Fairhope Brewing Company – Taproom Review

*Note: Fairhope Brewing Company’s beers currently are not sold in Louisiana.

This weekend we hopped about 2 1/2 hours over to Fairhope, Alabama to visit the Fairhope Brewing Company’s taproom.  It is located at 914 Nichols Ave and is very easy to find.  We planned to do the brewery tour, but missed it unfortunately.  We stuck around to visit the taproom and taste some of Fairhope’s wide draft selection.

The taproom itself is very large.  There are many windows to the outside overlooking the outdoor seating area.  The windows also make the room feel large and bright.  The bar is a half-moon shape with plenty of seating for individuals or smaller groups.  There are windows behind the bar area where you can see into the brewery itself.  There is also plenty of seating away from the bar with large and small tables.  It is very much a bar atmosphere.  There is an arcade game in the corner and TVs around the room.

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We had the sampler for $15.  It is a flight of 5 beers that you can choose from their extensive beer list.  We chose the Every Day Blonde, Fairhope 51 Pale Ale, Rescue Dog Red IPA, Take the Causeway IPA, and Judge Roy Bean Coffee Stout.  We also got two additional samples of the Duke Sour and I Drink Therefore I Amber.

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Every Day Blonde

Fairhope Everyday Ale is made to pair with those gorgeous Eastern Shore days along the bay.  Handcrafted with British Maris Otter malt and Kent Golding hops, this well-balanced English-inspired blonde ale packs a lot of flavor into a beer without a lot of alcohol.

3.8 ABV

The Every Day Blonde is a golden color with a bit of citrus on the nose.  It is light and refreshing with a bit of sweetness, but not cloying.  It has a sweet aftertaste.

Would we have it again?  A good summer beer…

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Fairhope 51 Pale Ale

Fairhope No. 51 is a classic American pale ale, brewed with a combination of American-made Falconer’s Flight hops and German hops.  Named for being the 51st recipe entry into head brewer Dan’s beer notebook, this pale ale is packed with hop flavor but not overly bitter.  Though this crisp, flavorful beer was 51 in Dan’s notebook, we expect it to be your top choice for pale ale throughout Lower Alabama.

5.8 ABV

This beer is hoppy and light at the same time.  There is hop on the nose and tastes fairly seamless from start to finish.  It is golden/copper in color.

Would we have it again?  YES

Would we get a 6-pack of it?  YES

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Rescue Dog Red IPA

Our Spring seasonal is dedicated to our dogs, all of whom were rescued from shelters.  The American Imperial Red Ale rocks a massive hop character to match its full-bodied malt bill.

7.8 ABV

This one also has a bit of hop on the nose.  It has a warm bitterness up front, characteristic of red IPAs, and then the flavor tapers off.  It is copper/red in color and very drinkable.

Would we have it again?  Would rather have another Fairhope 51…

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Take the Causeway IPA

Copious amounts of Citra and Simcoe hops are used throughout the brewing process in this American India Pale Ale.  From first-wort to bittering, flavor, and aroma and dry hops, an artful combination of two extraordinary hops leads to an explosively hoppy finish on the palate.

8.2 ABV

There is a good bit of fruit on the nose of the Take the Causeway IPA.  The taste is kind of all over the place though.  We could taste the fruit and the hops, but neither really stands out or complements.  The tastes compete with each other.

Would we have it again?  Not our taste when it comes to IPAs

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Judge Roy Bean Coffee Stout

Judge Roy Bean is an American stout brewed in collaboration with our good friends at Fairhope Roasting Company, whose House Blend is cold-brewed and added to this already decadent brew.  This beer is our tribute to the beloved Eastern Shore landmark, and much like the old days at the Bean, we think you’ll love spending your holiday with Judge Roy Bean.

5 ABV

This beer really smells like coffee – and it tastes like coffee!  In fact, there is almost too much coffee and not enough beer.  Father Jack argues that you want a stout with coffee notes, not a coffee with stout notes.  There is some sweetness on the palate at the end.  Dark as pitch in color.

Would we have it again? SPLIT DECISION

  • Large Marge would absolutely have this again, but notes that it is very rich and this is a one-a-night kind of beer.
  • Father Jack would not have this beer again.

Would we get a 6-pack of it?  No, too rich…

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Duke Sour Beer

Duke is a kettle-soured hoppy golden ale.  This is our first attempt at this style, and we expect many more to come after the way this one turned out!

5.4 ABV

So, the Duke smells like a sweet tart.  Come to find out, it also tastes like a sweet tart.  Large Marge cannot wrap her head around sour brews and this is no exception.  Part of her likes sweet tarts, but another part of her thinks sweet tarts shouldn’t be in her beer.  Father Jack has never had a sour like this (granted, he wants you to know that he has limited experience with sours).  He doesn’t feel it is as good as Rodenbach or the Duchesse de Bourgogne, but he likes it better than Farmhouse.  Large Marge can drink more of this than other sours she’s had (but that isn’t saying much).  Father Jack is glad that he tried it.

Would we have it again?  Perhaps when we have more experience with sour beers…

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I Drink Therefore I Amber

A smooth, malt-forward beer that’s as rich in flavor as it is in color.  Well balanced with some light caramel and toasted flavor provided from the variety of grains used to make the beer.

5.4 ABV

This one does not have much of a nose or a taste to it.  It is dark amber in color.  Really, it just isn’t much more than slightly flavored water.  Malty, but not much.

Would we have it again?  Not our cup of tea, so to speak…

 

 

Our overall impressions of the Fairhope Brewing Company’s taproom and beer selection are favorable.  Our main comment on the beers themselves is that none of them are very big or even malty beers.  However, all are drinkable and the taproom atmosphere is one of the best we’ve seen.

http://www.fairhopebrewing.com/index.php

 

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