Did you know that Blackberry Farm – the luxury resort in rural Blount County – operates a brewery near downtown Maryville? I had tasted and enjoyed Blackberry Farm beers on different occasions in the past, but when I heard that their burgers were a must try, that was enough to send The Grub Spouse and I in this direction to try their brewery .
It occupies what could have been some sort of warehouse or garage in the past. When we arrived the few parking spots surrounding the building were all taken, but on a second pass the spouse and I were able to snag an undesignated spot just off the front patio seating area.
We entered through the front garage door, which was in the up position to take advantage of the warm but mild temperatures the evening we visited. Inside, the back wall is stacked with wooden barrel racks that I assumed were filled with beer. The main bar is on the right as you enter, while a take-out beer cooler and merchant section run along the opposite wall. The floor space is dotted with raised, picnic-style seating. It’s a folksy vibe for a Blackberry Farm property.
Spouse and I perused the concise menu at the bar. Snacks include chunky barbecue fries with onions and pickled ramp dip, Blackberry Farm chili cheese with fries, veggie crudité with black-eyed pea hummus, and sweet tea-brined chicken tenders. They also offer chopped and mixed salads. We passed on all of these items, although I found the crudité and the chicken fillets intriguing.
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That left six main courses, which include their classic burger, a BLT burger, a chicken sandwich (fried or grilled), and a Buffalo chicken sandwich. Spouse ordered the fish tacos ($17) – two soft taco shells topped with chipotle cream, pickled jalapeño, red onion, coleslaw, queso fresco, cilantro and lime.
I ordered the smoked onion burger ($17) – two patties and white cheddar cheese served on a brioche bun with smoked onion jam mayonnaise, shredded lettuce and spicy pickles. At the bar, I also ordered an IPA ($6) from their rotating selection of 12 house labels. Incidentally, water and soft drinks are also available for guests who may not want to drink or prefer H2O with their meals.
We sat at a peak and I sipped my beer while waiting for our food. We noticed the brewery’s large selection of board games stacked near the bar, and a big-screen TV was set up in front of the beer barrels, showing NFL action. After a few minutes, we determined that the ultra-low backs of our high chairs made sitting uncomfortable, so we moved to a nearby picnic table.
Our meals were served on those metal trays that I have come across so often lately in casual service restaurants. Overall I was happy with the burger. Both patties were juicy and the brioche bread was soft and fresh. I always enjoy shredded rather than leafy lettuce, and the pickles were thinly sliced, an ideal ratio for people like me who can tolerate pickles but aren’t crazy about them (a little pickle goes a long way in my book) . The onion mayonnaise was a delicious touch.
I wasn’t as impressed with the fish tacos. I was ok with the fish itself (never got an ID on the variety), but there was something about the flavor combination of the other ingredients that was odd to my palate. The spouse agreed. Both of our meals, however, came with delicious fries – thick and crispy on the outside but nice and soft in the middle. They were hot and well seasoned and served with BFB’s original pub sauce – a mixture of mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce and other ingredients.
My main issue with Blackberry Farm Brewery is not the food but the price. I try to take into account that restaurant prices at all levels still suffer from inflationary influences, but in my opinion, $17 each for a cheeseburger and two regular fish tacos is overkill. I suspect there is some brand maintenance involved in bringing these prices into play. But to be fair, even though my pour seemed like 12 ounces instead of a pint, I thought the $6 tab was pretty reasonable.
So while I can accept Blackberry Farm Brewery as a fun and unique gathering place where Blount County folks can enjoy local moss and chow, I can think of a number of other places you can receive the same quality of experience without paying through the nose for the privilege.
Blackberry Farm Brewery
Address: 106 Everett Ave, Maryville
Beer service only
Hours: from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. from Tuesday to Friday; 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday; 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday
This Blount County craft brewery serves up a variety of microbrews and tasty pub fare in a friendly setting.