Alabama Brewers Guild Celebrates 10 Years of Change with Release of Bitter Constituent IPA

artworkThe Alabama Brewers Guild has announced that it will recognize the 10th anniversary of the passage of the Gourmet Beer Bill – along with all members of Free the Hops, the homebrewers of Right to Brew, and the multitude of other advocates who made a true craft beer experience possible in Alabama – with the release of their fifth collaboration beer, Bitter Constituent, on January 12.

Not too long ago, the idea of craft beer in the state of Alabama seemed like more of a dream than anything else.  Local breweries were almost non-existent, beer was restricted to 6% ABV, large format bottles were illegal, and homebrewing was outlawed.

After several years of attempts, hope finally arrived in 2009 when the members of Free the Hops – a grassroots non-profit consumer advocacy organization focused on changing the hostile laws restricting the beer community in Alabama – rallied enough legislative support to pass the Gourmet Beer Bill and raise the ABV limit to 13.9%.  This change was just the spark the area needed as it inspired local brewers to step out of the shadows to open their own breweries in Alabama and enticed respected breweries from all over the world to seek distribution in the state.  As beer shelves and taps quickly filled across the state, that spark caught fire and shined a bright light on those willing to raise their voices for change.  At long last those cries were being taken seriously and led to a rapid succession of legislative accomplishments: the Brewery Modernization Act in 2011, allowed for “breweries to sell on-premises like a brewpub, or to wholesalers, or to both, and removed the crippling restrictions which prevented new breweries and brewpubs from opening”; the Gourmet Bottle Bill in 2012, legalized the sale of bottles up to 25.4 oz./750ml and opened the door for the acceptance of growlers in Alabama; and the Alabama Homebrew Legalization Bill in 2013, Right to Brew – a grassroots homebrew legalization organization – sees their efforts come to fruition as homebrewing in Alabama is legalized.  With these new laws in place, the Alabama craft beer community has since grown to become one of the most welcoming in the country.

“Over the last decade, groups like Free the Hops and Right to Brew have pushed for legal changes to make the craft beer industry possible and viable in Alabama. They showed how ordinary people can come together to enact real change.”

 

– Dan Roberts, Alabama Brewers Guild Executive Director

Recognizing that the work of Free the Hops, Right to Brew and throngs of other passionate beer lovers in Alabama should never be forgotten, the Alabama Brewers Guild has decided to use these groups as the inspiration behind their upcoming collaboration beer.  Arriving as the fifth release in the Guild’s Capital Series, Bitter Constituent (7.5% ABV) is an American India Pale Ale brewed with “a one-time, special recipe developed by Guild members and made with five different hop varietals.” This recipe was executed by several brewers in the Alabama Brewers Guild on December 4, 2018, at the recently-opened Common Bond Brewers in downtown Montgomery.  Bitter Constituent was made possible with the help of the following sponsors:  Baker Street DigitalCountry Malt GroupCrowler NationResource Label GroupWhite Labs, and Yakima Chief Hops.

Developed in cooperation with the Alabama Bicentennial Commission, the Alabama Brewers Guild Capital Series is a series of limited release collaborations that “celebrates each one of Alabama’s five historic capitals, culminating with Montgomery in 2019, the 200th anniversary of Alabama’s statehood.”  Previous releases in the Capital Series acted as tributes to St. Stephens | St. Stephens Stout (2015); Huntsville | Badlun Brothers Imperial Porter (2016); Old Cahaba | Mulberry Road Belgian-Style Dubbel (2017); and Tuscaloosa | Duffie’s Tavern Strong Ale (2018).

“Ten years ago, my dream of bringing craft beer to Montgomery wouldn’t have been possible and, thanks to others paving the way, here I am today, the Alabama Brewers Guild collaboration producer. It’s amazing and humbling.

“We have the best fans in the world. Not only are they loyal customers and evangelists for craft beer, they are also dedicated advocates. We owe them everything.”

