Bootleg Biology, Harding House Brewing Co., and Riverbend Malt House Present Inaugural Southern Lager Invitational During 2023 Craft Brewers Conference

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE— Bootleg Biology, Harding House Brewing Co., and Riverbend Malt House have engaged the South’s leading tastemakers to craft their expressions of ‘Modern Southern Lager’ to kickoff the Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) on Sunday, May 7 at Harding House Brewing Company in The Nations neighborhood of West Nashville. 

So what is a Modern Southern Lager? Open to interpretation, this unofficial beer style ​​tends to be a dry-finishing, lower-ABV beer with a big frothy head and a hint of corn sweetness that is counterbalanced by relatively assertive hop bitterness. It pairs well with sweltering heat.

Think of this style as an update to the Pre-Prohibition Lagers that relied on 6-row barley and flaked corn to provide a lighter alternative to the all malt lagers from Europe. Now, new 2-row winter barleys are flourishing across the South and malt companies like Asheville’s Riverbend Malt House are offering craft brewers access to high quality, locally-malted barley and corn that update this style with bolder flavors. 

Riverbend and yeast laboratory Bootleg Biology have encouraged craft brewers across the South to brew their answer to the question ‘What is a Modern Southern Lager’ to serve at a celebration of long, cold fermentation at this upcoming CBC event. They’ve teamed up with host Harding House Brewing, whose dedication to local agriculture shines in unique beers brewed with plants native to Tennessee and partnerships with organizations aiming to shorten supply chains. 

Harding House and several other craft breweries in the South are currently fermenting lagers made with Riverbend malt and unique yeast strains from Bootleg Biology—  including ARL: The Southern Lager Yeast— to serve at this innovative beer showcase. “When it comes to Pilsner,” says Jeff Mello of Bootleg Biology, “The South has something to say. The lager movement is strong in our region, and it will be defined in the glass at this event.”  Look for Czech, German, and American styles reimagined with local ingredients!

Here is the current brewery list: 

BarrieHaus Beer Co. 

Barrique Brewing & Blending

The Brutalist in collaboration with King State Beer 

Cellarest Beer Project 


Fait La Force Brewing collaboration with Our Mutual Friend

Fonta Flora Brewery

Harding House Brewing Co. 

Inner Voice Brewing

Little Animals Brewery

New Anthem Beer Project 

Sceptre Brewing Arts

Soul and Spirits Brewery

TennFold Brewery 


The Southern Lager Invitational will take place on Sunday, May 7 at Harding House Brewing Co. from 7 to 10pm. All CBC participants get free entry with proof of conference participation. This inaugural event is made possible by sponsors Boelter, who are providing custom glassware for all participants, and Dynamark. Bad Luck Burger Club will be slinging their famous smash burgers. Frothy Monkey Bakery will bring breads to taste made from spent Southern Lager grain. 

Media interested in attending and or covering the Southern Lager Invitational can contact Emily Hutto at hutto@radcraftbeer.com.



Bootleg Biology is a full-service yeast lab for professional brewers and homebrewers. 

From our location in Nashville, TN, we’ve earned a reputation for creative cultures that meet the rigorous demands of a brewery while still satisfying brewers’ goals to push the envelope.

From crispy lagers and juicy IPAs to complex mixed fermentations, Bootleg has a culture for every brew. All of our yeast is made fresh, ensuring optimal viability and keeping you on schedule.

Our lab offers a wide range of quality control testing to ensure your product meets your high standards, including PCR testing for common contaminants, IBU testing, selective media plating and more. 



Homebrewer-turned-brewmaster Nate Underwood brought his passion for local agriculture into his brewing style at Harding House Brewing Co. This  brewery is named after the nickname given to a house he lived in on Harding Place here in Nashville, the place where the inspiration for the brewery originated. Co-owned by Matt Fung-A-Fat, Tyler Pate and Cameron Jones, Harding House strives to better the community in which it exists. This includes providing quality jobs and creating new agricultural economies. Harding House is committed to using the brewery as a place for the people of Nashville to gather and grow together. Learn more at hardinghousebrew.com



Riverbend Malt House is on a quest to connect Southeastern family owned farms and fermenters. Co-Founders Brent Manning and Brian Simpson launched Riverbend, the first craft malt house east of the Mississippi River, in Asheville, North Carolina in 2010. Buoyed by a 70,000 square foot production facility and state of the art equipment, Riverbend Malt House helps breweries and distilleries large, small, and in-between stand out with flavor, locality, and community in an increasingly competitive landscape— all the while challenging the status quo of corporate, big-agriculture malt. Learn more at riverbendmalt.com.