In the past few years, the brewery scene in Birmingham has really skyrocketed. Craft beer is no longer a second option, it’s not seen as “fussy” or “fancy.” Local breweries have become places to relax and grab a beer with a friend, or a spot to settle in with your pup and groove to some low-key live music.
Expand your palette with IPAs, kettle sours, brown ales and more. Testing the water (err… the hop-infused water) at local breweries is a great way to learn about what kind of flavors you prefer and the styles of beer you really enjoy. Birmingham breweries are exceeding expectations with their increasingly speedy output of new beer styles and flavors, sometimes weekly.
Taste for Yourself
Interested in taking a spin around the Magic City and seeing the city the brewery way? Lucky for you, I did some very sophisticated and high-level brewery research to help you out. I’ve mapped out a pretty well-structured order in which to visit the breweries, with a quick jaunt out to Trussville for the newcomer on the scene, Slagheap Brewing.
As always, please make sure you have a designated driver if you plan to consume alcohol — especially if you plan to be hopping around town drinking beers.
The Great Birmingham Brewery Tour
Stop #1: Cahaba Brewing
- Seasonal Beer: Cahaba currently has a few special beers on tap. The Oktoberfest beer is a fall seasonal, but they also have a beer called DD’s Cherry Hibiscus Sour, which benefits the Breast Cancer Research Center of AL, and one called Sweet Lady IPA $1 of which goes to Ales for ALS.
- Atmosphere: Relaxed, open, laid back. They have TVs for sports as well as skee ball and arcade games.
- Upcoming Events: Bham Now’s BOLD Speaker Series: Sarah Parcak. RSVP here. (There will be beer and free tacos… how can you say no?)
- Fun Fact: The brewery is housed in an old depot building.
Stop #2: Avondale Brewery
- Seasonal Beer: Avondale currently has a Märzen Oktoberfest beer on tap, but their sours are what they are brewing and selling right now.
- Atmosphere: Relaxed, fun, dogs everywhere. Because Avondale has a large patch of grass in their patio (which feels more like a friend’s backyard), this is an extra dog-friendly place to be.
- Events: Magic City AIDS Walk on October 14.
- Fun Fact: Avondale Brewery also has a separate Sour Room for their sour beers. It is located in the parking lot adjacent to the brewery, next to Wasabi Juan’s.
Stop #3: Back Forty Beer Company
- Seasonal Beer: High Hazard Tropical DIPA, a summery double IPA with coconut and pineapple. Great for the hot beginning days of Fall!
- Atmosphere: Back Forty boasts a full restaurant as well as an on-site brewery. Get the fries. Thank me later.
- Upcoming Events: Boos and Brews benefitting Mitchell’s Place on October 23.
- Fun Fact: This brewery has 2 locations. The original location is in Gadsden, and the Sloss Docks location is their second.
Stop #4: Slagheap Brewery
- Seasonal Beer: Nothing on tap yet, but we’ve been told that they are working on a brew made with locally-grown Golden Kiwis!
- Atmosphere: While Slagheap is the smallest brewery, the vibe was very cool. Joe Meadows, the owner, was front and center engaging with customers in the stylish subway-tiled taproom.
- Upcoming Events: The brewery often hosts food trucks, like the new hand-pies truck, The Anatomy of Pi.
- Fun Fact: Meadows supplies beer to the bakery across the street, Great Harvest Bread Company, where the baker makes bacon-cheddar-beer bread. I’ve heard great things about this bread.
Stop #5: Ghost Train Brewing
- Seasonal Beer: Ghost Train has been serving their cheesecake series for a little while, and their Peach Cobbler is another delicious play on a fruity, cinnamon-y dessert.
- Atmosphere: Comfortable, with sofa-style seating outside and a stage inside for live music.
- Upcoming Events: Redemptive Cycles’ Tall Bike Joust on October 13.
- Fun Fact: Ghost Train now distills their own gin and vodka – you can order a spirit next time you stop in!
Stop #6: Trimtab Brewing
- Seasonal Beer: The Holiday Now Cranberry Spice beer is a seasonal play on their fan-favorite beer, the Raspberry Berline Weisse Paradise Now.
- Atmosphere: The brewery showcases and sells art from local artists and plays old-school movies on the projector screen. They host DJs regularly and have a selection of board games for guests.
- Upcoming Events: Tour de Brewers XIII – Oktoberfest Edition on October 20.
- Fun Fact: The 205 Pale Ale was just named the best beer in Alabama!
Stop #7: Good People Brewing Company
- Seasonal Beer: Mumbai Rye IPA, a classic Fall IPA from Good People that was just released this season.
- Atmosphere: Picnic tables outside encourage outdoor relaxing. They also have giant Jenga games for guests to play. The location is right across the street from the Baron’s stadium, which brings a fun atmosphere to the area.
- Upcoming Events: Paints and Pints on November 7.
- Fun Fact: Good People is the oldest brewery in the state of Alabama.
Stop #8: Red Hills Brewing
- *Note: Red Hills is currently closed for renovations.*
- Seasonal Beer: Caught in the Rye IPA, a refreshing and light IPA perfect for Fall!
- Atmosphere: Laid back and family friendly. Play darts or drink your beer in a one of a kind wooden booth.
- Upcoming Events: No events on the schedule, but Red Hills is always open to scheduling you and your friends or co-workers for your next big gathering.
- Fun Fact: “Sal” the Salamander is the brewery mascot.