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Sep 2, 2009 03:56 PM

Brew Pubs in Birmingham, AL?

I'm relatively new to the Birmingham, AL area.

Now that the hops have been freed (local legeslative change that allows the sale of beer with an alcohol content greater than 6%), I'm wondering if anyone has any local brew pub or mircrobrewery recommendations. I have family coming to visit, I'm a transplanted Canuck and we're looking for the ultimate Southern food and beverage experiences!

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  1. To my knowledge, there are no real brew pubs here in town.

    Dave's is a great bear bar as is J Clyde's (i don't like the food there) but neither brews their own beer.

    Good People Brewing Co beers (a local craft brewery) serves at a number of places in town.

    Their small brewery is in five points by the Five Points Grill.

    Rogue has a nice selection of beers and halfway decent food (I liked the bleu sliders).

    1. We have a long way to go before the hops are freed. Absurd brewpub restrictions are still in place which makes it very difficult to open a brewpub. There only two brewpubs operating in the state right now, and neither of them is in Birmingham.

      To my knowledge, The J. Clyde has the best selection of Good People beers and is carrying every available Good People brew. The Clyde also has probably the best overall beer selection in town. I think the kitchen also puts out some decent, and occasionally very good food, assuming it's the type of food you're interested in.

      Disclaimer: I work at the Clyde, although I did spend plenty of money there before I was an employee.

      8 Replies
      1. re: bovinekid

        Maybe i need to give the food another shot. What do you consider their strengths?

        1. re: Dax

          There is some decent stuff on the dinner menu, but the real strengths I think are on the pub food menu. Then again, I haven't had most of the dinner menu items. The chicken fingers are some of the best in town, though I'm not a chicken finger connoisseur. The last time I got a burger, it was fantastic. The sweet potato fries are rather delicious as well. I usually manage to skip most of that stuff when I'm working, for health reasons. However, I find Jone's desserts to be irresistible and generally have to try whatever special she's baked for the week.

          1. re: bovinekid

            I'm the last person to order chicken fingers...unless I'm at the Clyde. They really make for great pub fare.

            1. re: bryantuga

              Thank you both. I had been avoiding the Clyde lately if I was in the mood for beer and food.

              1. re: Dax

                I stopped in last night for two beers and to try the chicken fingers. I'll admit that I set the bar high on strips (the 1-2 times per year I tend to eat them) because my parent's old meat and three had some of the best strips around. I know because I must have cooked about 20 baskets a day personally for about 6 out of the 8 years I worked there. But after eating so many back then too, I rarely eat fingers now.

                Anyway, the fingers are pretty good but perhaps the oil was a little off or they were a little overcooked as they tasted slightly burnt. However, they were still pretty good and definitely freshly battered (thinly) and fried to order which puts them above 95% of other local places.

                For sauces, they have honey mustard (which I typically abhor after years of eating it at my parents' place) and ranch. Both were better than expected - not sure if house mixed or not. The ranch was thinner than expected, which I prefer, and the honey mustard was the more Gulden-honey mix rather than the lighter, mayo-based French honey mustard. We used to mix our own honey mustard at first and it tasted like that, rather than the Sysco pre-mixed mayo-based honey mustard we served in later years. I have no idea if Sysco makes a Gulden-honey mix now.

                On the advice of the waiter, I went with the "steak fries" over the sweet potato fries. I rarely like sweet potato fries. Anyway, they fries were actually more like half rounds (I think?) and they were browned and in between crispy/crunchy and soft, perfect actually. They were a little heavily salted, which was pure awesomeness at first, but got to be too much later into the eatin'. I seem to be a little sensitive to salt, so maybe it was just me. Then again, salt helps sell beers.

                Speaking of which I had the Good People IPA which was a little bland (I like a little more bitter bite) and the Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere, which was better and a little more bitter. I love the beer selection here.

                I'll definitely return to try some more beers. Don't they have beer specials on Thursdays for Happy Hour? Like half-priced?

                1. re: Dax

                  Yes. They also have high gravity Mondays, where you get your first two high gravity draft beers for $5 each. It is a great way to try out some of the new (to us) beers.

                  1. re: Dax

                    Half price drafts (under 6% alcohol) on Tuesdays and Thursdays all day (they don't open until 3). As mentioned above $5 draft high-gravities on Mondays. I think they do have a happy hour discount generally, as well.
                    Not only do they have the best beer selection in town, they also treat them right by not freezing the glassware and using proper glasses for the right beer (tall pilsner glasses for German beers, goblets for Belgians, etc).
                    I personally think they charge too much for their cask beers ($8 for a 20-ounce, $5 for a half Imperial pint), but when you catch them fresh they can be positively sublime.
                    Now if they could only get the new bar area open, which would more than double their number of taps.
                    Man, that Southern Hemisphere is good. Love them hops.

                    1. re: Dax

                      Dax, sounds like I was there when you were, but I wasn't your waiter, because I would never recommend the steak fries over the sweet potato fries. :-)

                      The honey mustard is indeed made in-house. I can't say for sure about the ranch, but I would be surprised if it wasn't since every other dressing we serve is. I agree the fries tend to be overly salted. And you're right about the fingers. When you order them, they are still just strips of plain, raw chicken. Each order is breaded and fried to order.

                      Good People IPA is not my favorite, but I don't feel like it's especially bland. I'm just not a fan of the particular hop profile. A bit too West Coast piney for me.

                      Be glad you weren't there last night (Thursday). After being dead most of the week, it was a mad house last night. Big Daddy got the specials right. Happy hour is every day until 6pm; $1 off any drink.