Beer! It's what's on tap at High Cotton's taproom — Photo courtesy of Memphis CVB
The craft beer world in Memphis is small but excellent. A handful of local brewers concocting small batches of sudsy delights that are served up all over town, and in a small number of taprooms, too.
High Cotton Brewing opened its taproom in downtown Memphis to showcase the brewing company’s already-popular beers, as well as a few seasonal creations that tempt the taste buds.
(We interrupt this article for a quick Southern primer on the brewery’s name: "high cotton" is an expression used all over the South for being well off, in terms of happiness or wealth. High cotton is a well-developed, tall crop that one would not need to bend over to pick. So, you’re in high cotton if you’ve done well for yourself.)
The vintage building that is home to the taproom has previously been everything from a carriage house to a recording studio — Photo courtesy of Memphis CVB
Located in an area that used to be full of auto dealers, High Cotton’s vintage space has been many things, from carriage house to recording studio. The new space feels old and comfy, gorgeously designed using reclaimed wood from the historic Cotton Exchange; a bar from a once-popular restaurant; and other simple, vintage touches.
The centerpiece of the taproom, however, is the bright sign that proclaims "BEER!" It hangs over the bar, just in case you forget what you came in for. There’s a nice-sized patio, in addition to plenty of space along the long bar, and the high ceilings give it an almost warehouse feel.
At any given time, the plan is to have from seven to 10 beers on tap, with High Cotton’s well-known line-up of Scottish Ale, Biere de Garde, ESB and Saison always in the mix. Seasonal and impromptu brews will be on tap until they run out. For the taproom's official opening, they served up Sow & Reap Saison, a pink-ish beer made of a funky combination of smoked beets and cherries, which was actually quite refreshing.
High Cotton beer has been sold throughout Memphis, including at the Levitt Shell's summer concert series — Photo courtesy of Levitt Shell
You can take some High Cotton home with you, too, by way of a growler. The glass container costs $5, and the folks at the brewery will only fill their own growlers. Why? It’s all about keeping the beer pure for the buyer; they will replace your growler with a sanitized, chilled growler to ensure the beer doesn’t lose its integrity.
High Cotton Taproom, like many of its brewing brethren, is open on a limited schedule, Thursday to Saturday only. Hours are 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday.