It’s no secret Huntsville is home to a (surprising, to some) number of breweries, a local beer boom having been well underway for many years now. It isn’t just Huntsville, of course; there are craft brewers from Fairhope to Birmingham to Florence making interesting beer in strikingly designed cans. The Rocket City brewers largely hold their own in comparison to, say, Avondale or Trimtab, popular Magic City breweries. I washed dishes and cooked on the line at the Jazz Factory as a student at UAH in the mid-aughts, and remember the hubbub around getting Olde Towne Amber on tap in the Martini Room. The first microbrewery in Huntsville since the repeal of prohibition, Olde Towne operated from 2004 to 2007, when a fire destroyed the building. They rebuilt and gave it another shot, eventually closing for good in 2011.

That wasn’t terribly long ago, and now we’re spoiled for choice. Rocket City dwellers have access to a staggering array of beer styles, and that’s without mentioning the brews available from far and wide at any of Huntsville’s many specialty beer retailers or bars like OTBX, Liquor Express, or The Nook. Perhaps best of all is the diversity of spaces our many breweries call home. Thanks to beer, Huntsville’s more sociable than ever.

In the sort of transformation being seen all over the country, Huntsville’s Stone Middle School, closed in 2009, has since been developed into Campus 805, a sprawling entertainment complex and branded as “The South’s Premiere Brewery and Entertainment Venue”. Its two vanguard tenants, Straight to Ale and Yellowhammer Brewing, anchor Campus 805 as new tenants set up shop in what’s left of the available spaces.

It’s a fun, casual scene and a great look for Huntsville, a town with tons of cool people who just needed more cool places to go out with their friends.

My recs? Straight to Ale is king to my mind, with that delicious cream ale of theirs, and seeming to have the most salient presence in the community, as well as a range of spaces for seating (ask about the “speakeasy”), a hearty, slightly eclectic grub menu by Ale’s Kitchen, and efficient, pleasant service.


I do love Salty Nut for their backyard and minimalist interior, and Green Bus for those three little stools at the top of the stairs, from which I watched two friends get married downstairs. And I think Yellowhammer has the niftiest logo. From weddings to book club meetings to art and literary presentations, there are endless causes to meet your friends at a Huntsville bierhaus. Get out and hit a few, pick your favorite, and go back. Recall your bartender’s name after the fifth or sixth time. Take your dog. Tip well. Make a new friend.

I’ve only scratched the surface here when it comes to the Huntsville beer scene, and I haven’t even mentioned Madison, which has a handful of distinctive breweries of its own. If you love beer, you’ll sure find it here.

By: Stephen Locke

Stephen Locke grew up in north Alabama, and returned to find a beautiful wife and East Limestone mutt to call family, after years of toil and revelry afar, and having absorbed the lesson, "Don'tcha think, sometime's it's wise not to grow up?" His true loves include waterfalls, houseplants, architecture, photography, basketball, and whistling along to his favorite guitar solos.

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