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Gerst Haus

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Gerst Haus William J Gerst, from the Gerst Family Brewery, opened Gerst Haus, a brewpub on Second Ave in 1955. He did it because he was determined to keep the family name involved in food, beer, and the social scene of Nashville. His grandfather, William H. Gersh, had received his Master Brewer’s Certificate and opened The Moerlin-Gerst Brewing Company in 1890 with his partner, Christian Moerlein. William Gerst had just been elected the President of the National Brewer’s Association, so he was in a good position to open a new brewery in Nashville. Three years later the company was successful enough that Gerst was able to buy out his partner, and the company became known as the William Gerst Brewing Company. Gerst and his sons worked constantly in the brewery, and it soon became one of the larger breweries in the American South. Unfortunately, Prohibition shut down the company in 1920, and Gerst died in March of 1933, just missing the end of Prohibition and the reopening of his brewery. His sons continued to run the business, but it never recovered from the losses and eventually closed in 1954. His grandson then opened the brewpub the next year, and it quickly became a popular spot in Nashville, serving traditional German food as well as an interesting selection of beers. The Pittsburgh Brewing Company provides the bar with a version of the original recipe of the Gerst beer, and the original bar from the Tap Room of the brewery is in place. Completing the historical effect are a pair of drinking horns that were displayed at the Tennessee Centennial of 1897. Other breweries in Nashville have sprung up to fill the void left behind from the closure of the Wiilliam Gerst Brewing Company. Demand for craft beer from micro-breweries has helped support new ventures such as Blackstone Brewpub, Basco’s Nashville Brewing Company, and the growing Yazoo Brewery.

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