Alabama,  craft beer

A pint at Green Bus Brewing in Huntsville, Ala.

In downtown Huntsville just off the courthouse square in a former law office is a homebrewer’s dream come true.  It’s not a homebrew store, but Green Bus Brewing.  It is a homebrewer’s dream come true because that’s what happened for Green Bus’s owner Jason Sledd.  In advance of my visit to Huntsville’s first nanobrewery, I happened to hear Jason’s interview with Beer Guys Radio, which shed a lot of light onto his journey from homebrewer to brewery owner (listen to it here).

Back to the Rocket City and the Madison County Courthouse Square, where you find Green Bus Brewing on an idyllic tree-lined street.

Main entrance to the brewery.

When visitors enter the brewery they immediately see a few tables and the bar to the left side with a set of stairs on the right.

An overview of the bar.

Just past the bar are a few more tables.

The side of the bar.

Perhaps the coolest part of the table around the bar is the grain.

A closeup of a table with grains underneath.

There are a variety of grains underneath the glass tabletops, which is cool to see as a craft beer fan.  However, the really unique and fun part is the informational sheets with each type of grain.  For example, in the front right corner of the previous photo you can see black patent malt with details about how the grain is utilized in the brewing process and the different flavors it brings to beer.  So the tables are educational in addition to being decorative.

Speaking of grain, the storage area is just beyond the seating area.  So visitors get a very unique taproom experience when visiting Green Bus Brewing because unlike larger breweries, there is not enough space to separate storage areas for necessities like grain.

Grain storage in the back of the brewery.

The brewery’s size is intentional according to Sledd, who says he aspires to be Downtown Huntsville’s neighborhood brewery and does not have plans to distribute or package his beer.  The nanobrewery concept is new to Alabama, as there have not been others to open just yet.

The story behind the name of the brewery is particularly fun because if you visit the brewery you see artwork that evokes the green bus.  According to Jason’s interview on Beer Guys Radio, he owned an old green Volkswagen bus, and after being ribbed by brewers at another local brewery about what he was going to call his brewery he jokingly replied, “Green Bus Brewing.”  Soon after the teasing about when he was going to open his own brewery began, so when Sledd set his sights on opening a brewery the name was already set.  In homage to the old, green VW bus, which Sledd still owns and occasionally appears at beer festivals around town, the brewery features a variety of pieces depicting a Volkswagen bus.

Now onto the beer, which usually covers a spectrum of styles.  There are usually at least a dozen beers on draft.  So when I visited I saw selections ranging from a milk stout to a double IPA to a blonde ale to an English bitter.  If you want to know ahead of time what is on draft, you can check out the brewery’s beer menu on Untappd.  Whether you’re an experienced craft beer drinker or a newbie, you’ll find a beer that’s just right for your taste buds.

From my visits to the brewery, I’ve had Camper Von Blonde, Sour Pale, Downtown Julie Brown, Schwarzbier, Dominant Red, ESB, and Tiramisu Milk Stout.  All are solid representations of their style, but by far my favorite one is the Tiramisu Milk Stout.  At the name evokes, it is a chocolate and coffee milk stout.  So it’s smooth like a milk stout and checks in at 5% ABV, but it carries the chocolate and coffee flavors you typically find in heavier, boozier stouts.  It was intended to be a seasonal brew, but quickly became the most popular beer so it is now brewed year-round.

Like most breweries, Green Bus does not have a kitchen, but occasionally sells snack items like a build-your-own nacho bar or you can bring in food from any of the surrounding area’s great restaurants.  The taproom has a genuine neighborhood feel, as regulars were quickly recognized and the bartender greeted many customers by name.  So if you’re in Huntsville you should head downtown for a pint or taster of a beer you won’t find anywhere else in the city and visit Green Bus Brewing.

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