A visit to the High Cotton taproom

Saturday afternoon I was sitting out on the Blind Bear patio with my friend Chicken Fried Steak Rodger and his mastiff/English bulldog mix Jubi. Jubi is a retired service dog, 11 years old, experiencing for the first time what it’s like to be loved as a pet. “She has bad separation anxiety so I try to take her with me everywhere I go,” Rodger said. We started talking about places that are pet-friendly. “What about the local breweries?” Rodger asked. “Do they allow dogs on the patio at their taprooms?”

“I think they all do,” I replied. “High Cotton is especially pet friendly. They have hosted fundraisers for dog rescues, and they’ve even brewed beer specially made for dogs.”

“I’ll have to get an Uber out there and try that place sometime,” Rodger said.

“They’re having an Easter egg hunt for adults out there tomorrow,” I told him. “Feel like a field trip?”

“Sure,” Rodger said.

So yesterday, about 12:45 Rodger ordered us an Uber. The way it works is, you order the ride, then immediately call the driver and ask if they allow dogs in their car. Both on the way there and back, our drivers were pet owners and were happy to accommodate Jubi.

High Cotton is at 598 Monroe, in the easternmost district of Downtown, known as The Edge. Across the street from the brewery is the building that used to be Kudzu’s. To the immediate west is my BBQ team’s booth design sponsor Holliday Flowers, and to the immediate east is Edge Alley, the future micro-retail space I wrote about Friday.

You know, it’s weird… as much as I like beer, I have never hung out at High Cotton’s taproom on an average day. I was there for the grand opening of the taproom in June 2014 when The Dead Soldiers played, and I came in there to drop off donations for the Gatlinburg supply drive last December. But I’ve never just kicked back and enjoyed a cold brew there. Until yesterday.

It didn’t take long for Rodger and me to find Easter eggs. They were marked as C or M – the initials of the people who hid them – and there were also eggs marked K (for kids, candy only, no beer) and D (for dogs – see, I told you the place was pet-friendly). Rodger and I each found a ticket redeemable for a free half-pint of beer in our plastic eggs. We went inside to the bar.

Having had High Cotton beer at BBQ meetings next door, I was already familiar with HCB’s flagship products ESB and Scottish Ale. Yesterday I wanted to branch out and try other offerings. I got the Edge of the Craft Lager for my free half-pint, and after I finished it I went back to the bar and ordered a full pint.

You know, I’ve joked that if I went to High Cotton’s taproom, I’d ask the bartender, “Which beer tastes the most like PBR?” I didn’t actually do that, but if you ride the PBR train like I do, I think you would like Edge of the Craft Lager. It’s light and refreshing.

Rodger and I got seats outside:

It was a beautiful day to sit there and enjoy Easter Sunday. Eventually, Jubi got a little too hot and we moved to a table that was outside but inside, if that makes any sense. There’s a covered area to the left of the front door that is still outside but has walls and a ceiling¬†– perfect so Jubi could be in the shade and yet we could still enjoy the perfect April weather.

For my second pint I chose the Baller Brown, which was darker and full of flavor. Edge of the Craft Lager will probably be my go-to when I visit the taproom, but I hope to try all of the beers eventually. Most pints are $5 and half-pints are mostly $3, with special batch and high-gravity beers being a little more.

Rodger, Jubi and I stayed about an hour and a half then caught a Lyft back to the Downtown core. I enjoyed it out there! Given the distance from where I live, High Cotton’s taproom won’t be a place I hang out on a daily basis like I do the Blind Bear. However, once a month or so I wouldn’t mind grabbing a friend and Ubering or Lyfting out there.

High Cotton’s taproom is open 4-9 Tuesday-Friday, 2-10 Saturday and 1-6 Sunday. They usually have a food truck on site Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and the other days you are welcome to bring a snack. The taproom is open to all ages (obviously, you have to be 21+ to drink beer).

Once a month on Tuesday (and sometimes for special occasions) the brewery hosts a comedy night. Thursday nights they have Bendy Brewski Yoga at 6 PM. This is an all-levels, 45-minute yoga class taught by a professional instructor, followed by craft beer and socializing with your fellow yogis. Also on Thursdays, UT students get discounted pints. On Fridays they have trivia at 7.

They also have a diverse array of special events. Coming up, they have Freewheel’s Slow Ride bike rides the next several Wednesdays, a disco extravaganza for the Tennessee Equality Project on Saturday, a book club meeting on April 30, and comedy with Jim Seward from CMT on May 9. Recent past events have included drone races, metal night, a crawfish boil, the 901 Popper Throwdown, and a tasting pairing cookies with beer.

If you like beer but have not gotten around to checking this place out yet, it is well worth the 15 minute walk or the 2 minute Uber ride from the Downtown core. “Like” the brewery on Facebook to keep up with taproom events and new beer releases.