Charlotte and I have been in love with LA (Lower Alabama) for more than a decade. The laid back lifestyle, sugar-white sandy beaches, golf courses, great food and (yes, shopping) have kept us entertained for weeks on end.
Now there's another reason to visit: Beer.
Alabama has begun to embrace the craft brew culture and a real standout is Fairhope Brewing Company in Fairhope, AL. Fairhope is a small town (pop. 17,386) on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay. It's about a 45-minute drive from either Mobile or Gulf Shores.
The small operation headed by partners Brian Kane and Jim Foley, makes a selection of five year-round brews and a series of "occasional" beers distributed in bars and restaurants throughout Baldwin and Mobile Counties, and cases upon cases of bottles to take home with you.
In addition, Fairhope Brewing beers are available on draft in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Huntsville, Montgomery, Auburn, and Pensacola. Distribution has recently expanded to grocery stores (Publix) and beverage outlets.
My two faves are their (Take the) Causeway IPA and I Drink Therefore I Amber. Cute, right? Don't let the names fool you. This is serious craft brew made by people who love and appreciate the brew master's art.
Copious amounts of Citra and Simcoe hops are used throughout the brewing process in this American India Pale Ale. It's got a crisp, clean finish that's great for sipping on a hot summer's day.
This is a smooth, malt-forward beer balanced with a toasted flavor that compliments just about any food - from burgers and pasta, to cheeses and pizza (it's what I always drink when I have the flatbread pizza at the Ginny Lane Bar & Grill in Gulf Shores).
The Boomer Brief gives both of these Fairhope brews 5 Bottle Caps (that's as good as it gets). If you're ever in the area, check 'em out, or do yourself a favor and pick up some at Publix. That's what I always do!
Fairhope Brewing has tours and a Tap Room that's open six days a week. For more details, visit their website:
Fairhope Brewing Company
914 Nichols Avenue
Fairhope, AL 36532