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Best Breweries in Alabama: A Curated Guide for Craft Beer Lovers

Alabama is home to a vibrant brewery scene that showcases the passion and creativity of the state’s beer enthusiasts. These local breweries, offering a diverse range of unique and flavorful brews, have successfully reflected Alabama’s rich brewing tradition. With more and more breweries popping up across the state, there is no better time to explore what Alabama’s beer scene has to offer.

beer spigot

From small-batch brews to award-winning ales, Alabama breweries are all about quality and innovation. Many of these breweries are located in bustling cities like Birmingham and Mobile, but some can also be found in charming small towns, creating a comprehensive beer lover’s experience. Whether you’re a local or a tourist looking for the perfect beer-tasting experience, Alabama’s breweries offer something for everyone’s taste buds.

Key Takeaways

  • Alabama offers a rich brewery scene with a variety of unique and flavorful brews.
  • Breweries can be found in both major cities and smaller towns, catering to diverse preferences.
  • Visiting these breweries is an excellent way to support the local community and discover innovative beers.

Fundamentals of Alabama Breweries

Alabama has a rich history of brewing, dating back to the 1800s. Today, the state boasts a thriving craft beer scene, with numerous breweries producing a wide variety of beer styles. The passion for quality beer is evident among Alabama’s brewers, who remain focused on creating unique, flavorful, and innovative brews to satisfy the taste buds of beer enthusiasts everywhere.

One of the key factors contributing to the growth of Alabama’s craft beer industry is the state’s changing laws in recent years. The brewery scene in Alabama has significantly expanded since the passage of the Free the Hops bill in 2009, which paved the way for craft beer to flourish in the state. This allowed breweries to increase the alcohol by volume (ABV) in their beers and expand sales opportunities.

Several notable breweries have made a name for themselves in the Alabama beer scene. Some of the well-known brewers include:

  • Goat Island Brewing
  • Twisted Barley Brewing
  • Yellowhammer Brewing
  • Trim Tab Brewing
  • Avondale Brewing Company
  • Bowler Hat Brewing Company
  • Common Bond Brewers

These breweries excel at producing various beer styles, such as IPAs, stouts, porters, and sours. The passionate brewers in Alabama have helped create a diverse range of flavors and options, ensuring there is a beer for every palette.

A unique aspect of Alabama’s brewing culture is the focus on supporting local communities and establishments. Many breweries feature taprooms where visitors can sample beers, participate in events, and engage with other beer enthusiasts. The breweries also often collaborate with local food trucks and restaurants, further enriching the state’s thriving food and drink scene.

Top Cities with Breweries

Birmingham Breweries

Birmingham is home to numerous breweries that are worth a visit. Some popular choices include:

  • Back Forty Beer Co: Known for its consistent quality and innovative rotating selections.
  • Cahaba Brewing Co: Offers a friendly atmosphere and a diverse range of craft beers.
  • Ghost Train Brewing Co: Brewers of a wide variety of beer styles, perfect for those who appreciate experimentation.
  • Good People Brewing Co: One of the oldest and most respected breweries in the area, with a focus on classic styles.
  • Trim Tab Brewing: Aims to create unique and balanced beers while also fostering community engagement and arts.

Huntsville Breweries

An up-and-coming craft beer scene can be found in Huntsville, featuring breweries such as:

  • Yellowhammer Brewing: Produces Belgian-inspired and innovative beers, served in a relaxed atmosphere.
  • Straight to Ale: Known for its creative take on traditional beer styles, exotic flavors, and consistent quality.
  • InnerSpace Brewing Company: Creates a variety of beers with an emphasis on German styles, served in a cozy, nerd-themed setting.

Montgomery Breweries

Montgomery has a growing craft beer sector, with standout breweries including:

  • Common Bond Brewers: Offers a welcoming environment and a range of high-quality, locally inspired craft beers.
  • Railyard Brewing Co: Combines the charm of a historic train station with fresh, delicious beers that cater to a variety of tastes.

Tuscaloosa Breweries

Tuscaloosa may be best known for its football, but its craft beer scene shouldn’t be overlooked. Notable breweries are:

  • Druid City Brewing Company: Takes pride in its handcrafted beers and laid-back atmosphere, where locals and visitors alike can enjoy quality brews.
  • Black Warrior Brewing Co: Combines locally sourced ingredients with innovative brewing techniques to create a diverse selection of beers.

