When you think of cities with a high number of craft beers, places like Denver, Portland, and Asheville come to mind. What isn’t even on the radar is anywhere in Alabama, a state who, much like my own, had laws preventing sales of alcohol until recently. Some didn’t let you sell on Sunday while others prohibited breweries from selling directly to consumers instead of through distributors. So Huntsville, Alabama might be a surprise to visitors.
But thanks in part to the tech-heavy industries that followed NASA here over the years, craft breweries have also popped up. Now there are beer trails for both Huntsville proper and North Alabama, encouraging visitors to this part of the state to visit them all. I finished the Huntsville trail and am now the proud owner of a bottle opener, which cost me the sum of 10 or so beers…
I was visiting Huntsville for the first time after passing through dozens of times, partially in preparation for the upcoming TBEX conference. After I saw the major sights like the U.S. Space and Rocket Center and other local museums, I buckled down into my “real” research: checking out Huntsville’s beer scene. Thankfully, many breweries are located close together. I started at Straight to Ale and Yellowhammer, located just across a field from one another. Salty Nut is another block or so further. I later drove to some further out of town and in Madison, but you could easily take Lyft.
I couldn’t believe how great the breweries in Huntsville were. Straight to Ale is an institution in its own right, now set up in a former school. They have a full restaurant and taproom, offering their offbeat brews. I loved Yellowhammer’s sour gose and the smells wafting from the adjoining pizzeria. I couldn’t get enough of Mad Malts’ homey vibe. But by the end of my trip, I couldn’t drink another pint. Maybe it was the fact that I was visiting all these places solo and felt like a weirdo or perhaps because I’d maxed myself out on the yeast.
Travelers should give Huntsville, and Alabama, a chance to show them what the South is all about. Beer fans might never leave.
Where to Drink
This is just a short list of Huntsville area breweries, but you can visit many more within an hour or so drive.
- Straight To Ale Brands
- Mad Malts Brewing
- Yellowhammer Brewing
- Green Bus Brewing
- Salty Nut Brewery
- Blue Pants Brewery and Tap Room
- Old Black Bear Brewing Company
- Rocket Republic Brewing Company