap, including at least four options from Calfkiller Brewing Company in Sparta, Tennessee. Check the daily specials on the wall-sized chalk menu when you come in. They often feature one of the beers on tap in the recipe.

The day we visited the soup of the day was a black bean chili made with Calfkiller’s J. Henry Original Mild. There was some debate between the husband and me if perhaps the chili was better than mine, made with my dad’s recipe. Thankfully, the discussion moved on to the beer cheese burger special. The burger is served on a sour dough bun with a beer cheese sauce made with Calfkiller’s Deadhorse and is definitely worth the detour.

Special Kind of Evil

Special Kind of Evil

Pours rotate with availability but on our visit, Calfkiller’s Grassroots, Crack Rabbit, J. Henry, and Special Kind of Evil were on tap. They were adding a tap of Late Harvest Provender from VonSeitz Theoreticales  distributed through Calfkiller. The Pour House is one of a handful of Middle Tennessee locations where you can try a Theoreticales brew on tap. They also have the Shagbark available in bottles.

We had the great good fortune to share our lunchtime visit with Jay Henry on his Calfkiller rounds. We were gifted a bag of Calfkiller coffee, roasted onsite at the brewery for use in brewing and for drinking when caffeine might take precedence. It’s available in the gift shop at the brewery and a few select locations, if you need a fix.

Once you’ve taken the detour for lunch at the Pour House, you’re less than a half hour from Calfkiller. The gift shop is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and tours are available by appointment on Saturdays.

You can make a mini, beer vacation day of it by exploring the local caves or taking a float down the Calfkiller River in warmer weather. Whatever work you were heading for in Knoxville or Nashville can wait.

The Pour House Bistro + Wine Bar
1269 West Avenue
Suite 102
Crossville, TN
Phone: 931-456-0066
Monday – Wednesday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Thursday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Closed on Sunday

Calfkiller Brewing Company
1839 Blue Springs Road
Sparta, TN
Phone: 931-739-BEER
Gift shop and growler fill hours:
Monday to Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Saturday tours by appointment
Closed on Sunday

Contributed by Victoria Raschke Photographed by Keifel Agostini