Dothan Breweries

Despite being a smaller city, Dothan has an impressive brewery offering, such as:

  • Folklore Brewing & Meadery: Prides itself on using locally sourced ingredients to craft inventive beers and meads.

Madison Breweries

Lastly, Madison offers some unique breweries for enthusiasts to explore, including:

  • Rocket Republic Brewing Company: A space-themed brewery with a wide range of beer styles and a fun, energetic atmosphere.
  • Blue Pants Brewery: Small independent brewery that offers a variety of unique, high-quality beers, often incorporating experimental ingredients and techniques.

Types of Beers in Alabama

Alabama is home to a diverse range of beer styles brewed by its local breweries. With a thriving craft beer scene, the state’s breweries offer an impressive variety of beer styles to cater to different palates and preferences, from hoppy IPAs to refreshing sours.

IPA is a popular style of beer in Alabama, with many breweries producing their own unique takes on this hop-forward ale. Some well-known examples include the Big Spring IPA from Rocket City, and the American IPA offerings from Good People Brewing Company and Red Clay Brewing Company.

Stout lovers will also find a good selection in Alabama, such as the Irish Stout produced by Bowler Hat Brewing Company. This dark, rich beer style is characterized by its roasted malt flavor profile and smooth finish.

Alongside IPAs and stouts, Pale Ales are another common beer style produced in Alabama. These ales typically feature a well-balanced mix of malt and hops, leading to a crisp and flavorful drinking experience. Yellowhammer Brewing, for instance, offers their Rebellion Red Lager, a refreshing take on the classic pale ale.

Lagers are also widely enjoyed in the state, with options like the Rammer Jammer Light Lager and Goat Island Brewery’s Blood Orange Berliner-Weisse. These beers are known for their clean, crisp taste and tend to have a lower ABV, making them perfect for a refreshing drink on a hot day.

Ales in general hold a strong presence in the Alabama brewing scene, with styles such as Blonde Ales, Sours, and Porters all being showcased prominently in different breweries across the state. Some notable examples include the Sour Pash from Avondale Brewing Company, and the Blonde Ale from Big Beach Brewing Company.

For those with a preference for more unique flavors, Alabama breweries also produce a variety of Belgian White, Brown Ales, and Sour Beers. These styles offer complexity and depth, with fruity, spicy, and tart notes that provide a captivating drinking experience.

Finally, Alabama’s breweries are also increasingly catering to those with dietary restrictions by offering Gluten-Free options. Although these beers may be less common, they’re a testament to the state’s commitment to providing something for every beer enthusiast, regardless of their personal needs or preferences.

As the craft beer scene in Alabama continues to grow and evolve, the state’s breweries remain dedicated to providing an impressive array of quality beer styles that cater to a wide range of tastes. From IPAs and stouts to sours and gluten-free options, Alabama truly has something for every beer lover.

Notable Alabama Breweries

Back Forty Beer Company

In 2009, founder Jason Wilson established Back Forty Beer Co, which has since become one of the popular craft breweries in Alabama. They offer a variety of beers, including the popular Naked Pig Pale Ale and Freckle Belly IPA.

Good People Brewing Company

Established in 2008, Good People Brewing Company is known for its quality beer offerings such as the popular Coffee Oatmeal Flavored Stout and Snake Handler Double IPA. Their taproom in Birmingham often hosts events and offers various limited release beers.

Cahaba Brewing Company

Cahaba Brewing Co takes pride in their wide variety of beer selections, ranging from the Blonde Ale to the Liquidambar, an American Amber Ale. They host numerous special events throughout the year at their taproom in Birmingham.

Ghost Train Brewing Company

As another Birmingham-based brewery, Ghost Train Brewing Co is known for its innovative beer options, such as the Kaleidoscope Kettle Sour and the Terminal Station Brown Ale. Their inviting taproom often features live music and food trucks.

Avondale Brewing Company

Avondale Brewing Co, located in Birmingham’s historic Avondale district, is known for beers like the Sour Pash Mosey Lager and Miss Fancy’s Tripel. Their brewery also serves as a popular event venue for concerts and other activities.

Fairhope Brewing Company

On the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay, Fairhope Brewing Company produces an array of flavorful beers like the Painted Black IPA and the Fairhope 51 Pale Ale. Their laid-back taproom offers a relaxed atmosphere to enjoy their creations.

