Crafting a New Scene in Tuscaloosa


America on Tap, a touring craft beer festival, made its stop in Tuscaloosa yesterday. Boasting an impressive 100+ craft breweries at each stop, all of the craft beer fans in Tuscaloosa were excited to see what American on Tap – and the city – would bring.
The tasting event was held in Government Plaza, located in the heart of Tuscaloosa. A beautiful outdoor plaza with enough room for the well over 500 people who attended Saturday’s event.
The beer festival began at 2:30 PM for VIP tickets and 3:30 PM for general admission. As one who went for the VIP, it was completely worth the extra hour. There were only about 100 people tasting for that hour and it gave everyone the opportunity to talk with the pourers, some who worked for their designated brewery and some who did not. Even the volunteers not associated with a brewery had a decent amount of knowledge about the beers they were tapped to pour.
All three local breweries were on site. Druid City Brewing Company boasted 4 different taps and their brew crew was on site for the entirety of the event. Black Warrior was there, too. They were running 4 taps and all of their brewers and bartenders were assisting anyone who had difficulty making a selection.
The most intriguing of the three local breweries was Band of Brothers. This is really the first time Band of Brothers had a public tasting. Admittedly, I am a snob when it comes to IPAs and I thought their IPA was fantastic. Great aroma, smooth taste, and not too bitter. The second of beer I tried was a Saison and it was truly fantastic with a strong aroma of pleasant, dry farmhouse style that immediately hit my nostrils as I brought the beer to my mouth. I talked with one of their founders and brewers. Bama Hammer will have a full-length interview with Band of Brothers coming in the next two weeks. For those wondering, Jeremy also let Bama Hammer know to expect their taproom to be complete within the next 5-6 weeks. Like the other local breweries, these founders seem genuine and I believe Tuscaloosa will welcome them with open arms.
Breweries from Gadsden, Birmingham, Florence, and Fairhope were also represented at this festival. The brewery selection extended much further than Alabama. Breweries from New Jersey, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Georgia, Hawaii, New York, and Belgium were also in attendance. To add to the event atmosphere, there was live music provided by Plato Jones.
While the event itself was a success, I think it also shows the new direction for Tuscaloosa. Eight years ago, I would never have imagined Tuscaloosa hosting a beer festival. While we have had several local events prior to America on Tap, this was the first of its magnitude. The festival also comes on the cusp of the June concert series the City of Tuscaloosa has planned for Government Plaza. The city will be turning the area into a temporary entertainment district on Friday nights allowing those over age to bring coolers of adult beverages out to the plaza while they enjoy good music and a great time.
Entertainment opportunities like this will only add to the ever-improving downtown atmosphere. The restaurant scene continues to grow along with the shopping experiences. Tuscaloosa has come a long way and shows no sign of slowing down. Bravo, Tuscaloosa, bravo.
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