A Bicentennial Celebration-One State's History Crafted In Five Beers
Tailgater Magazine|September/October 2019
Alabama breweries cooperated over five years to formulate onetime-only, annual beer releases, each tied to one of the state’s five historical capitals.
Amity Moore Joyce

Beer may be the oldest recorded recipe in the world, but legal craft brewing was a long time coming to Alabama. It only became lawful in May 2009 with the passage of the Gourmet Beer Bill. So, as part of the state’s bicentennial being celebrated this year, the Alabama Brewers Guild introduced a series of five beers known as the Capital Series. Each annual release was formulated through collaboration of guild members and honors one of Alabama’s capitals, beginning with St. Stephens and running to Montgomery, which became the present seat of government in 1846.

MONTGOMERY: BITTER CONSTITUENT

The latest and final release, called the Bitter Constituent, highlights the evolution of craft brewing in the state, starting with the lawful ability to make beers with alcohol by volume (ABV) greater than 6% and up to 13.9%. The 2009 bill was followed in 2011 by one that allowed tasting rooms, and two laws in 2013—one that permitted large-format bottles (wine-bottle size), and a second to legalize home brewing as a hobby.

Bitter Constituent honors the state’s craft beer fans and volunteer grassroots efforts that made those legislative advances possible, including the leadership of Free the Hops and Right to Brew, a coalition of homebrewers and homebrew clubs across the state.

The American-style India Pale Ale (IPA), made with five different hop varietals, was tapped at Common Bond Brewers in Montgomery. Additional craft beer outlets also are selling the beer, although quantities are limited on this small-batch release.

As Alabama Brewers Guild executive director Dan Roberts told al.com, “We have the best fans in the world. Not only are they loyal customers and evangelists for craft beer, they are also dedicated advocates. We owe them everything.”

Since the guild started tapping its Capital Series, with collaboration from the Alabama Bicentennial Commission and local historical and preservation organizations, those fans and advocates have savored each release, beginning with St. Stephens Stout.

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