Tap Into the Season

Bring on fall with all its discarded leaves, crisp autumn air and crafted beer in cans, foaming glasses and on tap. Here are some of the Bay area’s finest brews, all with distinct flavors and good for what ales you.

Photo by Elizabeth Gelineau

SERDA BREWING | 600 Government St., Mobile

Fan favorite: Surf’s up with the Tidewater
The Tidewater Vienna Amber has a smooth, malty presence without a strong “hoppy” taste but is rather floral and spicy in malt and hop aroma. It is easy drinking at its finest.

In Season: Festbier
Serda’s Festbier is available in 30 barrels from mid-September through fall. The autumn brew is a tawny marzen-style golden lager, medium to full-bodied with a lingering malt sweetness and aromatic malts.


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IRON HAND BREWING | 206 State St., Mobile

Fan Favorite: Wee Heavy stands tall
Wee Heavy is a strong British or Scottish ale, aromatic and delicious. During brewing, the ale of note renders an abundance of sugars in the grain from the second boiling. A lighter beer results much like the ideal blind date — sweet and rich.

In Season: Pumpkin Ale
Start with a crafted blonde ale and mix with homemade pumpkin pie (minus crust) and behold, the Pumpkin Ale. Brewing to serving is a 30-day process. Pie and beer combined, you ask? Yes, it’s that good.

FAIRHOPE BREWING COMPANY | 914 Nichols Ave., Fairhope

Fan Favorite: Fifty One
Regulars at the Eastern Shore’s go-to brewery agree, Fairhope’s Fifty One has a nice hoppy kick without being a heavy beer. Customers enjoy the lighter, refreshing taste. The style is American pale ale, light and with a 5.5 percent alcohol by volume that speaks volumes.

In Season: Judge Roy Bean
The “Judge” is available starting mid-October, from one brewed batch, for about two or three months. It is an American stout of crafted beer, infused with coffee from Fairhope Roasting Company and cold-brewed at the brewery.

OLD MAJESTIC BREWING CO. | 656 St. Louis St., Mobile

Fan Favorite: Coming Soon, a Majestic Blonde
Slated for an October grand opening, insiders predict the brewery’s Majestic Blonde will be its “flagship beer.” The blonde ale is an easy-drinking brew, low but with pleasing hop bitterness, and medium-bodied with low malt aroma. And like all good blondes — spicy with fruity character.

In Season: The Elisa Battle Smoked Porter
Though available all year, Elisa Battle is perfect for fall. The moderately strong beer is a cherry wood molasses porter with crisp cherrywood-smoked flavor invoking campfire memories of the great outdoors.      

BIG BEACH BREWING COMPANY | 300 E. 24th Ave., Gulf Shores

Fan Favorite: Rod’s Reel Cream Ale
Barley, water and hops, oh my! But add a touch of flaked maize, and oh wow: Rod’s Reel Cream Ale is served. This beer, with a smooth cream corn flavor, is a Gulf Shores classic.

In Season: Flight of the Snowbirds, a tourist favorite
The name says it all: Flight of the Snowbirds, a bushwacker-margarita-style beer with chocolate, vanilla, coconut and coffee mixed with stout. It’s popular with extended-stay visitors, our beloved snowbirds.


Fan favorite: Cain and Kazoola
Cain (named for Mardi Gras’s Joe Cain) and Kazoola (named for Africatown’s Cudjoe Kazoola Lewis) leans on hops continuously added during brewing. The pale ale’s intense flavors and aroma derive from bountiful hops that pop.

At press time, Haint Blue’s autumn offerings are unnamed. But big Indian pale ales are scheduled with super favorable, hop-intensified beers in a limited double dry hop run. 

BRAIDED RIVER | 420 St. Louis St., Mobile

Braided River is set to open in December with a line of “take me with you” beers that, the staff says, “Go along no matter where the adventure takes you.” Beer Here Now is one such beer. Predicted to be a strong seller, the brew features low carbs and is a good choice for fall tailgating. Another contender is the IPA Hoppy by Nature, a tropical-style beverage with bright happy hoppy flavors. Cheers!

Photo by Maggie Lacey

Friends in Low Places

Gulf Coast craft breweries collaborate on a small-batch beer to raise money for the Alabama Coastal Foundation

Back in 2012, Fairhope Brewing Company was just an idea on paper, and its founders needed help. The brewmasters at Back 40 in Gadsden offered nuggets of wisdom and advice from hard-earned personal experience. “There’s a real camaraderie in the craft beer world,” says FBC’s Brian Kane, “and we wanted to pay that forward when we had the chance.” As the first brewery in Baldwin County since Prohibition, Fairhope Brewing is the veteran in this neck of the woods. However, a new batch of high-quality breweries have opened their doors in recent years. These days, FBC’s beer sits on taps alongside beer from Serda’s and Big Beach, while Old Majestic and Braided River are just months away from launching and Iron Hand is serving in their own taproom. It’s a small family of impassioned business people. “We love to talk shop with the other brewers,” Kane says, “and if they can learn from our mistakes and experience, that’s great.”

All six of the aforementioned Alabama Gulf Coast breweries recently gathered at FBC’s warehouse to collaborate on a seasonal brew. The New England Pale Ale, a brew that is citrusy and a little hazy, is now available on taps across town and in cans at local retailers, all to benefit the Alabama Coastal Foundation. “You need good water to make good beer,” reminds John Serda, saying the ACF was a natural fit for this project. After much deliberation and planning, the brewmasters developed their recipe for what has been named “Friends in Low Places” and brewed 30 barrels of this limited edition beer. It is now in cans and kegs across the Gulf Coast and around the state, showing everyone just how great a Gulf Coast craft beer can be.

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