Despite laws that only recently allowed breweries to sell direct to consumers, the craft beer scene in Alabama has exploded. From Huntsville to Birmingham and from Fairhope to Gadsden, you’ll find plenty of places to enjoy a pint.
In fact, there are organized beer trails in North Alabama and downtown Huntsville, allowing you to get stamps for the places you visit and earn a prize once it’s completed.
We’ve only visited breweries in the top half of the state, but stay tuned for updates.
Avondale Brewing Company
Avondale Brewing Company is located in a quaint Birmingham neighborhood. During Prohibition, an elephant broke loose nearby and drank her weight in beer.
Naturally, she became the icon behind this brewery. The brick building itself has been a pharmacy, brothel, and saloon before its current incarnation.
The taproom is open daily for drinks and for tours on Saturdays and Wednesdays. They cost $15 and include a pint of beer and a souvenir. The brewery also recently opened a sour room.
Their signature beers include the Spring Street saison, Battlefield IPA, Vanillaphant porter, Miss Fancy’s tripel, Mill City white, and Train Hopper pale ale.
Among the seasonals are their small-batch series, Long Branch Scottish ale, No Joka mocha stout, Mr. Todd’s DIPA, Meredith Marzen Oktoberfest, Strawberry Kolsch, Streetcar Kolsch, and Peach Saison.
Beer to Try: Peach Saison is a twist on their flagship saison. Just a hint of peach makes it a summertime favorite.
Cahaba Brewing Company
Cahaba Brewing Company was one of the few breweries I visited that had both families and dogs. Arcade games were set up in the taproom and the brewery is named for the river.
\Started in 2012 with equipment purchased from other Alabama breweries, they expanded to their current location, a former cotton gin warehouse, in 2016. They host weekly events like trivia, taco nights, and live music.
Their beers available year-round include Liquidambar amber, an American blonde ale, Ryezome stout, Oka Uba IPA, white IPA, and Fraxinus Maximus DIPA. Among their seasonals are the kiwi kolsch, Oktoberfest, and others.
Beer to Try: Kiwi Kolsch is a summer seasonal with a clean hop profile and slight notes of the fruit.
Good People Brewing Company
The former warehouse has lots of space for hanging out before a game, including a game room, taproom, and indoor patio. The taproom is open daily to try their brews and for tours on Saturdays and Sundays from 1-4 pm on every hour.
The tours cost $10, which includes tastings and a souvenir pint glass. All servers are cicerone trained, so be sure to ask for advice on which beers you’ll enjoy most. Good People has been creating great beers since 2008.
Year-round brews include a pale ale, IPA, brown, wheat, and a double IPA. Seasonals are an imperial stout and unique pale ale selections.
Beer to Try: Urban Farmer Saison is funky and drinkable for those looking for something a little more substantial than a pale ale.
Trimtab Brewing Company
TrimTab Brewing Company was my favorite in the Magic City, emphasizing local art in their brewery and sour and wild ales in their taps. Their taproom is open daily, but they don’t offer tours.
Among their year-round beers are the TrimTab IPA and Pillar to Post Rye Brown, while seasonal offerings include Rescue Ship Pale Ale, Imperial City Olde Ale, Bankston 88 pale ale, and the Raspberry Berliner Weisse.
Beer to Try: Raspberry Berliner Weisse is the perfect mix of hearty and tart. Don’t let the raspberry in the name mislead you into thinking it’s a “fruity” beer!
Green Bus Brewing
Green Bus Brewing is the newest to Huntsville’s craft beer scene and the only one located on the historic square. They have a downstairs taproom and upstairs seating, where you can enjoy a pint or 4-ounce sample. The nano-brewery is open Thursday to Sunday.
Bustoberfest, Bus-A-Move Pumpkin Peach, Dominant Red, and Omnibus Cream Ale are just a few of their offerings, but they change regularly. Visiting the taproom is the best way to sample their beers.
Beer to Try: Tiramisu Milk Stout was a sweet and dark delicious stout that you only need a little bit of. Treat it like dessert.
Mad Malts Brewing
Mad Malts Brewing is north of downtown near a former mill. The cozy neighborhood brewery has a small taproom and backyard. They’re open Tuesday to Saturday for tastings, live music, parties, and open mic nights.
Their beers are varied, including Agaric Amber, Double Cherry Sour, Harvest Yam, and Russian Imperial Stout, among many others.
Beer to Try: Alabama Gose is mild for a gose, ideal for beginners to sours.
Salty Nut Brewery
Salty Nut Brewery is in a small space just a few blocks from Yellowhammer and Straight to Ale. While they don’t offer tours, the functioning brewery is a local hangout, especially for its pet-friendly backyard. The taproom is open daily for food trucks, live music, and film and television viewings.
Regular offerings include Hop Naughty IPA, Das NutFest Oktoberfest, Hefe Hefe Hefe hefeweizen, Hawt Blonde, Dahkness Stout, and Nom Nom Porter, among others.
Beer to Try: Unimpeachable Pale Ale is made with fresh peaches with light bitterness.
Straight to Ale
But the Campus 805 location was the owner’s brainchild, transforming a middle school into a multi-use facility. Their taproom has a restaurant, speakeasy, arcade, and event space. Free tours are run on Saturdays at 2 pm and include samples and giveaways.
