After relocating to the heart of the Midwest plains, part of me pined for my old Tennessee home. Mainly, I was missing the offerings of Nashville, Tennessee-based Bearded Iris. The brewery is named after the state flower of Tennessee, but its wide range of hazy IPAs trend more towards fruity than floral. The one that sticks in my mind in particular isn’t necessarily its best, it’s just the beer I associate with the state of craft beer in my home state, the flagship IPA Homestyle.
Bearded Iris’ cans used to all be chrome wrapped in black labels, but for the flagships, it moved to an all-black can with a colored top and matching script font. In Homestyle’s case, both are gold. The dull gold of the can doesn’t match up to the vibrant golden-orange of the beer. That orange body paired with a thick cap of white foam reminds me of University of Tennessee’s colors.
The aroma has an edgier hoppiness than you’d expect in a hazy IPA, but after consuming my fair share of Homestyle, I’m plenty familiar with its distinct aroma. It smells bracingly herbaceous and sweet with notes of ripe mango and fresh citrus. The aroma hints at more bitterness and complexity than the juice bombs that dominate the style.
Bearded Iris brought the haze craze to Tennessee, or at least increased its depth and breadth.”
Homestyle is a Mosaic-hopped IPA and it maximizes every bit of that hop’s complexity. The hoppiness is biting, but not in the traditional West Coast-style bitterness. No, this is much more herbal and resinous, like the skin and stem of a fruit. The flavors of pineapple, mango, and orange are also plentiful, mingling with the jolt of bitterness to form a more balanced take on a New England IPA.
Bearded Iris brought the haze craze to Tennessee, or at least increased its depth and breadth. A revamped production system has allowed the brewery to (sorta) keep up with demand across an ever-expanding distribution footprint, so if you run into Homestyle in the wild, do yourself a favor and give it a try. It almost certainly won’t make you nostalgic for Music City, but once it is gone you’ll still pine for more.