• Overview of a bar at a brewery with a white text box in the center that says, "A pint at Twisted Barley Brewing § Jasper, Alabama."
    Alabama,  craft beer

    A pint at Twisted Barley Brewing in Jasper, Alabama

    The story of Twisted Barley Brewing in Jasper, Alabama, means a lot to several people.  However, it may be most important to the city itself as Mason Boren opened the first brewery in his hometown and has been credited with helping revitalize the city’s downtown. Brewery’s history As a 21-year-old, co-owner Mason Boren Googled “how to make beer.” After taking his homebrew to parties and using his Uncle Jim’s equipment, he joined the Tuscaloosa homebrewers club.  Eventually, Boren and his wife Courtney sought advice from the Alabama Small Business Development Center at the University of North Alabama to create a business plan.  Ultimately, the couple sold virtually everything and moved…

  • Overview of a storefront with large wooden sign above windows that says, "Black Warrior Brewing Company." Text across the windows says: "A pint at Black Warrior Brewing § Tuscaloosa, Alabama."
    Alabama,  craft beer

    A pint at Black Warrior Brewing in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

    People are quick to associate Tuscaloosa, Alabama, with the University of Alabama’s Crimson Tide football team.  However, there is a lot more to the city and its history than an iconic football team.  The landscape includes several local landmarks, which the ownership group of Black Warrior Brewing wanted to bring front and center when they opened their brewery in 2013. Brewery’s history In 2011, three friends who worked at the BFGoodrich tire manufacturing plant in Tuscaloosa and shared a love of homebrewing and mountain biking decided to open a craft brewery.  While perfecting recipes, Joe Fuller, Eric Hull, and Jason Spikes met Wayne Yarbrough, who became the fourth member of…

  • Overview of a bar top with a white text box covering the image and text inside that says "A pint at Druid City Brewing § Tuscaloosa, Alabama."
    Alabama,  craft beer

    A pint at Druid City Brewing in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

    There are a lot of ways to measure when a town “has made it.”  For Bo Hicks and Elliott Roberts opening a craft brewery in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, was their way of putting the city on the map.  In 2012, the pair opened Druid City Brewing in a refurbished butcher shop.  Several years later the brewery continues to be an integral part of the community. Brewery’s history Co-owner Bo Hicks began working in craft beer at Hales Tavern on The Strip.  Eventually Hicks and Roberts started homebrewing together.  Like many homebrewers, the duo joked about opening a brewery together.  Eventually Roberts had a friend draft a business plan and the pair…

  • Alabama,  travel

    A guide to Civil Rights sights in Montgomery

    Many cities across the American South have connections to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, but perhaps none more so than Montgomery, Ala.  There are several sights spread across the city, so visitors can choose to see as many or as few places as time permits. It is possible to spend several days diving into the sights around town or see the highlights in half a day.  So whether you are making a daytrip or spending a long-weekend in the city, here is a guide to the city’s Civil Rights sights. Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church (454 Dexter Ave.) Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has connections…

  • Alabama,  travel

    A guide to Hank Williams sights in Montgomery

    The death of legendary country music star Hank Williams is shrouded in mystery.  However, there is no mystery behind visiting some of the most notable sights associated with Williams in his adopted hometown of Montgomery, Alabama. In 1937, Hank, his mother, and his siblings moved to Montgomery from nearby Georgiana.  It was in Montgomery that 13-year-old Hiram Williams started using “Hank” as his stage name.  After winning a local talent show and landing a twice-weekly, 15-minute radio show, Hank dropped out of school in 1939 and began touring with The Drifting Cowboys. He eventually moved to Nashville as his career gained momentum, but Montgomery remained close to his heart.  He…

  • Alabama,  ballparks,  travel

    A Minor League Baseball road trip through Alabama

    People who enjoy baseball, and especially Minor League Baseball, regularly plan their summer vacations around visiting ballparks.  These trips are often based around individual goals, whether it’s to visit new states or new ballparks or to watch top prospects or even the most ambitious goal of seeing all 159 active, affiliated Minor League baseball stadiums. With good timing, visiting all of the Minor League ballparks in Alabama can be done in a matter of four days.  I undertook this adventure earlier this summer with my wife Katie. The Basics Currently, Alabama has three Minor League Baseball teams: the Birmingham Barons, the Mobile BayBears, and the Montgomery Biscuits.  From north-to-south, the…

  • Overview of a small wooden-framed white-and-green-trimmed house with a porch.
    Alabama,  ballparks

    Touring Hank Aaron’s childhood home in Mobile

    It is not every day that a ticket to a baseball game gets people admission to the childhood home of a baseball Hall of Famer.  However, that is precisely what you will find at Hank Aaron Stadium in Mobile, Ala., home of the Mobile BayBears.  In 2008, the city moved the childhood home of Mobile-native Henry Louis (“Hank”) Aaron to the grounds of the stadium that bears his name.  Following a lengthy renovation, the home was re-opened as the Hank Aaron Childhood Home & Museum. History of the home Herbert Aaron, Hank’s father, built the house in 1942.  It initially had three rooms, but the Aaron family gradually expanded the…

  • Alabama,  craft beer

    A pint at Big Beach Brewing Co. in Gulf Shores, Ala.

    Opening a brewery takes a lot of time, effort, and patience.  However, Jim and Julie Shamburger navigated the process relatively quickly to open Big Beach Brewing Co. in Gulf Shores, Ala.  Jim started homebrewing after his daughter bought him a Mr Beer kit, but he quickly advanced and in July 2015 petitioned the city to open a brewery.  Construction of the building was completed and the brewery opened its doors in October 2016. The brewery sits on the corner of East 2nd Street and East 24th Avenue in the Waterway Village District, so it is easily accessible to locals or people coming for a beach vacation.  During a recent visit…

  • Alabama,  craft beer

    A pint at Serda Brewing Co. in Mobile, Ala.

    Opening a brewery is a labor of love for a lot of reasons.  One of the primary reasons is because of the long time it can take for a brewery to go from being someone’s idea to becoming a reality that craft beer lovers can visit. A great example of this process is Serda Brewing Company in Mobile, Ala. The idea started with John Serda and his father Ed in 2013, but did not come to fruition until late in 2017.  The plan started to come together after the father-son duo found a vacant former Goodyear Tire Store in downtown, but even after identifying the building it took several months…

  • Alabama,  craft beer

    A pint at Fairhope Brewing Co. in Fairhope, Ala.

    A town of approximately 15,000 people may not seem like the ideal location for a brewery, but it was precisely the place Brian Kane and Jim Foley thought would be perfect for a brewery.  Just over five years ago, the pair opened Fairhope Brewing Company in Fairhope, Ala.  Not only has the brewery survived for five years, it has thrived and expanded about three years ago. The brewery consists of two buildings, one used exclusively for production and one that serves as a taproom.  The production facility recently had a mural added to it while the taproom sits next door. Local artist Sarah Rutledge Fischer painted the mural, which covers…