With the success of grassroots initiatives like "Free the Hops" and "Pop the Cap," beer devotees have managed to legalize brewpubs and microbreweries in every state of the Deep South from Louisiana to North Carolina. Restrictive alcohol limits on beer, usually at 6% A.B.V. (alcohol by volume), have been lifted throughout the South, with Alabama and Mississippi being the most recent. It is exciting to see the change in the beer culture down here and try the new up and comers. With so many new breweries opening up shop, I thought it time to put together a compilation of some of my favorite breweries south of the Mason Dixon. I haven't necessarily visited all of these places but I'm familiar with their merchandise :)
Terrapin Brewery- Athens GA
Terrapin introduced its first beer, the Rye Pale Ale in April of 2002. Six months later while only available on draft in Athens, Terrapin’s sole offering won the American Pale Ale Gold Medal at the 2002 Great American Beer Festival. Terrapin has grown tremendously over the years now offering 4 year rounds and countless seasonals and side projects.
Abita Brewing Company- Louisiana
Abita is located about 30 minutes north of New Orleans and is one of the oldest in the South having opened in 1986. In its first year, the brewery produced 1,500 barrels of beer. By 1994, they outgrew the original site and moved up the road to a larger facility to keep up with demand. Try the Strawberry Harvest Laager...The Perfect Beer for Spring and Summer!
Westbrook Brewing Company- Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina
Their mission is to make the "most interesting, drinkable, and generally awesome beer possible." Haven't visited this brewery yet but it's on the list. I've tried several of their beers and they are always unusual... in a great way. Big fan of the White Thai pictured above- Belgian wit beer brewed with ginger and lemongrass.
Avondale Brewery- Birmingham, Alabama
Just recently visited this brewery in Bham and loved it! The brewery and taproom are located in a beautiful historic building in Avondale that was once a fire station and a saloon. They even named each of their flagship beers after the folklore of Avondale. Being so cold out during my visit, I tried the Vanillaphant Porter; it was so velvety smooth with hints of vanilla and chocolate...perfect cold weather beer. Looking forward to going back!
Highland Brewery- Asheville, North Carolina
Highland Brewing Company rolled out its first beer kegs in December 1994. Built almost entirely of retrofitted dairy equipment, our original brewery in downtown Asheville could produce up to 6,500 barrels of beer per year. In 2010, they added a tasting room to their brewery and are still growing! They started as a three-person operation, and have grown into a staff of about forty. Currently, the Highland brand is sold in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.
Sweetwater Brewing Company- Atlanta, Georgia
"Don't Float the Mainstream." Hard not to include them in my list. Their 420 extra pale ale was one of the first American craft beers I ever tasted. It is still delicious :)
Want more? Check these out! Good People Brewery- Birmingham, AL; Red Hare Brewery- Atlanta, GA; Cigar City- Tampa, FL; Duck Rabbit Brewery- Farmville, NC; Tin Roof Brewery- Baton Rouge, LA; Lazy Magnolia- Kiln, MS New brewery called Creature Comforts, making its way to Athens, Georgia!