The capital of Alabama, Montgomery, has a long, fascinating history. What started as the home to the Confederacy’s first White House later became the center of the Civil Rights Movement. From Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott to Martin Luther King Jr’s famed Selma to Montgomery March, this city has seen its fair share of social uprisings.
Now, over five decades later, Montgomery has become a progressive and promising city that honors its past but welcomes its diverse future. This city is full of museums, civil rights memorials, historical landmarks, sports stadiums, and parks, providing visitors and locals with plenty to see and do.
Like the rest of the state, the brewery scene in this city has had a roller coaster ride of ups and downs. Before Prohibition, brewing was thriving in the entire state, but when the strict laws were enacted, they effectively killed the local brew industry. When brewing was federally legalized in 1978, it was still illegal in Alabama to make beer at home, and the alcohol content by volume (ABV) was capped at 6%.
In 2011, massive reforms were made nationwide thanks to the Brewery Modernization Act, which removed many of the restrictions that were crippling breweries and preventing new ones from opening. From 2011 to 2012, Alabama became one of the fastest-growing beer producers in the South. Finally, in 2013, the home brew laws were overturned, and Alabama became the 49th state to allow the manufacturing of beer and wine at home in wet counties, although still illegal in dry ones. The state’s ABV limit currently stands at 13.9%.
Currently, two breweries are operational in Montgomery, Common Bond Brewers, a production brewery, and Railyard Brewing Co., which mixes beer and food options. Both of them make some of the highest-quality beer in the state.
Common Bond Brewers
One of downtown Montgomery’s newer establishments, Common Bond Brewers, opened doors in 2018 and has a taproom for packing and tasting beers. Locals Tim Doles and Andrew McNally founded this brewery with the mission to help support the local community of farmers and vendors and bring people of the community together. Even the aesthetic of the taproom is designed to feel comfortable and welcoming, inviting you to sit and swap stories with other patrons.
They have four flagship craft beers available year-round and a rotation of seasonal and experimental unique offerings. Common Bond is well known in the city and supplies its brews to many local bars and restaurants around the town, including other hotspots like The Goat Haus, Leroy, The Cork & Cleaver, and more. While they do not have a tour schedule, you might be able to get one if you ask. They also allow you to rent the taproom for private parties and events.
This brewery works in small batches and makes a variety of IPAs, blonde ales, red ales, stouts, and lagers available on tap, crowlers, and growlers. Always on tap are the Flagship Four, full-bodied American Ales, and its Belgian Series of traditional beers from the Old World as listed below.
- Ramber is an amber rye ale that is malty with a hint of flavor
- Crema Stout is a smooth, full-bodied American stout with a sweet espresso bitterness.
- Zelda Blonde is a crisp blonde ale perfect for a sunny summer day.
- Single Bond IPA is a classic pale ale made of aromatic hopes that are dry but not bitter.
- Belgian Bond, a zesty, crisp blonde ale with notes of fruit and honey
- Belgian Tripel, a sunlight-yellow ale with a 7.9% ABV
- Belgian Dark Strong Ale is a malty ale with a robust 11.9% ABV that is smooth, bready, and rich with notes of raisins, dates, and figs.
Seasonal offerings take advantage of all the incredible produce local vendors in Montgomery have to offer. These include:
- Strawberry Wheat, a Berliner Weisse that takes advantage of Alabama’s fresh strawberries over shortbread
- Crafty Lefty is a lemon shady ale that blends the hearty wheat beer with a strong shot of a hefty dose of fresh lemons.
- Scottish Ale a Scottish Export Ale with a smoky malt flavor and a deep reddish copper color.
Railyard Brewing Co.
Not to be confused with the Canadian brewery with the same name, Railyard Brewing Co. is located in the heart of downtown Montgomery across from the Riverwalk Stadium. It has seen brewmasters like Jamie Ray come in with their exciting concoctions and cool classics. This multi-storied brewery is also home to Dreamland BBQ upstairs, and spacious rooms downstairs named the Tavern, Station, and Porter Room. You can come in and enjoy a quiet night, spend time with friends and host private events.
Here, you will find it all; APAs, IPAs, lagers, porters, red ales, pilsners, stouts, and more. House favorites include the following.
- Alabama Pale Ale is a mild APA with a citrus fragrance and slight bitterness.
- Y’all Light Lager, made with 100% Weyermann Pilsner Malt, is an easy drink with a smooth finish.
- Railbender Irish Style Red is Railyard’s version of a classic Irish Red with roasted caramel notes.
- Raspberry Wheat is sour with a delightful raspberry fragrance and flavor
- Hotbox Honey Porter is a deep brown porter infused with honey with a rich and complex finish.
- Goat Switcher is a classic hoppy IPA with a herbal citrus profile and bitter finish.
- Railyard Deadhead is a lightly brewed pale malt with a slight bitterness and citrusy tang.
- Biere de Mars is a fruity Saison with an 8.0% ABV
The fun doesn’t end there. You can enjoy any of these brews with some Dreamland BBQ, which deliver straight from the kitchen down to the brewery or one of the rooms if you are having a private event. Delectable treats on their menu include a full range of appetizers like fried okra, loaded nachos, quesadillas, and hickory-smoked sausage. Then there are a host of BBQ options straight from the pit as well as sandwiches, burgers, stews, steaks, and desserts for you to choose from.
Local favorites include the rib sandwich that pairs perfectly with their Y’all Light Lager and the Brunswick Stew, a hearty broth made of chicken, pork, onions, potatoes, corn, and tomatoes. If you are in the mood for something sweeter, you can try their Banana Pudding. Hands down the best in town. Order it by the cup, pint, or side, and enjoy it with a Raspberry Wheat for the perfect blend of sweet and sour.