Taproom Talk: Straight to Ale in Huntsville, Alabama
In this edition of Taproom Talk, I sat down with Matt Broadhurst, Operations Manager at Straight to Ale in Huntsville, Alabama. As our conversation unfolded and the tap room opened, a few regulars also chimed in. This very well could be the most entertaining Taproom Talk interview I’ve conducted to date as I not only learned more about Straight to Ale but also the local Huntsville food and craft beer scene through the eyes of many locals.
What’s behind the name – Straight to Ale?
From the song “Straight to Hell” by Drivin’ n Cryin’. Our owner, Dan Perry, was having a hard time coming up with a name. He was at a Drivin’ n Cryin’ show, and it came to him.
Why did Dan Perry open the brewery?
Because he’s dumb.
Stylistically, how would you describe Straight to Ale’s beer?
We don’t do much style wise. Our beers run the gamut. We’ll brew anything once. If it doesn’t work, we have no problem dumping beers.
What’s your most popular beer?
What beer do you produce that you wish more people would try?
I wish more people would try Bro Joe. It’s a Belgian Dubbel. We take it to beer festivals and people are like, “This is so good. How come I’ve never heard of it before.” We tell them it’s kegged all year round. They’re afraid of a style they don’t know.
What sets Straight to Ale apart from other breweries in Huntsville?
Our dedication. We have three brewers that work 70 plus hours a week. It’s not because they’re trying to stretch out a paycheck – it’s because they’re dedicated to the craft.
What excites you about the Huntsville beer scene?
Here’s the thing about Huntsville. There’s eight functioning breweries and every one of them is doing something different. Yellowhammer leans to Belgians. We run the gamut. It’s exciting to see what others are doing. I always know I’ll get to try something different.
What’s on tap for the future of Straight to Ale?
The new production facility and growing the brand. Expanding out barrel aged and sour program. Spirits, mead.
TWG Comment – I had a sneak peak of the new facility at Campus No. 805. It’s going to be epic.
What’s an awesome local beer festival that is worth traveling to Huntsville for?
We do one that’s called Highway to Ale. We have 47 taps and each one has a unique beer from us.
>>>Want to read more about Straight to Ale? Check out my article on CraftBeer.com<<<
What restaurant would you recommend to out of town visitors that only the locals know about?
Rosie’s for Mexican food. 1892 East. Nick’s for Italian. Blue Plate Café. Terry’s Pizza. Any of the food trucks.
TWG Comment – This was more a summary of what was being shouted at me by the taproom patrons. I can vouch for 1892 East for upscale food and an excellent tap list (they pour everything in proper pints). I’d also second Blue Plate Café for a true Southern breakfast (order the chicken fried steak).
What’s your favorite local food and beer pairing?
TWG Comment – The head brewer of Straight to Ale, Drew Stanford, joined us at this point.
Matthew Broadhurst – Hotbox Food Truck’s lamb tacos and a Bro Joe. They’re pretty excellent together. (The taproom agreed)
Drew Stanford (Head Brewer(– The thing with Hot Box is they use our beers a lot in their cooking.
Matthew Broadhurst – He braised the lamb in our Lilly Flag Milk Stout. They had a nice sweetness to them that goes amazing with a Bro Joe.
Drew Stanford – Then he made a queso with Lilly Flag, too. The color was weird but the flavor was awesome.
What beer bar would you recommend for exploring the regional beer scene?
Liquor Express because of the amount of taps. Wish You Were Beer does a great job of assembling cool, local beers. The Nook was the original craft beer bar in town. Their new back bar is going to have only Huntsville taps.
TWG Comment – I stopped into all three of these bars. They are pushing the envelope of craft beer bars more than anything found in my hometown of Charlotte, which has a more than legitimate beer scene.
Want to read more about my craft beer exploration of Huntsville? Sign up for The Wandering Gourmand Newsletter!
Where can craft beer fans buy your beer both locally and beyond?
All throughout Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee. In Georgia from Atlanta proper and north.
YOUR TURN!!! What food and craft beer travel tip for Huntsville, Alabama would you add to this list?
*Special thanks to Straight to Ale for hosting me in their taproom. I had a great time getting to know the team and tasting their beers.