Brewery Snapshot – Good People Brewing in Birmingham, Alabama
In this month’s Brewery Snapshot, I dropped into to Good People Brewing in Birmingham, Alabama. Good People Brewing is one of the first breweries that comes to mind when mentioning Alabama craft beer. As Good People Brewing is the oldest operating brewery in Alabama, most consider them to be pioneers in the state’s growing craft beer movement.
While I’ve sipped on several Good People Brewing beers on my various trips to Alabama, my schedule never worked out for a visit to the taproom. That is until our Thanksgiving in Tuscaloosa. On Black Friday, my wife and I drove down to Birmingham for lunch at Miss Myra’s Pit Bar B-Q (best BBQ chicken I’ve ever had) and beers at Good People Brewing.
The Good People Brewing Story
When I say that Good People Brewing is the oldest operating brewery in Alabama, I need to clarify that they were founded in 2008, so they really aren’t that old. And, they are by no means the first brewery in the state. At the time that co-founders Michael Sellers and Jason Malone opened the brewery, there was another operating brewery in Alabama – Olde Towne Brewing in Huntsville. Even Good People Brewing’s original brewery location was home to a now defunct brewery, Southside Cellar Brewing Company.
However, none of that takes away from the enormous feat of opening a brewery in what was probably the least brewery friendly state in the country. When Sellers and Malone started out, Alabama enforced a strict 6% ABV cap on all beer sold in the state, regulators did not permit breweries to operate tap rooms, and laws made it illegal to homebrew. Through efforts from Free the Hops, the ABV cap was removed before Good People Brewing sold their first keg and taprooms were legalized in 2010. Home brewing was finally legalized in 2013, well after the Sellers and Malone got their start as home brewing buddies at Auburn…
Good People Brewing’s Location
Good People Brewing is located in the shadows of downtown Birmingham. While the neighborhood itself isn’t a mecca for entertainment, Regions Field minor league baseball stadium is directly across the street, making Good People Brewing quite the popular spot pre- and post- game. The brewery doesn’t serve food but a food truck is normally parked out front.
There are some beer friendly bars and restaurants about a mile away in the Southside neighborhood. For those looking to brewery hop, TrimTab Brewing and Ghost Train Brewing are the closest breweries about a mile-and-a-half away (I have not been to either).
Good People Brewing Beer
While Good People Brewing has placed a strong emphasis on developing six-core beers – Pale Ale, IPA, Brown, Snake Handler DIPA, Coffee Oatmeal Stout, and Bearded Lady American Wheat – don’t let that sway you from trying something a little more experimental. Besides, most of their core offerings can be found in cans throughout Alabama and Tennessee.
Good People Brewing typically has about 9 or 10 Limited Release or Seasonal offerings on draft, which is what I selected my flight from, except for the Snake Handler DIPA. Definitely include it on your flight. The Snake Handler DIPA was like moonshine meets an IPA. It was hoppy and hot! Also, be on the lookout for bottle releases from the Funk Farm sour series or the Bearded Reserve series (El Gordo Russian Imperial Stout is a fan favorite).
Make it a Beer Weekend!
I can’t say enough about the growing beer scene in Alabama, which is why I suggest planning a beer weekend in Birmingham. There are plenty of great hotels in downtown Birmingham, which is around the corner from Good People Brewing. I recommend the posh Westin Birmingham for its location near the restaurants and shops of Uptown and the historic Redmont Hotel for its killer rooftop bar.
Brewery Snapshot is a monthly column where I review a brewery that I stopped into on my beer journeys but didn’t necessarily have the opportunity to interview the head brewer or owner.
What’s your favorite Good People Brewing Beer?