Chattanooga's Big Frog Brewing: Big Frogs Can Come In Little Packages
Updated: Jan 12, 2019
Last night's tour stop was at Big Frog Brewing in Red Bank, TN. To anyone outsite of Red Bank, we might as well say Chattanooga, as Red Bank is literally surrounded by Chattanooga, but is incorporated as its own entity. Big Frog is probably the smallest brewery in the Chattanooga area, and the only one in Red Bank (the first since Prohibition, actually).
Located on Red Bank's main strip, you have to keep your eye out for the taproom and brewery, as from the street it looks like a rather small storefront... but it's built on a hill, so the brewing facilities are actually below the taproom, which itself is at street level. The brewery would be considered a nano-brewery, currently brewing only enough to serve at the taproom, which usually has at least a half dozen varieties on tap. The room is small and friendly, with a bar that probably seats about a dozen, and several large nicer picnic tables, some four-tops, and a few big lounging type chairs.
Big Frog Brewing Company - Red Bank, TN
The brewery currently only sells its beers via the taproom.
At founder Carter's recommendation, I started with their River Rat Porter (4.5%) which is an outmeal porter with a flavorful mix of chocolate and mollasses overtones. A dark brown pour with a tan head that sticks around, River Rat has a medium body and carbonation, which gives it a crisp finish. I detected a little bit of a sour finish, but I also had a bit of a cold, so that may or may not be real...
During my sets I wet my whistle with the seasonal Swamp Mule Brown Ale (5.3%), which was a little lighter in body than the Porter, with a nice brown ale flavor.... medium carbonation, There were hints of spice, but just hints... which is good for someone like me, who doesn't' enjoy obnoxiously spiced flavored brews. This brown ale was indeed great for the season... flavorful, medium body so as to not be too bloating, and refreshing.
My final pour of the night was the Shield Maiden Rye (5.5%), which scared me a little at first. I don't have a very good history with rye... I love the toast, but have a general aversion to rye drinks as the rye is often so bold that I find it a little rough to drink. Shield Maiden, though, was much smoother than I anticipated, and I found it quite drinkable... which is saying a lot given my past with ryes! A little spicy (but again, like the Swamp Mule... not TOO spicy) and like I said, uncharacteristically smooth for a rye... I normally choose something else, but I'm glad this one was poured for me, as it was a good experience for me. I should also mention Big Frog also had sours on tap, but I didn't have time to try one.
As has been a common theme, Big Frog again proves that great brewery experiences can be found in the smallest of places, if you take the time to look for them. While the room was small, it was packed full of enthusiastic locals (the photo below was taken before they arrived), who sang along and were fun to play for because of their enthusiasm. I'd definitely come back again, and I encourage anyone passing through Chattanooga to take the time and stop for a pint or two!