 

– Andrew McNally, President & Co-founder of Common Bond Brewers

Bitter Constituent will debut at 3 p.m. on Saturday, January 12 with a release party at Common Bond Brewers that “will include the opportunity to meet craft brewers from around the state and to win brewery gear in a door prize raffle.”  This event is free to attend, and Bitter Constituent will be available for purchase “in the taproom and in on-demand, to go packaging” (a.k.a. crowlers).  Bitter Constituent will also see limited availability at select craft beer-friendly establishments in Alabama shortly after the launch party.  Prost!

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Members of the Alabama Brewers Guild participating in the annual collaboration beer brew day, held on December 4, 2018, at the recently-opened Common Bond Brewers in downtown Montgomery. (Photo credit: Holly Rainey)

 

 

 

Alabama Brewers Guild Continues Capital Series with Limited Release of Duffie’s Tavern Strong Ale

ABGDuffiesThe Alabama Brewers Guild has officially announced that it will soon hit the Alabama craft beer community with the fourth release in its Capital Series, Duffie’s Tavern Strong Ale.

The Capital Series is a line of annually released collaboration beers brewed by members of the Alabama Brewers Guild “to bring attention to Alabama’s 200th year of statehood, and to promote local historical and preservation organizations.”  Each year’s release is specifically designed to honor and celebrate one of Alabama’s five historic capitals.  Previous limited releases in the Capital Series include 2015’s “St. Stephens Stout, paying homage to the territorial capital of Alabama”; 2016’s Badlun Brothers Imperial Porter, named for the men that established Alabama’s first brewery in Huntsville “during the year it served as the temporary capital and Alabama was admitted as the 22nd state”; and 2017’s Mulberry Road Belgian-style Dubbel, brewed to recognize Cahawba as the first permanent capital of the State of Alabama from 1820-1826 and “inspired by the stately mulberry trees lining the streets of the scenic town of Old Cahawba.”

Duffie’s Tavern Strong Ale is the 2018 installment in the Capital Series and has been brewed to recognize Tuscaloosa, which served as Alabama’s capital from 1826 to 1846.  The beer’s name – chosen after a meeting with the Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society – is a nod to the Old Tavern (a.k.a. Duffie’s Tavern), “a historic stagecoach inn and political headquarters during Tuscaloosa’s capital days” and presently a museum located near the city’s Capitol Park.

As far as the actual beer goes, Duffie’s Tavern is a take on “old English ales of the mid-nineteenth century.”  Deep red-orange in color, this “bold and warm” Strong Ale boasts “hints of toffee and dried fruits on the nose, . . . a classic earthy hop presence throughout, . . . [a] rich malt sweetness and a semi-dry, lingering crisp and bitter finish.”

Duffie’s Tavern Strong Ale was created with the assistance of the following sponsors “who provided services, products, and expertise to help [the Alabama Brewers Guild] develop a great beer with authentic flavors”: White Labs, Country Malt Group, Dalton Box, Resource Label Group, Hopsteiner, and Iron Heart Canning Co.

12 oz. cans of Duffie’s Tavern Strong Ale will be hitting shelves any day now and “a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this beer will benefit the Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society.”  You can expect to find this Limited Release at select craft beer establishments located throughout the state of Alabama.  Prost!

Tasting Notes: Mulberry Road Dubbel from the Breweries of the Alabama Brewers Guild

As ABGplate1000_editedTampa Bay Beer Week nears its conclusion, this week’s edition of Tasting Notes finds us taking a liquid journey back home to Alabama via the Mulberry Road Dubbel, a collaboration beer brewed by the many breweries of the Alabama Brewers Guild.

Not too long ago, we informed you all of the release of Mulberry Road as the third installment in the Alabama Brewers Guild Capital Series (click here to read more).  Brewed and released annually as a collaboration between brewery members of the Alabama Brewers Guild, the beers of the Capital Series are crafted to trace the history of Alabama’s five historic capitals with the final beer to arrive in 2019 when the state celebrates its 200th birthday.

