Located in the late afternoon shadows of Lookout Mountain in the historic—now hip and happening—neighborhood of St. Elmo, Moccasin Bend Brewing Company is an unconventional, hole-in-the-wall brewhouse that wholeheartedly embraces its somewhat quirky nature. In fact, their slogan of “Weird is Good” sums it up best, and the co-founder, current owner, and lead brewer, Chris Hunt, does everything in his power to adhere to this self-prescribed policy as frequently as he and his close-knit staff can.
From naming the brewery after the infamous Moccasin Bend in the Tennessee River—a plot of land with its own healthy dosage of weird—to allowing dogs and children into the establishment, to experimenting with unique and inventive beer recipes and even becoming the first sour beer-maker in the city, Moccasin Bend Brewery offers a beer-drinking atmosphere unlike anywhere else in Chattanooga.
Situated in an old building that once served as a K-Rations assembly warehouse during WWII, it now serves as a homey watering hole where locals from all walks of life can gather together and drink good beer in good company.
For first time visitors, simply finding the place is part of what adds to its charm. Tucked in a back alley among the quaint neighborhood bungalows of St. Elmo, the first order of business is recognizing the modest chalkboard sign in a nearby restaurant parking lot. All it says—all it needs to say—is "Beer," with an arrow pointing you in the right direction. Then, as your vehicle (or bicycle) crunches over the ensuing gravel driveway, and the anticipation and curiosity builds, you'll take an almost immediate left and enter the brewery's fenced in premises. You'll know you've made it once you see the red and rusty, old-time pickup truck with plain white lettering on the side-doors saying "Moccasin Bend Brewing Co."
From here, you'll walk up towards the welcoming courtyard area, where you'll find long, communal picnic tables, fire pits, corn hole board (singular), and during cool summer evenings, a diverse cast of characters sporting sundresses, sandals, and other lightweight seasonal garbs.
Inside, you'll find a rustic interior with granite stone walls, exposed wooden beams and columns, and chandeliers hanging from the ceilings. And were it not for the foosball table, dartboard, mini-archade, giant Jenga set, and other little knick-knack games, you could imagine yourself in some sort of cozy, candle-lit German tavern from a bygone era, where a writer like Herman Hesse might be scribbling away in the corner, drawing Steppenwolf-like inspiration from the gigantic (yet friendly and lethargic) brewery dog Max—all while sipping on a strong Belgian ale, of course.
And speaking of the ales, well, they're just plain good. Sorry, just plain really good. Somewhat atypical for a normal brewery tasting room, Mocc Bend offers a sizable number of 10-13 beers on tap at any given time. From consistent favorites like the bitingly hoppy UN-Balanced IPA and the simple and unassuming Lookout Mountain Lager, to rarer creations like the high gravity Goldenrod and the Dead Ned's Imperial Red and sours like the S.I.P.A. and the Saur D and coffee stouts flavored with beans from various local roasters, the list goes on. Chris Hunt is like a mad scientist in his desire to constantly create new recipes, and like any driven and passionate craftsman, he feels like he's only scratched the surface when it comes to the many wonderful possibilities of beer.
To top it all off, visitors to the brewery are more than welcome to bring their own food. And with Chattanooga's best burrito joint right down the road, as well as a pizza parlor, an authentic Thai restaurant, and even a slightly more upscale Southern Coastal eatery, there's no shortage of excellent options nearby.
All in all, Moccasin Bend Brewery is a bit funky, unconventional, and weird. But it turns out "weird" is very good indeed.