Folklore Brewing

Located in Dothan, Folklore Brewing offers unique beers including the Grateful Red Irish Red Ale and the Snipe Hunt IPA. Their rural taproom features a cozy porch and frequently hosts live music.

Old Black Bear Brewing Company

Old Black Bear Brewing Co, found in Madison, offers well-crafted beers like the Cave City Lager and the Bearwalker Brown Ale. The brewery also features a restaurant with a farm-to-table dining experience.

Druid City Brewing Company

With a focus on locally sourced ingredients, Druid City Brewing Co in Tuscaloosa offers beers like the Lamplighter IPA and the Saison-Brett. Their taproom is an excellent spot for enjoying a drink while catching a game.

Oak Mountain Brewing Company

Pelham’s Oak Mountain Brewing Company aims to provide unique and flavorful beers, featuring selections like the Red Clay Irish Red Ale and the Up Yonder New England IPA. Their indoor and outdoor taprooms make for an enjoyable experience no matter the weather.

Salty Nut Brewery

Salty Nut Brewery, located in Huntsville, focuses on bold and hoppy beers like the Hop Naughty IPA and the Bourbon Barrel-Aged Hazelnut Brown Ale. Their lively taproom offers a variety of events and gatherings.

True Story Brewing Company

True Story Brewing Company in Birmingham is committed to providing distinctive beers such as the Scoundrel Imperial Porter and the AzaCitra Wheat Ale. Their cozy taproom often hosts events and live music, adding to the friendly atmosphere.

Brewpubs and Eateries

Alabama boasts a variety of top-notch brewpubs that offer an excellent selection of craft beers accompanied by tasty food options. Many of these establishments feature live music, making them perfect spots for a night out with friends or family.

Avondale Brewing Company in Birmingham is well-known for its signature brews like Spring Street Saison and A-OK IPA. This brewery also offers a gastropub-style menu with delicious pizza options, making it a perfect spot for both beer and pizza lovers. The venue frequently hosts live music events, adding to its vibrant atmosphere. You can find Avondale Brewing Company at 201 41st St S, Birmingham, AL.

Another popular spot in Alabama is Back Forty Beer Co. Founded in 2009 by Jason Wilson, Back Forty was one of the state’s first craft breweries. Its extensive beer list includes a variety of styles, from Belgian ales to IPAs. To complement the beer offerings, Back Forty serves up mouthwatering BBQ dishes that you simply cannot miss.

For those who enjoy both craft beers and live music, Salty Nut Brewery should definitely be on your list. Located at 2406 Clinton Ave W, Huntsville, this brewery offers a range of highly rated beers. Plus, it frequently hosts live music events, making for a lively and entertaining experience.

If you are in the mood for brews with a coastal vibe, check out Big Beach Brewing Company. Situated in the heart of the Gulf Coast, this 10-barrel brewing facility offers a wide array of flavors, including Belgian ales and IPAs. Behind the bar, a system of large jars ensures the beer remains fresh and flavorful. While you’re there, don’t forget to indulge in their selection of delicious food options as well.

These are just a few of the fantastic brewpubs and eateries that Alabama has to offer. Each establishment brings something unique to the table, so be sure to explore as many as possible to experience the diverse flavors, great food, and lively entertainment scene of Alabama’s brewing culture.

Popular Beers in Alabama

Alabama boasts a thriving craft beer scene with a variety of breweries producing excellent beers. The diverse selection of local brews ranges from pale ales to IPAs and stouts.

Naked Pig Pale Ale is a well-known beer by Back Forty Beer Co. This American pale ale offers a perfect balance of maltiness and hoppy bitterness. With its clean finish, it’s a refreshing option for any beer enthusiast.

Another popular beer in Alabama is Truck Stop Honey by Back Forty Beer Co as well. This brown ale has a distinct honey flavor, which adds a hint of sweetness, complementing its satisfying nutty taste.

Cave City Lager from Avondale Brewing Company is a crisp and clean lager, inspired by the traditional European brewing techniques. Its smooth finish makes it a popular choice for a refreshing brew on a hot day.

Paradise Now by Trim Tab Brewing is a delightful raspberry Berliner Weisse that showcases a balance of tartness and fruitiness, perfect for those who enjoy a light and slightly sour beer.

Moving on to American Blonde, crafted by Yellowhammer Brewing, this golden blonde ale is known for its light body and crisp finish. The mild sweetness and subtle hop character make it an easy drinker.

