Alabama Craft Beer

Alabama used to have some tough beer laws on the books, making it nearly impossible for small breweries to try their hand at crafting their own scrumptious libations. Luckily, in the past few years, the laws have been loosened for the state, (thanks in part to the Free the Hops organization) and the outcome has been very, very encouraging...

Back Forty in Gadsden is one such brewery to quickly make a name for itself. Their name derives from an old agricultural term that refers to the 40 acres of land situated furthest from the barn. This land was often overlooked as it was the hardest to maintain- hence, land that is now rich and feritle. At Back Forty, they've utilized this soil to create five incredibly tasty microbrews, along with a few seasonals.

Back Forty is smartly packaged and embraces their southern heritage. As for naming Fence Post Session Ale, they state- "Fence posts have been used for centuries to keep people apart. But in the Deep South, fence posts bring people together. They're a place where neighbors and friends can take a break and chat for a while..." 

When I was last in Birmingham, I was hoping to make a visit to Avondale Brewing Co, but of course I arrived on the day it was closed. But peering through the windows of their large tap room, I admired the modern, inviting space. And the bold and graphic packaging of Avondale is just too good...

Brothers, Coby and Hunter Lake founded the brewery just last year and offer five beers year round, as well as some seasonal favorites. All their beers are named after popular folklore of Avondale, Alabama. I personally like their Vanillaphant Porter Ale, named after Miss Fancy, the elephant who found a home in Avondale Park after being offered to the town by a down on his luck circus owner. This ale has the traditional flavors of chocolate and roasted nuts, with the added touch of vanilla. Yes please. 

Good People Brewing Co. also has excellent beer and memorable branding- like Snake Handler Double IPA, made with five different hops and Coffee Oatmeal Stout, which is brewed with coffee from Primavera Coffee Roasters in Birmingham. They have been brewing ales "from the heart of Dixie" for four years and so far, so good. Alabama is quickly making its move. In the past, they were known as the wasteland of craft beer. Now, they're the ones to watch...

 

Photos: Back Forty Beer Co, Avondale Brewing, Good People Brewing Company    Content: Sweet Peach