Fearful Symmetries

Witness a machine turn coffee into pointless ramblings...

03 December, 2015

Suds of the South: Montgomery Edition

(Railyard Brewing Co.)

Earlier this month I spent some time in Montgomery, Alabama. I was last there about four years ago and much had changed. While there is still much work to be done, Montgomery is a city on the make. A downtown parking lot where we parked our car in 2011 is now shiny, new apartments and my in-laws informed me that there many more such developments. And it's a sure sign of gentrification that city now boasts a brewpub, Railyard Brewing Company, which seems to have opened not long after our last visit.

It was a bit odd for this Cheesehead to look at a restaurant's beer menu and not see Spotted Cow or Wisconsin Amber or Hopalicious. Instead there were offerings from local breweries such as Black Warrior Brewing Co. in Tuscaloosa; Huntville's Straight to Ale (which seems to really like monkeys and other non-human simians); Avondale Brewing and Good People Brewing Company from the state's largest city, Birmingham; Madison's own (Madison, Alabama, that is) Rocket Republic Brewing Co.; and Back Forty Beer Co. in Gadsden.

There were also suds to be had from breweries that I'd sampled previously but are not distributed in Wisconsin. For instance, there was Lazy Magnolia's (Kiln, MS) tasty Southern Pecan Brown Ale. The more well-known Yuengling and Sweetwater were also on the menu. (Sweetwater 420 was everywhere.)

(Spring Street Saison and Freckle Belly IPA)

Avondale's Spring Street Saison was a fine beer with its lighter body and luscious fruity/peppery yeasty flavors. Railyard's Irish Style Red and Roundhouse Rye were both very good. They had nice malt-hop balances and were quite refreshing in the balmy(?!) 50 degree temperatures.

(Roundhouse Rye and Irish Red)

For reasons unknown, I took to Back Forty. I shocked my wife by ordering a Freckle Belly IPA with my dinner. It was fairly malty for the style and had a preponderance of piney/resiny hop flavors atop more floral ones. (Is there a distinctly southern take on the IPA?) Not being much of an IPX drinker, I found it to be simply OK but I did empty the glass. My post-prandial pint was their Cuban Coffee Stout which I thoroughly enjoyed. The coffee didn't drown out the dark malt goodness, which I appreciated. It was flavorful yet not filling.

(Back Forty's Cuban Coffee Stout)

I'll continue my love for Back Forty in a coming post. But now I want to close with a few sudsy observations from my trek in the South:

--It seems that we here in the Madison area are lucky enough to have more breweries and brewpubs than the entire state of Alabama. If not, then I'd bet it is close. Having said this, Alabama brewing culture is coming to life.

--Alabama brewing culture seems to be concentrated in the northern part of the state. I presume that the larger cities are there. Plus, proximity to Atlanta may have something to do with it.

--Speaking of Atlanta, Sweetwater was not considered a "Premium Draft" beer at a restaurant we went to. Neither was New Belgium.

--From what I could tell, most Alabama breweries don't bottle.

--Brown ales were prevalent which made it seems like it was the 90s all over again. Lazy Magnolia's Southern Pecan Brown Ale might be the Spotted Cow of the South.

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|| Palmer, 2:58 PM


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