By the end of another sun-warmed September, the 80-degree weather and inevitable pumpkin spice craze has set in for Tuscaloosa after a long summer. It’s time to get out the crimson sweaters and some locally brewed apple cider—along with a hefty, much-anticipated selection of foam frosted Autumn beer. One of the newer events in downtown Tuscaloosa consists of two 4-hour nights dedicated to sipping local, nationally renowned and even home-brewed beer from Alabama.
If there was a untapped niche for the good ole’ “roll tide” southern folk, it would certainly include of some sort of alcoholic content. Sharing a beer—everywhere from a porch to a dinner table to a bar celebration—is practically a tradition for most people around here. Being only the second year for Alabama Brewfest, the L & N Station area used for the festival was crowded to the brim with second-year festival goers as well as a fresh round of drinkers.
The year’s Alabama Brewfest unleashed an ultimate taste test for such a beer-savvy community, and this September 27-8 was nothing short of a glass-raising success. Friendly community members ranging from 21 to retired ages all mingled over a common love for beer, and there wasn’t a volunteer all night that didn’t have a convincing smile to offer.
The scope of beers varied from hoppy to fruity and coffee-dark to light. The numerous choices offered were impressive for such a new festival. In addition, when everyone’s bellies were too full, there was a guitar-riffing, boot-stomping band to provide just the relaxing atmosphere needed for taste-testing breaks. Delicious local food and free water bottles were also offered, so that people could refuel and start down a fresh line of booths as needed.
There is no better way to kick off the start of a crisp fall then with a “Brewfest” designed tasting glass in hand for the night. Though the Tuscaloosa community isn’t something people always talk about, there is a certain southern etiquette to the sweet, still-too-warm weather that welcomes the newly emboddied support for not only Alabama’s brewing companies, but also for southern regional breweries that have sprouted up over the last few years.
Spending a Friday or Saturday night debating on hoppy IPA’s and tangy, pear-infused ciders is nothing anyone of age can call short of a good time. The Alabama Brewfest 2014 was a well-put together, welcoming opportunity to meet the locally-invested Tuscaloosa community and highly popular brewing companies. A few hours of taste-testing can increase beer knowledge for anyone, so that the next time there are too many delicious drafts at a restaurant, a favorite will be in mind. It’s a well-worth $30, and it’s a cheaper route to deciding personal favorite drafts for a night downtown.
Check out Alabama’s Brewfest next year for the most popular and locally-invested beer choices. No one goes home thirsty. Visit Druid City Brewing Company across from Tuscaloosa City Hall, downtown on 14th Street.

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