By William Barshop and Alyx Chandler

The fall months are sneaking up on us in spite of the persistent, blistering heat, and when those cool evenings finally greet Alabama, having the right beer in hand will once again be essential to the season of relaxation. When Druid City Brewing Company set up shop in Tuscaloosa, honing in on one’s favorite craft beer got a whole lot easier, with a wide variety to choose from at many Tuscaloosa establishments. Just last year, though, the town briefly became a wonderland of beer choices to sip and sniff and ponder at the first annual Brewfest.
Brewfest returns this year with more than 50 vendors offering their unique craft beers Sept. 26 and 27 at the grounds of the L&N Train Station in Downtown Tuscaloosa.
“You get a sample glass when you get there and you can sample as many of the beers as you like,” said Bill Lloyd, the owner of Green Bar and a sponsor of Brewfest. “Most of the breweries bring three or four beers apiece so you have a lot of options.”
Another Tuscaloosa brewery present will be the Black Warrior Brewing Company, found on University Blvd across from City Hall. The company recommends Apricot Wheat for tasters new to the world of craft beer, or the Strawberry Blonde for a balance of malt sweetness and tart strawberry flavors. Every week the brewery showcases a new beer, like the Hefeweizen, a German-style wheat beer with hints of banana and cloves. The company website is great for researching everything from the alcohol content to the color index of each specialty beer.
“We’re trying to feature Alabama breweries,” Lloyd said. “This is craft beer from all over, from California and Colorado, also.”
Last year, Birmingham’s Good People Brewing Company was a hit at the event with their Coffee Oatmeal Stout and Snake Handler impressing aficionados and amateurs in equal measure.
Greg Moore, local graphic design professional in addition to a photographer for Work Company of America, wasn’t able to attend last year, but is excited to get a chance to this year.
“I’d be called a beer lover, I’d say,” Moore said. “That is sure worth $30.”
Moore said he’s a huge fan of the growing enthusiasm for local beer in the Tuscaloosa community.
“Getting together with friends and trying out new beers, I love it. I can exhibit mini reviews while hanging out with friends,” Moore said. Tuscaloosa has two major brewing festivals, this one in the Fall and one in the Spring, although he hopes the amount of festivals continues to grow to match the constant flow of new varieties of flavors of other metro areas around the country.
“They’ve been doing a pretty strong job so far, I don’t see why they can’t continue,” Moore said.
“If you don’t know craft beers or need to find the style you want—be it IPA, Pilsner or a stout, you can find it there,” said EJ Hardin, a communications student at the University of Alabama. He also brews his own wine and beer at home, and loves experimenting with different tastes and flavors.
After attending the Alabama Brewfest last year, he was impressed by the great atmosphere and selections from across the country and state. As Hardin said, “A lot of fun people who enjoy beer,” what’s better? Paired with a “noteworthy price,” it makes for a perfect night. Nothing like drinking more than one’s fair share to make an outing memorable.
Between enthusiasts like Hardin and newcomers like Moore, the crowd at Brewfest will be both easygoing and knowledgeable, perfect for anyone who likes to sit back with a good beverage. The event promises to be a fun way to spend an evening on Friday or Saturday, with food trucks with refreshments from local vendors and live music to keep everyone tapping their toes.
“There will be brewery reps there with all the information on all the different beers,” Lloyd said. “You can talk to people from the breweries and learn a little about beer.”
VIP tickets are available at, which allow a festival-goer to enter an hour before the other guests and get a head start on tasting the vibrant selection of beers. A commemorative Brewfest t-shirt is also included in the package.
Marketing representative Haley Ackerman is fielding volunteers to pour at the festival on Facebook. University of Alabama students can volunteer through their myBama account, granted they are over 21 years of age.
Regular tickets are $30 in advance and $40 at the event, so make plans early to visit Brewfest for a medley of well-crafted beverages and excellent company.

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