Among their year-round brews are Monkeynaut IPA, Brother Joseph dubbel, Lily Flagg milk stout, and Six Alberts session IPA. Seasonals are Monte Sano Maibock, Rocket City Red, Hell or Rye pale, and Monkey’s Uncle American IPA. You’ll find the best selections at their taprooms, especially of hard-to-find selections.
Beer to Try: Monkeynaut IPA is named to honor a monkey that was sent into space in the 1960s.
Yellowhammer Brewing is conveniently located next to two other breweries on Clinton Avenue. The brewery has a nice outdoor courtyard and event space as well as an attached pizzeria.
Opened in 2010, this brewery is inspired by German and European varieties of beer. Their taproom is open daily for live music, yoga, and “flight club,” their members-only tapping of the brewers’ favorite creations.
Their flagship beers include Belgian White, Rebellion red lager, Midnight Special black lager, and Hops Fell lager. Seasonals include Miracle Worker tripel, Tobacco Road imperial amber, Hop Revival IPA, and the 1819 dubbel.
Beer to Try: Gose was a pleasant surprise, only available in the taproom. It had medium tartness and a hint of salt.
Old Black Bear Brewing Company
Old Black Bear Brewing Company is a brewery and restaurant located in historic downtown Madison. The menu features snacks and sandwiches for lunch and dinner with local ingredients. They also have a distillery and serve their own liquors.
All of their beers are inspired by the area and named as such. They include Cave City Lager, 256 Extra Pale Ale, Speckled Trout American Wheat, Black Bear’s Delight Coffee Stout, Whooping Crane Red Ale, and Bear Sweat Double IPA.
Beer to Try: LandTrust Trail Ale is a brown ale that benefits the local conservation group.
Rocket Republic Brewing
As one might infer, Rocket Republic Brewing Company gets its inspiration from the city’s space program. Each of their beers, from the Mach 1 IPA to the Astronaut Brown, is centered around these themes. Their tap handles are even shaped like rockets!
The taproom is a modest space with a short bar and plenty of tables. Watch the brewing process from your seat. They hold weekly events like movie screenings and trivia nights. You can even take beer to go!
Beer to Try: Grapefruit Mach 1 is hoppy but with a citrus kick.
Braided River Brewing Company
Located a short walk from Dauphin Street, Braided River Brewing Company is a light-filled tasting room with outdoor tables. Taking its name from the river delta around Mobile, the beer lineup includes year-round brews that include an IPA, a hazy pale ale, and a German-style ale. Throughout the year there are rotating sours, stouts, and amber ales.
Beer to Try: Hang Loose Hazy Pale Ale is citrus-forward but not too hoppy.
Old Majestic Brewing Company
A few blocks down from Braided River is Old Majestic Brewing Company, located in a historic building with a large front lawn and named for an ancient oak tree. Inside, the screens show off the extensive beer menu, which includes one of everything from IPA to stout to amber.
Beer to Try: Shorter Days IPA has New England style flavors but is still on the light side.
Iron Hand Brewing
Walking into the former church that Iron Hand Brewing is home to, the cozy taproom has welcoming seats and games, not to mention weekly bingo and trivia. The beer lineup is small, limited to a few taps, but they also offer craft brews from around the region.
Beer to Try: St. Louis Street Sour honors the brewery’s street in a tart kettle-aged treat.
Red Clay Brewing Co.
Located in the neighboring town from Auburn University, Red Clay Brewing Co. has a comfortable taproom where visitors can enjoy a pizza and a pint. The lineup includes a hefeweizen, saison, imperial IPA, and stout. There are also rotating options.
Beer to Try: The Mexican lager was my favorite during my visit.
Resting Pulse Brewery
Opened by medical professionals, Resting Pulse Brewery has a large modern taproom with outdoor space that hosts live music. The beer lineup includes sours like gose and Berliner Weisse, brown ale, kolsch, and wheat beer.
Beer to Try: Breathin’ Hazy is a refreshing New England-style IPA.
Other Alabama Breweries
Singin’ River Brewing, Florence
Singin’ River Brewing was the first to open in Florence and gets its name from the legend surrounding the area’s music history. Opened by a husband and wife team who moved back to the area after years away, they incorporate as much of the Shoals as possible, including in the name of their beers. The taproom is open Tuesday to Saturday from 4 pm and for tours on Saturday at 5 pm.
In their stable of beers is mostly ones named for musicians and other bits of pop culture. Handy’s Gold is named for area native W.C. Handy while Codachrome is named for a Paul Simon song recorded here. The Swamper is a porter that was the nickname for the musicians that played backup for many recording sessions.
Beer to Try: Handy’s Gold is a clean, drinkable golden ale.
Common Bond Brewers, Montgomery
Montgomery doesn’t yet have a large craft beer scene like other Alabama cities but Common Bond is one of the best. They have a family-friendly taproom attached to a pizzeria with a fenced yard with lawn games.
They have a little bit of everything, including IPAs, amber, and pale ales. Common Bond also has Belgian-inspired brews like the tripel. The taproom is open Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 10 pm, Friday and Saturday from 12 to 10 pm, and Sunday from 12 to 6 pm.
Beer to Try: The brown ale is light and easy drinking with a nutty flavor.