For the past nine years, pizza lovers and craft beer enthusiasts from the Bellevue area and beyond have congregated at Tailgate Brewery, located at 7300 Charlotte Pike. Look up the hill at the brewery from 7300 Charlotte Pike and you'll notice the colorful murals and the packed parking lot. For its many fans, though, it’s what goes on inside the building that is truly magical.
“We make a big effort to be welcoming,” said Liz Tarry, Marketing Manager for Tailgate Brewery. “We want to create an atmosphere where your two-year-old child or your 90-year-old grandmother will feel equally welcome.”
The walls of the brewery are adorned with a rotating collection of bright, unique and sometimes even funny art pieces that appeal to customers of all ages. Seeing young families eating together with children happily running around and playing is a common sight. With half-priced pizza on Wednesday and half-priced appetizers on Monday, it’s easy to see why Tailgate has attracted such a rabid fanbase with the families of Bellevue.
For the fall season, Tailgate has introduced a new menu, featuring fried green tomatoes, onion rings and house-made pork rinds. The crown jewel on the new menu is the permanent introduction of Detroit-style pizza to the lineup of pies. In order to accommodate this new addition, Tailgate sourced all-new specialty pans and alter the preparation process. Although it may take a little bit longer to bake, Detroit-style pizza fans insist it’s worth the wait.
“Truly, I believe this is our best product,” says Tarry. “And we have gotten that feedback as well.”
Detroit-style pizza is cooked in a rectangular pan and features a thick and chewy crust with cheese baked around the edges. Tomato sauce is typically ladled over the pizza instead of under the cheese.
Any of their signature pizzas can be transformed into a Detroit-style masterpiece. Two of their specialty craft pizzas work particularly well with the Detroit-style: the Whipped Ricotta Pizza with sausage and honey-whipped ricotta and the Hot Honey Pizza with pepperoni, sausage, jalapeños and a hot honey drizzle.
In addition to the new menu additions, Tailgate rolls out a Pizza of the Month with some truly unique flavor combinations. Upcoming fall pizzas include the Oktoberfest Pizza and the Thanksgiving Feast Pizza topped with turkey breast, gravy, stuffing and mashed potatoes.
“Once you try it, you’re a convert,” says Tarry.
And beers? Yeah, they do that, too. In fact, every single year, Tailgate serves 300 unique beers to a growing number of thirsty regulars. The most popular brews include the creamy Peanut Butter Stout, the bestselling Orange Wheat and a number of rotating seasonal selections.
This fall, they’ll feature red ales, fest beers, traditional lagers, their Basic Pumpkin Ale, the beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte Coffee Milk Stout and the highly anticipated Tailgate Fest, their own take on a classic Oktoberfest brew. If you don’t happen to like beer, they’ve got you covered. Tailgate brews its own ciders and seltzers with upcoming fall flavors including Pumpkin Pie Cider and Apple Pie Cider.
A great place to revel in the fall weather is outside where you’ll find a large number of picnic tables and a huge TV screen for Thursday movie nights and to watch all the big games. You’ll also find “The Shack,” where you can get a draft beer or pizza by the slice. Dogs are welcome out back and you may even find some live music.
A family favorite every autumn at Tailgate is its October Movie Series. On the big screen outside, they’ll host viewing parties for Hocus Pocus, Halloweentown and other classic Halloween-themed movies.
Although its offerings may change with the seasons, some things at Tailgate never change. Wesley Keegan continues to be the sole owner and brewmaster. The brewery’s love of the Bellevue community has been unwavering from the beginning.
“We made a bet on Bellevue because we saw what it could be,” says Tarry. “It remains our busiest taproom.”
Currently, Tailgate has six locations in Tennessee with a special outpost at the Nashville International Airport. A seventh location is also set to open soon in South Nashville. As Tailgate looks toward the future, more expansion is always possible, but its heart will remain in Bellevue.
“This will always be the headquarters,” says Tarry. “Bellevue will always be home.”
“We make a big effort to be welcoming. We want to create an atmosphere where your two-year-old child or your 90-year-old grandmother will feel equally welcome.”