Per Matt
Middle Tennessee will soon feel the heat when the 2016 Nashville Chili Festival returns. On Sunday, February 14, from 12 noon to 3 p.m. Yazoo Brewing Company will host this year’s event, pairing craft beer with chili. What a perfect combination!

There will be a wide variety of chili styles available for attendees to sample at the festival, including vegetarian selections and even chili prepared with beer as an ingredient. Spicy-food fans, prepare yourselves: Not only will there be a selection of five-alarm chilis, but there will also be a pepper-eating contest! Event Coordinator Tracey Hawk previews the festival, which is available for both competing teams, as well as general-admission attendees.

What’s the history of this festival? How’d it get started?
– “The Nashville Chili Festival began as a way to increase awareness and create a fun event for Community Shares. We are entering our fourth year of the Nashville Chili Festival. This event is a great way to try chili, vote on your favorite and help support a wonderful non-profit.”

Has the festival always been hosted by Yazoo? How did the brewery get involved with the fest?
– “Yazoo has always been a partner of the Nashville Chili Festival. The partnership began because Yazoo participates in the Knoxville Brewers’ Jam, which is the other fun event that Community Shares offers to the community as a way to support our mission.”

Why do you think chili pairs with beer so well?
– “When the weather is cold, there is nothing better than spicy chili and cold beer to make the cold bearable.”

What can attendees expect at this year’s event?
– “This year, chili festival attendees can expect to try over 30 different types of chili, try their favorite Yazoo beer and listen to some excellent live music. The chili participants are in the actual brewery part of Yazoo, so you get the chance to see where Yazoo beer is made.”

What’s new for 2016?
– “This year we are changing up the categories of winners and separating the professionals from the home chef. This will give us more winners and a better sense of the best chili in Nashville.”

Photo Courtesy: Nashville Chili Festival

Photo Courtesy: Nashville Chili Festival

What’s one thing about the event that attendees may not know?
– “The Nashville Chili Festival is a great way to support the work that Community Shares does in the community. Community Shares funds 37 non-profits that are working on making our city better through cleaning up our environment, giving a voice to the voiceless and providing opportunities for people to get involved in our community.”

Can participants use any ingredients for their chili recipes?
– “People are free to use any ingredients that would like in their chili. We do not get involved in the battle between beans vs. no beans in chili. We like all chili. The most interesting chili is the vegetarian chili. They taste amazing and the lack of meat is not noticeable.”

Do you have many submissions by participants who cook with beer?
– “This year, we have a few submissions that have beer in them.”

Do you know what beers Yazoo will be providing at the festival?
– “Yazoo will open the taps and it will be a surprise as to which beers you can expect.”

Will there be any five-alarm chili available for the spicy-food fans?
– “Yes. The five-alarm chili will be out in force this year.”

What are the rules for the pepper-eating contest?
– “You have to sign a waiver and eat the most chili peppers in one minute. It is always fun to watch people eat hot peppers.”

Can you tell me a little about Community Shares?
– “Community Shares raises money for our 37 non-profit member groups in workplace giving campaigns. Our member groups are focused on making broad based social change happen in Nashville. We work to help animals, children and homeless have better lives. Please visit for more information.”

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
– “We will have live music from Aly Sutton Music and The J.C. Andersen Band, beer and a chance to see inside the Yazoo Brewing Company. Thanks to our sponsors Pepper Palace Nashville, State Farm Agent Candace Carpenter, Proof Branding, Barley to Rise Catering, Yazoo Brewing Company and Joshua Minton with Liberty Mutual Insurance.”

For More Information:
Nashville Chili Festival Website