A Quick Preview of Magic City Brewfest
Birmingham is an awesome city, and there are a lot of awesome things to do here. However, there is one event in particular that I must attend every year. Annually, around the first of June, Historic Sloss Furnaces becomes the home of the Magic City Brewfest. For the last eight years, Free the Hops has presented our great city with a weekend filled with Craft Beer, live music, and local cuisine. The 2014 Magic City Brewfest, held on June 6th and 7th, will be no different.
First let’s start with the food. A bunch of local restaurants will provide Craft Beer enthusiasts with a great selection of grub. Saw’s Street Kitchen, J. Clyde, Carrigans, and Melt are just a few of the eateries that will be on hand. If you have been anywhere near Avondale, you’ve at least had the pleasure o f smelling the fantastic BBQ produced by Saw’s. I say at least smelling, because the “cozy” little place can be almost impossible to get into on a nice weekend. J. Clyde on the other hand, usually has an ample amount of seating. If you’re a Craft Beer fan in the Ham, then I know you’ve visited J. Clyde. They are home to one of the best beer selections you’ll find, they have pretty good food too. Carrigans is a relatively new place on Morris Ave. You’ll know you’re in the right place when you see the bar that’s made from an old SUV. With a nice beer menu and killer pub food, this place is a good time. Last but not least is Melt, the grilled cheese food truck. With menu items like Southern Comfort, a sandwich that includes cheddar, bacon, caramelized onions, pulled pork and southern style BBQ sauce served on sourdough, how can you not be hungry? Needless to say, if you can put your sampler glass down long enough, you’ll have plenty of food options.
On to the live music. Included in your price of admission is the opportunity to enjoy some live tunes. Both Friday night and Saturday, two bands will perform. If you’re like me, then Friday night is your night of choice. The stage will be occupied by Buggaboo, and Low Down Dirties. The Austin, Texas based band Buggaboo will fill your ears with a unique mix of Rock, Soul, Country and Blues. Be prepared for some slide guitar. Also on Friday, Low Down Dirties, a Birmingham based Rock group will be playing. If you prefer to join the Saturday session, you’ll be in for a treat too. Hailing from the Muscle Shoals area is The Valley Roots. Their blend of Rock, Funkadelic and Soul is definitely something to be heard. Saturday also includes another group from the Shoals area, Aaron Blades Band. Led by Singer/songwriter Aaron Blades, this band packs each song full of soulful vocals and awesome guitar riffs. Brewfest focuses on Craft Beer, but don’t forget about the music.
Last but definitely not least is the beer. This is a section of the column that could go on for miles, but I’ll try to only hit the highlights. There is going to be beer, lots and lots of beer. Over 200 unique brews are going to be available. Some will be more rare than others, and some will only be available at Brewfest. Last year J. Clyde sponsored the Alabama Cask Garden, this year will be no different. Very rare firkins from some of our local breweries will be available, and if it’s anything like last year, you’ll want to check it out! Aside from that, almost every brewery in Alabama will be on hand to let you sample some of the best brews the South has to offer. That includes one of our newest breweries, Singin’ River Brewing, from the Shoals Area. (With the musical guests, the Shoals will be very well represented) Of course there will be a lot more than just local beer. Some of my favorite beers from around the country will be available. Ok, I’m about to give you a list of beers, not from Alabama, that you need to try. Here are a few in alphabetical order:
Ballast Point Brewing, Sea Monster
Clown Shoes Beer, Chocolate Sombrero
EvilTwin Brewing, Even more Jesus
Founders Brewing, Centennial IPA
Green Flash Brewing, Palate Wrecker
Lagunitas Brewing, Lil Sumpin
River Dog Brewing, Chocolate Rye Porter
Southern Tier Brewing, Iniquity
Victory Brewing, Storm King
Westbrook Brewing, Mexican Cake
Again, that was just to name a few. The coolest thing about a Brewfest is that you can sample everything. The bad thing about a Brewfest is that you quickly get to a point where you can’t remember exactly what something tasted like. Try those on the list before you sample too many.
This is the first year since Prohibition that we are able to Homebrew. That being said, if you choose the Saturday session, you’ll have the opportunity to check out some Homebrew demonstrations from The Carboy Junkies.
If you’re a fan of Craft Beer, or just a fan of Alabama, you need to visit this year’s Magic City Brewfest. Craft Beer is more than just a beverage, it’s community. Be part of our community, and always remember, Bham Rocks!