Nothing goes better together than cold beer and a hot band. With Craft beer booming across the south, Alabama’s relatively recent relaxation of liquor laws is making it even more fun to take in live local music with a frothy beverage in hand. Here’s a guide to the best Alabama craft beers to sample around Montgomery and the best places to catch a show while you’re at it.
There are currently 24 locally owned micro-breweries spread across the state, with several more in the works. The Capital City is a great place to imbibe some of these Alabama-fashioned favorites: lagers, stouts, IPAs and more, including those from our hometown brewery, Railyard Brewing Co., which pulled into Montgomery in 2012 and has been delighting hopheads and casual craft beer drinkers ever since.
Railyard Brewing Company: Montgomery’s original brewery produces several beers that stay on tap, like its Y’all Alabama Light Lager, Alabama Pale Ale and its Red Clay Irish Ale, and it creates seasonal beers too. The brewery is sneaking under cover inside the newly relocated Dreamland BBQ, so you can get your grub on, too.
Drink This: The Y’all Alabama Light Lager is a refreshing 100-percent malt beer with a medium body and a smooth balance of German Hops.
Good People Brewing Co.: It was founded in 2008 by two friends who got heavy into home-brewing, but since 2010, Good People has been turning out its “ales from the heart of Dixie” in the shell of a former beer distribution warehouse in downtown Birmingham.
Drink This: Snake Handler is a double IPA that gets its big and bold flavor from a blend of five hop varieties.
Back Forty Beer Company: Back Forty began brewing in 2009, but Gadsden native and founder Jason Wilson moved his company to his hometown in late 2011. It’s now turning out bottle after bottle and can upon can of award-winning beer in a 1940s-era brick building, once a Sears & Roebuck appliance repair center, on the edge of downtown.
Drink This: Back Forty’s claim to fame is the silver medal its Truck Stop Honey Brown Ale won at the “Olympics of beer,” the Great American Beer Festival, in 2010.
Straight to Ale: Since 2009, art and science have come together to create some amazing brews at Straight to Ale Brewing in Huntsville.
Drink This: Monkeynaut IPA was named after Miss Baker, the monkey launched into space in 1959 and who lived at Huntsville’s U.S. Space & Rocket Center. All of Straight to Ale’s beers pay homage to Huntsville’s space heritage.
Avondale Brewing: In Avondale, one of Birmingham’s oldest areas, Avondale Brewing opened in 2011. The 120-year-old building that houses the brewery has several past lives: It was once a fire station, a pharmacy, a bank and a brothel. “Miss Fancy” on Avondale’s logo was a beer-guzzling circus elephant who once lived in Birmingham.
Drink This: The Spring Street Saison is crisp and clean and brewed using open fermentation tanks.
Common Bond Brewers: The newest brewery on the block is expected to open early in 2018 and will be located in a revamped automotive garage just behind the bustling downtown convention district.
When you find a local craft beer you love, go ahead and take that draft deliciousness home in a growler. Growlers are now on sale at Blackfinn Ameripub, Whole Foods Montgomery, and even some Mapco Gas Stations in Montgomery.
Check out our quick guides to the taps in town and find some tunes to go with them in the Center Stage guide to live music venues.