For cider lovers, Goat Island Brewing offers various ciders made from locally sourced apples, including Kiwi Kolsch and Apricot Wheat. These refreshing beverages offer a balance of fruity and tart flavors that cater to varying palates.

Tiramisu Milk Stout, brewed by Trim Tab Brewing, is a decadent dessert beer that combines chocolate, coffee, and sweet caramel flavors. It is rich, velvety, and reminiscent of the Italian classic dessert.

Judge Roy Bean is a coffee stout by Fairhope Brewing Company that has an impressive coffee flavor. Brewed using locally roasted beans, this stout will undoubtedly satisfy any java junkie.

Causeway IPA is a hop-forward beer by Fairhope Brewing Company, delivering fruity and citrus notes with a balanced malt backbone. Its refreshing bitterness appeals to IPA fans everywhere.

Last but not least, Snake Handler Double IPA by Good People Brewing Co is a bold and robust beer with intense hop flavors, making it a favorite among hop aficionados.

With such a fantastic selection of beers to choose from, Alabama’s breweries continue to impress both locals and visitors alike with their expertise and passion for crafting top-notch brews.

Emerging Breweries

In recent years, Alabama has seen a significant growth in its craft beer scene, with several emerging breweries making a name for themselves in the industry. These new establishments bring innovative flavors, techniques, and unique experiences to the table. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at some of these emerging breweries in Alabama.

Braided River Brewing is located in Mobile and has made its presence known with a welcoming, spacious taproom and impressive lineup of craft beers. Offering innovative styles such as their Horn Island Hazy IPA and riverside-inspired series, Braided River showcases their passion for the local environment and its connection to brewing.

Rocket Republic Brewing in Madison, near Huntsville, is an excellent addition to the Northern Alabama beer scene. With a space-themed ambiance, it pays homage to the region’s connection to the space industry. Rocket Republic offers exceptional brews including their Mach 1 IPA and Astronut Brown Ale, demonstrating their commitment to quality and creativity.

Black Warrior Brewing Co. in downtown Tuscaloosa, is serving up a mix of traditional brews and experimental flavors. Named after the Black Warrior River, this brewery has quickly gained a loyal following. Signature beers like Lock 17 IPA and River Rye Pale Ale showcase their dedication to using regional inspiration in their brewing.

Grateful Red, an intriguing brewery in Gulf Shores, is gaining popularity for its beach vibe and laid-back atmosphere. Alongside innovative drinks, they offer an impressive selection of red ales such as the Ruby Red Ale and Scarlet Pumpkin Ale, making this brewery a great spot for those who enjoy unique, flavorful brews.

Finally, Ferus Artisan Ales in Trussville, just outside of Birmingham, is taking a creative approach to brewing with a focus on wild and sour ales. Offering a modern, industrial-chic space, Ferus Artisan Ales often features live music and special events. Some of their notable beers include Wild Now, a spontaneously fermented wild ale, and Spectral Haze, a landmark IPA brewed with various hops.

These emerging breweries are solidifying Alabama’s place in the craft beer scene and bringing fresh, bold flavors to beer enthusiasts across the state. Be sure to visit these breweries and discover what makes them stand out in the ever-growing world of craft beer.

Visiting Alabama Breweries

The brewery scene in Alabama has been growing in recent years, offering a variety of options for beer enthusiasts to explore. With a range of styles and flavors available, there’s something for everyone in the Heart of Dixie’s burgeoning craft beer world.

One popular brewery to visit is the Back Forty Beer Company, known for its creative range of beer styles and welcoming atmosphere. It’s not uncommon for visitors to spend a leisurely afternoon sipping on IPAs, lagers, and ales in their spacious taproom. In addition, Fairhope Brewing Company, Cahaba Brewing Company, and Druid City Brewing Company are just a few of the other highly-regarded breweries worth discovering in Alabama.

Aside from tasting the delicious brews, you may want to take the opportunity to explore the parks and scenic countryside surrounding some of these breweries. The state’s picturesque landscapes, including forests, hills, and waterways, make for beautiful backdrops while you’re enjoying your craft beer.

Bourbon lovers will also find something to enjoy in Alabama’s breweries. Many establishments offer a variety of locally distilled bourbon, allowing you to sample the finest whiskey in the region. While on your brewery tours, consider trying some of the bourbon pairings to fully appreciate the complex flavor profiles of both the beer and the bourbon.