Review Date 1/29/2012
Just this past weekend, I happened to find myself in Franklin, Tennessee for my stepdaughter’s wedding. Franklin is just outside Nashville and about three and a half hours drive from my home. Rather than travel the winding mountain roads of Interstate 24 at night, we decided to spend the night in Franklin. In search of an evening repast, we stopped at the nearby Cool Springs Brewery for dinner and a few beers.
Cool Springs had five beers on tap, and I decided to order the sampler to try them all. I would enjoy them with dinner, and pick the best of the five to take back to the hotel. I can do this because growlers are legal in Tennessee, and for $16 you could get a full 64 ounces of any of the Cool Springs beers. Should you happen to bring your own growler bottle with you, you can get it filled for just $11.
The beers I sampled were a delicate malty Kolsch style brew called Franklin’s First, a light and crackery Hefeweizen with hints of banana and clove, the roasty, minty finished Centennial Stout, a disappointing reddish brew called Fat Back Amber, and the one that filled my growler, Pecker Wrecker India Pale Ale. All of the beers I tasted here save the Amber were decent enough, if not exceptional.
The food was on par with the beer, OK, but nothing to write home about. Everything is in the Italian theme, mostly pizzas, subs, salads, and pasta. We ordered an appetizer of Bruschetta to start ($6.95), which was disappointing. Five slices of Italian bread were covered with pesto, cheese, and sliced tomato. The first problem was the bread, it had the texture of something picked up at the supermarket, and was certainly not of restaurant quality. Then too, it was cold, the cheese was visibly not melted and the bread not even lightly toasted. We sent it back and got a puzzled look from our server; more annoying yet was the shake of the head from the cook attending the oven.
We decided to split a Stromboli ($9.99) as well. We order these frequently at Brooklyn Joe’s here in Canton and one is always more than we can eat when complemented by a few salads. Cool Springs Stromboli arrived hot and gooey with parmesan, mozzarella and provolone cheese. You get to add one ingredient at no extra charge; we chose ham, and paid an additional $1 to add black olives as well. The ham was chunky and of moderate quality to my tastes. I certainly expected better in the midst of ham country. Otherwise the Stromboli was acceptable and came with a tangy marinara sauce that we enjoyed.
OK, you say, enough about the food, how about the beer? Here’s how the brewery describes their Pecker Wrecker IPA:
Brewed in the style of an India Pale Ale, a “dry hopping” technique is used where generous amounts of hops are added to the beer during its maturation stage which gives the beer an unmistakable floral and citrusy aroma. This beer is also known for its firm hop bitterness which is balanced nicely by the sweetness of the crystal malts used in this recipe.
Pecker Wrecker India Pale Ale is by no means a huge beer, though it does pack a good dose of resiny, piney hop aroma and flavor. It comes in at 6.2% alcohol by volume and, I think, is better described as a hoppy American Pale Ale than a true IPA. Perhaps it lies somewhere in between. Back at the hotel, I enjoyed four pints from my growler cool, but not cold. The beer was bright orange amber in color with a thick creamy head formation and vibrant resiny hop nose.
A moderate amount of caramel tasting malt is the first thing one gets upon sipping, quickly followed by very piney, resiny hop aroma that intensifies into the finish. A lingering bitterness is definitely noticeable, though not overpowering.
All in all, I liked this beer well enough. While I can’t say that I would choose to dine again at Cool Springs if I were in the area again, I would check out their beers for anything new. And I’d be more than happy to refill my growler with Pecker Wrecker IPA.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.