For the 2017 Capital Series release, the Alabama Brewers Guild honors Cahawba, the first permanent capital of the State of Alabama from 1820-1826.  Drawing inspiration from “the stately mulberry trees lining the streets of the scenic town of Old Cahawba,” the brewers of the Alabama Brewers Guild created Mulberry Road to be Belgian-style Dubbel that features “the natural sweetness of the mulberry.”  This limited release offering is available now in 12 oz. cans and on draft throughout the great state of Alabama.  Now that we are caught up on the background information, let’s pop this can, get to sippin’ and take some Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Mulberry Road Belgian-style Dubbel from the breweries of the Alabama Brewers Guild

Appearance: Mulberry Road pours a mahogany brown that holds deep red hues that span from dark cherry to garnet.  When presented with direct light, the browns brighten and the beer displays tinges of red-orange. The body is clear and shows off a lazy carbonation presence.  A somewhat aggressive pour produced only half a finger of light tan foam that dissipated almost as quickly as it formed.

Aroma: This beer’s aroma leaves no doubt that this is indeed a Dubbel.  The malts arrive first with a rush of sweet caramel.  The Belgian yeast then takes over with banana and just a touch of clove.  Behind this lies a dark fruit character that is bold and sweet.  I am no expert when it comes to this fruit, but I can only imagine this to be the mulberries introducing themselves.

Taste:  Those signature Dubbel qualities show up first once again as they wash over the palate with a wonderfully restrained level of Belgian sweetness.  Caramel, a dash of cocoa, dark fruit and clove lay down a foundation of flavors sourced from the malts and Belgian yeast.  Behind that lies just a bit of earthy and floral hop tones that blend in subtly with those malt and yeast flavors.  Wandering in at their own pace, the mulberry notes sit high upon this Dubbel base to lend a distinct berry presence that has qualities of sweet and tart blackberries, rich prune and soft plum.

Mouthfeel:  This beer is spot-on medium in body with a medium carbonation level.  Sweet on the palate, this Dubbel has some stick to it but eventually fades away.  The ABV builds a soothing warmth in the throat, but does not hinder the beer’s drinkability.  To allow the drinker the chance to further ponder its flavors, an aftertaste of Belgian yeast qualities and sweet, dark fruits lingers softly behind.

Final Thoughts:  The first thing that must be said about Mulberry Road is that its brewers absolutely nailed the Dubbel style with this recipe.  The essential and easily-recognizable characteristics of the Belgian yeast and malts are wonderfully on point, and the hops only present the needed level of balance that translates as a soft, floral touch.  Second and most importantly, the decision to use this stunning Dubbel base to act as the vehicle for the featured mulberries was ingenious.  The mulberry’s dark, sweet and lightly tart character is more than at home with the dark fruit and yeast esters (banana and clove) already present in the style’s profile.  This union allows the mulberry to be featured, experienced and enjoyed within a beer that is strong and capable enough to not allow those bold flavors and aromas to overpower and run wild.  All is in order . . . calm, sophisticated, interesting, and engaging.  The beer has a soothing voice that softly speaks its intended purpose: to tell a story of Alabama history through the artistic medium of craft beer.  Beautifully done and we simply cannot wait for the next story headed our way from the Alabama Brewers Guild Capital Series.  Prost!

Alabama Brewers Guild Names Mulberry Road as Third Release in Statewide Collaboration Series

Alabama Brewers Guild St Vert FullThe Alabama Brewers Guild has officially announced that Mulberry Road Belgian-style Dubbel will be the third release in their Capital Series, a line of collaboration beers created by brewery guild members throughout the state.

Established with cooperation from the Alabama Bicentennial Commission, the Alabama Brewers Guild created the Capital Series in celebration of the state’s 200th birthday that is fast approaching in 2019.  Launched in 2015, this series traces the story of Alabama’s five historic capitals through the medium of fine, handcrafted beers created by the state’s artisan brewers.  Previous limited releases in the Capital Series were 2015’s “St. Stephens Stout, paying homage to the territorial capital of Alabama”; and 2016’s Badlun Brothers Imperial Porter, named for the men that established Alabama’s first brewery in Huntsville “during the year it served as the temporary capital and Alabama was admitted as the 22nd state.”

