Adler Lentz and Kurt Smith, business partners and owners of Smith & Lentz Brewing Company, decided to open their brewery in the vibrant and dynamic city. The brewery includes a taproom featuring 22 beers that is open to the public. Additionally, Smith & Lentz has five distribution accounts in the Nashville area.
Smith’s love of craft beer developed early while he was attending the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, from 2005-2009. After college he moved to Austin, TX, and while living there he brewed beer at home, learning the ins and outs of various brewing methods. Also in Austin, he worked as an environmental and risk consultant and found time to volunteer at local breweries.
Meanwhile, Lentz was working as an apprentice at a small brewpub in Milwaukee, WI, learning the basics of commercial brewing. After his apprenticeship, he moved to San Diego, CA, and became a brewing-equipment installer. For four years, Lentz built systems for a variety of breweries— from startup breweries to larger commercial ventures. One of the brewery systems Lentz installed happened to be in Austin.
The two started talking about building a brewery, taking only four months to create a solid business plan. Once the plan was completed, they moved from Austin to Nashville to start work on the brewery. They hit a temporary snag when a fire broke out in the brewery building, but it didn’t sidetrack them for too long: The entire project—from creating a business plan to opening the brewery to the public—took three years.
Smith & Lentz built the Main Street brewery utilizing materials that were already in the space. 5 String Furniture made polished picnic tables using salvaged wood. Jenner Architecture Design and Dowdle Construction Group led the project.
They designed her own glycol-cooling piping system for the brewing process, including research, product certification, and installation, took only two months; the brewery then opened in the fall of 2015, and for the first couple of years, it brewed only one type of pilsner—German Pils was sort of classic, Noble-hop focused.
March 2020, Smith & Lentz was one of the dozens of Nashville restaurants affected by the devastating tornado — the brewery sat right along its path on Main Street in East Nashville. About 20 percent of their Main Street building, as well as the entire electrical service, plumbing, and sprinkler systems were all destroyed in the storm. Smith & Lentz spent most of a year rebuilding from the damage, but they came back stronger than ever.
In addition to the brewery’s selection of popular IPAs and crisp pilsners, Smith & Lentz went all-in on a new pizza program including recruiting an expert chef to craft the new menu.
Now pints and pies have become a mainstay of craft beer fans looking for a fun night out, whether for carryout or to enjoy in their cozy taproom or beer garden.
We set ourselves up specifically to be able to provide a dynamic selection of beer. Having a small brewing system supported by an army of fermenters and conditioning vessels means the next time you and your friends visit, there will be a new beer to try. It will allow us to experiment with all the new hop varieties (we like hops here), different yeast strains (we also are fond of yeast, we must keep it happy) and different processes. Smith & Lentz main focus are hoppy ales (IPA and Pale Ale) and lagers.