Side trip to Huntsville
A hundred miles north of Birmingham, there’s a brewery boom occurring in Huntsville. Straight to Ale (3200 Leeman Ferry Road) in the Olde Towne Brewing’s former space, was the first to open a tap room in 2010. Try its Monkeynaut IPA. That same year, Blue Pants Brewery (500 Lanier Road) opened down the road in Madison with a propensity to name beers after styles or common fabrics of pants, including Corduroy IPA and Highwater Tripel. At Yellowhammer (2406 Clinton Ave. W.), brewer Keith Yager brews pan-European-style beers with homegrown sensibilities. Tobacco Road is his hoppy imperial amber designed to actually accompany a stogie. Then there’s Old Black Bear (201 Eastside Square) operating since early 2012. You’ll always find Roaming Bear Porter, but don’t hibernate through the release of the whiskey barrel-aged version. Coming soon, Salty Nut plans to make a sweet potato ale. And Below the Radar Brewhouse (220 Holmes Ave. NE) taps 32 beers but is adding its own brewery to make Black Ops IPA and more.