Gameday Beers of the Week: Iron Bowl
Six-pack beer of the week: Good People Coffee Oatmeal Stout
The high priests of Alabama craft brewing, and the people that started the current wave of support & education about beer in the state, Good People is an easy choice here. You can find their beer in multiple states. They helped pioneer Birmingham’s taproom tourism scene. They were one of the first craft breweries in the south to [almost exclusively] can their beers. And beyond being first to a lot of things, Good People just continues to make good beer. Their Snake Handler IPA was, for a time, perhaps the most highly-regarded, non Cigar City beer in the South. It’s a giant double IPA, so don’t make that the beer you drink all afternoon. Instead, go with their Coffee Oatmeal Stout. It’s finally jacket weather in Alabama on a couple of days out of the week, and while that isn’t “fall chill” exactly it’s a good enough excuse to bust out the dark beers. COS isn’t too heavy — I once chugged an entire can in like nine seconds. There’s video — for going through the whole six-pack. There’s plenty of dark, rich malty flavor & coffee roast, and there’s some creaminess to the mouthfeel thanks to the oats, but not so much of those things that you won’t want to drink multiple cans. And if you’re grilling burgers today? This beer is a no-brainer pairing.
Celebration beer of the week: Straight to Ale Unobtanium
I would only celebrate an Iron Bowl victory with my very favorite beer in the state of Alabama. Unobtanium is a bourbon barrel-aged Old Ale from Hunstville’s strong beer masters, Straight to Ale. This thing tastes like a pantry of baked goods: oatmeal-raisin cookies & dates & hamantaschen cookies & Ho-Hos. But all that sweetness is kept ever so slightly in check by the barrel character. This beer is sweetness all around, but in a malty way, not in an adjuct way. It’s sweet, but not cloying. My favorite bit of complexity is this mint or menthol note that pops up in the midpalate. There’s just so much going on in this 11.5% ABV titan. Any of Straight to Ale’s Laika line of imperial stouts would work very well as a celebratory beer, but I’ll always opt for Unobtanium.
Grandpa beer of the week: Blue Pants Amber Waders of Grain
Not to be confused with everyone’s favorite off-the-sales-rack occasional NXT wrestler, this particular Blue Pants is a small brewery that started in a garage in Madison, AL, outside of Huntsville. They used to name all their beers after styles of pants, and this Wader-inspired beer came from that era. It’s a traditional amber lager, ala Downtown Pub pitcher-staple, Yuengling. It’s maltier than most grandpa beers. Less crisp, [even] less Saaz. But certainly still approachable & crushable.
Alabama beer you can buy in Alabama: Druid City Lamplighter IPA
The finest Alabama gameday experience, for my money, is with frequent glasses — whether from a growler or on-tap in Tuscaloosa, maybe even at the brewery’s taproom — of fresh Lamplighter IPA. I’m biased, I suppose. I’ve tried numerous early versions of this beer, and I’ve bought my weight in pints of it ten times over, and I’m friends with nearly everyone who has worked for Druid City Brewing, so take this recommendation with a grain of salt. This recommendation: I’ll take Lamplighter over any other IPA in the state of Alabama. The malts step in juuuuust enough to let that delicious Falconer’s Flight hop blend shine. I want one right now. It’s ten o’clock in the morning and I want one at this present moment.
Alabama beer to avoid at all costs: Rammer Jammer
It’s not even brewed in Alabama. It’s made in Wisconsin. Stop buying it. It’s a carpetbagger beer. For fuck’s sake, y’all.