It is an unfortunate truth that many Tennesseans regard some of our neighbors to the south as less than friendly. Perhaps it’s a persecution complex, an enduring legacy of a long tradition of gridiron rivalry fueled by fears of more than one Red menace. These things are difficult to understand, but they can’t be good for us over the long haul. Fortunately, there are good people in the world, even in Alabama, people who don’t bear a grudge or worry so much about old wounds at the goalposts. We know this because they evince that most noble gesture of reconciliation and friendship: they share their beer.
In August we celebrate a special bond of foamy communion with our friends in Alabama by sharing the good work of Huntsville’s Yellowhammer Brewing.
Of course, you may know that Alabama itself is called the Yellowhammer State. It takes its name from the state bird, also known as the Northern Flicker, whose association with Alabama dates back to the civil war. (To read more, check this link: http://archives.state.al.us/emblems/st_bird.html).
Like many success stories in the world of craft brewing, Yellowhammer is a collaboration that started with some thirsty professional’s hobby. Brewer Keith Yager, once a graphic designer at the Huntsville Times, was a little disappointed with beer selection when he moved to the South. In an interview with Southern Brew News Yager said, “I’m from Pennsylvania. When I moved down here I could not find much good beer outside of Samuel Adams. My mom got me a homebrew kit for Christmas. I don’t think she had any idea where it would take me.”
The journey from a happy holiday package to Yellowhammer wasn’t a direct route. Yager started his homebrews in 1995, and it took over a decade for him to form the idea that his passion could also be his paycheck. Yellowhammer came into being just about 6 years ago when Yager and partners Don Milligan, Challen Stephens, and Ethan Couch renovated an old cabinet shop to produce their froth. In December of last year they upgraded to lovely quarters and an excellent taproom at Campus 805 – a new development that repurposed an old middle school to beautiful effect.
You may want to take a drive to Huntsville to check out this rapidly growing enterprise. Of course, you should do some initial research at our place. This month our taps will flow with one of the best things about Alabama – you’ll find that all these brews are friendly characters. We’re fairly certain that if you give them the chance they’ll treat you just right. After all, Southern hospitality is a real thing, especially where the craft brews grow…
Yellowhammer Belgian White: This beer offers a twist on a traditional Belgian staple. Instead of adding hints of orange and coriander, the Yellowhammer white ale derives its spice from Kaffir lime leaves and fresh ginger. Perfect on a hot day.
Midnight Special Black Lager: A German-style schwarzbier, or “black beer,” brewed with a blend of German Munich malt, Vienna malt and huskless roasted malts, which give the beer a smooth toasty character.
Rebellion Red Lager: A red lager inspired by German brewing tradition, this year-round brew is crisp and refreshing. The aroma holds light malt and caramel notes, and the beer is capped with a light hoppy bitterness.
Hops Fell Lager – this is a new sessionable hoppy lager – come write your own tasting notes, eh?