The 2017 edition of the Capital Series will recognize Cahawba – the first permanent capital of the State of Alabama from 1820-1826 – with Mulberry Road Belgian-style Dubbel, “inspired by the stately mulberry trees lining the streets of the scenic town of Old Cahawba.”  Since the Dubbel is known for its rich malt complexity and notes of dark fruit, it was the perfect beer style choice to properly showcase “the natural sweetness of the mulberry.”  To add a poetic touch to this release, “Mulberry Road will be produced at Cahaba Brewing (Birmingham, Alabama) with brewers from across the state lending their hand in crafting the beer.”

The release of Mulberry Road Belgian-style Dubbel is slated for January of 2017.  This limited release offering will be available in 12 oz. cans and on draft throughout the great state of Alabama.  A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Mulberry Road will be donated to the Cahawba Advisory Committee for preserving the Old Cahawba historical site.  In addition to Mulberry Road, “many member breweries will also be developing and brewing their own beer styles based on the mulberry for release in their tap rooms.”

What we all need to recognize here is that the Alabama Brewers Guild Capital Series not only provides context to Alabama’s history, but it also acts as a means to preserve the state’s rich and beautiful heritage.  This is certainly something that the craft beer community should rally behind, so be sure to pick up those cans of Mulberry Road in January to support this amazing project.  Prost!

Vital Information for Mulberry Road created by the breweries of the Alabama Brewers Guild

Release – Limited, tentatively scheduled for January 2017
Style – Belgian Dubbel
Added Ingredients – Mulberry fruit

Availability – 12 oz. cans & draft
Distribution – Alabama

Fun Fact – Capital Series Timeline:

  • 2015: St. Stephens, territorial capital from 1817-1819
  • 2016: Huntsville, site of the constitutional convention in 1819
  • 2017: Cahawba, first permanent capital of the State of Alabama from 1820-1826
  • 2018: Tuscaloosa, the state capital from 1826-1846
  • 2019: Montgomery, the state capital since 1846

 

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The Alabama Brewers Guild brewing team for Mulberry Road

 

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Cahaba Brewing’s Eric Meyer adds mulberry juice to the brew

 

 

Alabama’s ABC Board, Proposed Regulation Change & Privacy of Craft Beer Drinkers

_5Xxp2HDThe Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABC) has recently submitted eight proposed changes to rules and regulations, and one of these possible changes has craft beer fans up in arms about privacy concerns.

When Alabama lawmakers legalized off-premise sales of craft beer (growlers & packaged beer) directly from the state’s breweries and brewpubs last session, there was a stipulation within the law that limited these purchases to 288 ounces a day per consumer.  The act of enforcing this limit falls on the Alabama ABC Board and they have proposed a regulation change to aid them in achieving this task.  The problem here is centered around privacy concerns from the craft beer community as the possible change calls for breweries and brewpubs to collect the following data from the purchaser during each off-premise transaction:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Telephone Number
  • Date of Birth

Free the Hops, a grassroots, non-profit organization whose mission is to help bring the highest quality beers in the world to Alabama, has voiced their opinion on their blog (click here to read) and they are highly concerned  that “this rule would essentially empower the ABC Board to come to an individual’s house to confirm his or her purchase of a six pack of beer.”  The Alabama Brewers Guild has also addressed this issue on their blog (click here to read).  Although the Brewers Guild recognizes that the ABC has a job to do, they also believe “there are less invasive ways to ensure compliance.”

If you are concerned about this new proposal, Free the Hops has provided information on how you can help.  Let your voice and opposition to this regulation change be heard by the ABC Board by sending an email to admin@abc.alabama.gov or letter to the following address:

Alabama ABC Board
2715 Gunter Park Drive West
Montgomery, Alabama 36109

All correspondence concerning this issue must be received by the ABC before September 7th, 2016.  Let your voice be heard and keep fighting the good fight, Alabama.  Prost!