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Go on our self-guided beer tour of Huntsville

Beer fans are blessed with roughly a dozen brewery taprooms and brew pubs in the Huntsville-Madison area. But if you’re trying to put together a multi-stop brewery trail for a night out with friends, two areas in the Rocket City are your best bets.

Clinton Avenue West offers an easily walkable beer crawl. The area includes the Campus No. 805 multi-use venue that hosts both Straight to Ale and Yellowhammer breweries. A couple blocks away are InnerSpace Brewing Co. and Salty Nut Brewery.

The other area, the Twickenham neighborhood, requires sober transportation—a ride-share service or designated driver—to hit all the highlights. Three of the breweries—Green Bus, Chandlers Ford, and Below the Radar—are within walking distance. But Rocket Republic and Mad Malts are a little more than a mile away.

We’ve suggested both lighter and heavier brews (and alcohol levels in parenthesis) to sample at each. But specialty beers regularly rotate; availability varies.

Gather a thirsty group, arrange for transportation, and discover the diverse portfolios of Huntsville beer scene, with styles rooted in the United States, Great Britain, Germany, and Belgium. No passport is necessary.

Happy trails.

Clinton Avenue Area

(Salty Nut Brewery/Facebook)

Salty Nut Brewery

Started in 2011 by then-home brewers, Salty Nut makes American-style ales (IPA, stout, pale wheat, amber, kettle sour), and European-influenced brews (saison, hefeweizen, and pilsner). Go light: Exotic Illusion (4.8 percent), sour ale with mango and passionfruit. Go Heavy: Berried Away Pastry Stout (8 percent), fermented on blackberries, blueberries, cinnamon, and other spices. P.S. Look for fun seasonal fall bears like caramel apple gose.

(InnerSpace Brewing Company/Facebook)

InnerSpace Brewing Co.

This eclectic brewery offers a broad array of American- and English-style ales (IPA, pale ale, mild ale, stout), several styles of saison, and German-style lagers. Go light: Blueberry Milkshake Fruit Ale (4.5 percent). Go heavy: Dark Skies Dark Saison (8 percent), an effervescent rustic Flemish-style farmhouse ale.

(Yellowhammer Brewing/Facebook)

Yellowhammer Brewing 

Founded in 2010, Yellowhammer’s mostly German- and Belgian-style brews are now distributed in Alabama and Tennessee. Go light: The original flagship beer, Belgian White (4.8 percent), a fruity wheat beer flavored with Kaffir lime leaves, ginger, and chamomile flowers. Go heavy: Darkhammer Belgian Quad (10.8 percent), an annual cool-weather release.

(Straight To Ale Brewing/Facebook)

Straight to Ale

Open since 2009, Straight to Ale is one of Alabama’s oldest modern breweries. Joining its four core beers are barrel-aged, seasonal, and limited-edition brews (including one using Fruit Loops cereal). Go light: golden, lightly hopped Chill Pils (4.5 percent). Go heavy: Blood Brother (8 percent), STA’s Brother Juniper Belgian Dubbel finished with blood orange.

Twickenham Area

(Green Bus Brewing/Facebook)

Green Bus Brewing

Green Bus brews unusual takes on standard styles, like Tiramisu Stout and fruit-flavored pale ales, plus lesser-known brews like cream ale (flavored with coconut). Go light: Hibiscus Pale (3.6 percent). Go heavy: OBoy Quad (12.5 percent), a strong, dark Belgian-style ale fermented with plums and aged in a rum barrel.


Chandler’s Ford Brewing 

Beezr is an umbrella for several ventures including Chandler’s Ford Brewing, which both bottles its beer and serves directly from tank to tap. It specializes in European-style lagers, sours, and strong ales. Go light: Fresh Sesh Pale Ale (4.7 percent). Go heavy: Captain Insano (10 percent), and also with lots of barley and lots of hops.

(Below the Radar Brewing Company/Facebook)

Below the Radar Brewhouse

American- and Belgian-style ales with some lagers including the new India Pale Lager. It serves more than a dozen of its own beers, and has guest taps. Beers rotate; selection varies. Go light: Lemon on a Pear Farmhouse Ale (4.2 percent). Go heavy: Triple Dog Dare Belgian Triple (9.4 percent)

(Rocket Republic Downtown HSV/Facebook)

Rocket Republic Brewing

This tour stop is Rocket Republic’s second brewery and taproom; the original is in Madison. Rocket Republic has fun with beer, like their beloved Peanut Butter Porter and Astronaut Brown American Ale. Go light: Thunder Gun Kolsch Ale (4.5 percent). Go heavy: Vostok Russian Imperial Stout (11 percent).

(Mad Malts Brewing/Facebook)

Mad Malts Brewing 

Open since 2012, its ales include variations on porter (regular, vanilla, and espresso); and interesting combinations like spicy Harvest Yam and a blond ale with raspberries and honey. Go light: MM Dirty Blond (4.0 percent) with notes of caramel, raisin, and nuts. Go heavy: Imperial IPA (10.1 percent) a malty hop bomb.

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