Every year the good folks at Free the Hops get together and put on Huntsville's largest brewfest. With hundreds of beers available and a limited amount of time, trying them all is nearly impossible (and severely suggested you do not try). Below are a few of my favorites you should consider checking out. I've taken all of them from the brand new RCBF Build Your Own Beer List. Note: If you're not new to the brewfest or the craft beer community, you may have already had a few of these. It's always nice to remember old friends though.
- No Joka Mocha :: Avondale Brewing - Hailing from our own state of Alabama, Avondale out of Birmingham rarely gets any of their odder brews to the 256 area code. No Joka Mocha is a coffee stout rocking in at under 7% ABV. Using coffee roasted right in Birmingham, the java-heads should love this one.
- Bearded Farmer
McCullough :: Westbrook
If someone asked me what the new "hot thing" was in brewing, I
would probably tell you it was sours. Sour beers are unique and flavorful,
and Westbrook's McCullough is in the Saison style and
has Brettanomyce strains of yeast used to give it a funky, wild
- The Saint :: Crispin - Wait a second, this is a BREWFEST?! Yeah, but that doesn't mean we can't have a little good cider. Crispin makes some of the world’s best cider, and their Saint is fermented with Belgian yeast that really develops strong flowery & spicy flavors. This isn’t your momma's homemade apple cider.
- Fire Fox :: Below the Radar - Bringing things home to Huntsville for a moment, Below the Radar is the newest brewery to bring beer to the Rocket City's tables. Fire Fox is their take on the classic pale ale, just the right crisp carbonation refresher you'll need about this far into our list.
- Vitus :: Wiehenstaphaner - Don't ask me to correctly pronounce it, but this historic brewery produces some of the best to-style German brews available. Vitus is perhaps my favorite beer in the world (I know, a ridiculous statement). A massive "bock strength" dunkel weizen is somehow fruity, spicy, and malty all at the same time.
- Tobacco Road :: Yellowhammer Brewing - Halfway home here in our ten, might as well kick it up a notch with Huntsville's monster Amber ale. Tobacco Road was designed to complement a cigar, and you can tell with its strong malty notes and hints of vanilla.
- Chipotle Ale :: Rogue - Chili pepper beer. That's right, a beer that they toss in some jalapeno's for some extra kick. A truly unique beer experience from the tough guys at Rogue. Consider pairing this one with some of the fantastic food!
- Liberation #4 Smoke Doppelbock :: Straight to Ale, Blue Pants & Yellowhammer - Three breweries for the price of one with this collaboration between Huntsville's best. Take the traditional German doppelbock, and smoke some of the grain used. Gives a sweet candy flavor with rich smokiness. Mmmm.... makes me want BBQ.
- Uber Tart Cherry Berliner - Evil Twin :: We jump across the pond to Coppenhagen, Denmark for this elusive brewery's tart and sour Berliner Weisse. A low ABV German style that is unique and rarely brewed in the United States. And trust me, you're going to want something low ABV for the big finish.
- Gorillanaut - Straight to Ale :: If your tastebuds were still working after those 9 other beers, I doubt the do so after this monster double IPA. Gorillanaut is Huntsville's staple Monkeynaut IPA on steroids. It'll rip the enamel off your teeth.
Of course there are dozens of other fantastic beers and breweries I couldn't mention in this short list. That's the unique quality that Rocket City Brewfest brings: everyone leaves with a fun, yet different, experience.
Remember, please be safe this weekend. Arrange a ride for yourself and anyone you take with you who will be imbibing. Drink plenty of water (it's free, no excuse) and try the delicious food venders. And as always, thank the people pouring the brew for you. They volunteer their hard work and time to make this happen.
See you at Rocket City Brewfest 2013!