Hoping to beat the crowds before this weekend's Grand Opening, Pensacola Beer recently visited Fairhope Brewing Company.
Located just off Highway 98 on Nichols Avenue, you can't miss the red brick building adorned with their pelican logo. Parking directly in front of the brewery is limited, but there's plenty of additional parking in the back.
The tasting room is beautiful, large and well lit. There is abundant seating, perfect for private events or special occasions. There's a large section of company shirts and caps, and if you're into darts you're in luck.
The bar offers yet more seating with several flat screens to keep you entertained.
The bar also provides a perfect view of the brewery.
Keeping with the theme the beer taps are, of course, pelicans.
We tasted a flight of their beers, including the Everyday Ale, Section Street Wheat, Fairhope 51, and the Painted Black IPA.
We were highly impressed with all four beers, after which we chose a glass of their Painted Black IPA.
Goldfish crackers were available to munch on, but because of legal reasons no food is served. However, Fairhope Brewing is a BYOF establishment. You are encouraged to bring your own food to enjoy while drinking their beer. That includes food you've cooked yourself, brought from a restaurant, or had delivered to you at the brewery.
We met most of the team behind Fairhope Brewing Company, including Brian and Michele Kane. Brian's the voice behind the Fairhope Brewing twitter account and a managing partner. We discussed the Pensacola Craft Beer scene, including Hopjacks and the recent addition of World of Beer - Palafox. We met James Foley (Jim). You'll recognize Jim by his awesome mustache. Jim runs the Fairhope Brewing Facebook account and is also a managing partner. I asked Jim what would happen if they decided to just go with one guy for both Twitter and Facebook. He said "I'd feel bad for Brian".
Lastly we met head-brewer Dan Murphy. Dan was busy brewing so it was kind of him to take the time to say hi. We discussed our shared love of the Avenue Pub in New Orleans before he was back to work.
The entire crew was friendly, informative and excited to talk about beer, and after months of long days and hard work, you could tell they were looking forward to their Grand Opening.
Before we left Jim gave us a tour of the brewery.
He took us to a back room where grain is stored to show us what the building looked like before the remodeling. Quite a difference.
Tours are available whenever things aren't too crazy. If you'd rather set up a time just drop them a line.
The Grand Opening is this Saturday the 16th from 4-10 pm. Come out and show your support for a local establishment brewing great beer. Be sure to read our previous column on Fairhope Brewery's Grand Opening, as well as the official Grand Opening page on their website.
Check out our Flickr set to view more pictures from our visit. Fairhope Brewery is only an hours drive away from Pensacola. With a gorgeous venue, friendly staff, and great beer, it's a trip we'll be taking often, and you should as well.