9 reasons True Story Brewing Company in Crestwood Village is truly fabulous

Woman drinking beer
When I walked in, patron Sarah Black immediately told me what a big fan she was of Bham Now, so of course I had to take her picture. Photo by Sharron Swain for Bham Now

A few weeks ago I did a story on Crestwood Village and completely missed the fact that a) True Story Brewing Company is there, and b) it’s one of the coolest kids on the block.

Luckily, our awesome Bham Now readers quickly schooled me (thank you!!), so today I made a trip out to True Story to see what I was missing. Turns out, quite a lot. Read on for the full scoop.

1—Craig Shaw was the original brewmaster at Avondale Brewing Company, and now he’s set up his own microbrewery

Craig Shaw at True Story Brewing Company
Craig Shaw is a man who knows his beer—lucky for us. Photo by Sharron Swain for Bham Now

This guy knows his beer, and it shows. Almost a decade ago, he was the original brewmaster at Avondale Brewing Company and stayed in that gig for 4.5 years.


4.5 years ago he left to venture out on his own . . . which brings us to True Story. Named with a nod to the fact that when you sidle up to the bar, everything you say from that point forward may or may not actually be a true story, this little place has been brewing since December 2018.

Craig’s wife Anna, his biz and life partner, says they’ll definitely have some kind of first birthday celebration. And, they’re hoping to expand the operation, so stay tuned.

2—It’s cool to see the hand-welded kegerators, tanks and an X-wing fighter

Kegerator at True Story
Kegerator was my new vocab word for the day. Photo by Sharron Swain for Bham Now

In a past life, Craig was a welder, so he put his skills to good use creating things like kegerators. Yes, that’s a thing. Keg+refrigerator. Get it?


Hand-welded tanks at True Story Brewing Company
Hand-welded tanks. Photo by Sharron Swain for Bham Now

He also welded these tanks in the room where he brews his tasty offerings.

X-wing at True Story
An X-wing fighter. Hand welded, too, of course. Photo by Sharron Swain for Bham Now

And, because he’s a Star Wars fan, of course he made an X-wing fighter, just for fun.

3—True Story brews some tasty beers, and a porter float!

Draft menu at True Story
Today’s draft menu. Photo by Sharron Swain for Bham Now

Seriously. Craig was kind enough to let me try three. The first was the Saison (yum), second was the Porter (deelish), and third was his yet-to-be-named lower percentage alcohol-by-volume brew that was super-refreshing.


Since he’s still coming up with a name for that last one, I suggested he call it either “The Designated Driver,” “Cheap Drunk,” or “The Lightweight.” What do y’all think?

Adult float
Okay so it’s not actually National Ice Cream Day, but that float. Photo from True Story Brewing Company via Facebook

Because they like to have fun with their brews, the folks at True Story teamed up with their neighbors at Crestwood Pharmacy to come up with an “adult float.”

This “Prescription Porter Float” sounds and looks amazing, and judging by how good the porter was on its own, I can only imagine.


4—They’ve got some yummy food, whether you’re looking for lunch, dinner or the occasional brunch

Menu
The all-day-every-day menu. Photo by Sharron Swain for Bham Now

Don’t think of this as just a place to stop by after work for a beer. They’ve got regular fun food offerings for the lunch and dinner crowd, plus the occasional brunch. Hot dogs, anyone?

They also have tacos and other tastiness. Follow them on Instagram for sneak previews of their current offerings.

5—True Story is chock-full of made-in-Crestwood art

Train
Train by Paul Cordes Wilm. Photo by Sharron Swain for Bham Now

If you’re familiar with the Brothers Wilm, it takes about 30 seconds to realize they’ve made their mark here, along with other local Crestwood artists.


According to Anna Shaw, they plan to have regular showings of local artists. Plus, some of this art is a permanent part of the landscape at True Story.

Artwork by Peter T. Wilm.
Peter T. Wilm’s artwork is recognizable anywhere. Photo by Sharron Swain for Bham Now

6—Third Thursdays help build community in Crestwood

Third Thursday
Third Thursdays. Graphic from True Story Brewing Company via Facebook

Not content to brew good beer and serve tasty treats, True Story is also devoted to building community in Crestwood.

Together with partners in Crestwood Village, they’re bringing monthly Third Thursdays to the area, with bands, food, giveaways, and drink specials.


Follow True Story Brewing Company on Facebook and mark your calendar for the next one in October.

7—True Story got the zoning ordinances changed to become Birmingham’s first brewpub in a retail space, and others soon followed

Alabama Brewers' Guild
True Story is part of the Alabama Brewers Guild. Graphic from Facebook

While I was chatting with Craig, I learned that they were the city of Birmingham’s first brewpub in a retail space. Turns out they had to change some zoning ordinances to get with the times. They had help from a few elected officials and the Alabama Brewers Guild, too.

As soon as it happened, others followed suit, and now a few other breweries have become brewpubs. What this means for you and me? You can get a few small batch craft beers brewed on site and still choose from other local favorites. It’s a win-win.


8—Soon True Story Brewing Company will have an awesome back patio

Back patio
Soon the back patio will be ready. Photo by Sharron Swain for Bham Now

They’re working hard to get this space ready for people to enjoy when it’s less than 100 degrees outside every.single.day.

9—True Story Brewing Company even has a Neighborhood Beer Bank where you can pay a beer forward for your neighbors

Neighborhood Beer Bank at True Story Brewing Company
Way to make someone’s day. Photo by Sharron Swain for Bham Now

This pretty much sums up the ethos of True Story Brewing Company. It’s a sweet little neighborhood place where you can spend some time with your friends, make some new friends, and pay a beer forward.


True Story Brewing Company is located in Crestwood Village right next to Crestwood Coffee. Mondays are a half-day, with hours from about 5:30PM to 10PM. Every other day of the week, they’re open roughly from 11AM to 10PM. You need to stop by this fabulous little gem and see for yourself. You might want to call first to check on the times: (205) 593-4144.


Follow them on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to see what they’re offering at the moment, and plan to visit them on Third Thursdays (or pretty much any other day of the week)!

Author: Sharron Mendel Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference