Four friends from Over the Mountain have opened what they are calling Birmingham’s most authentic tasting room experience.
Eric Meyer of Hoover, along with Homewood’s Andy Gwaltney, Taylor DeBoer and Burton Dunn are the owners of the Cahaba Brewing Company Tasting Room, which had a grand opening Sept. 24. The event featured live music from local artists and food from Cantina on Wheels.
The tasting room is at 2616 Third Ave. South near Pepper Place and the Lakeview District. The 8,000-square-foot building houses the brewery and the tasting room. The owners said the building was selected for its location and for the room it offers the company to expand in the future.
The company serves a line of small batch beers with an emphasis on hand-crafted quality.
The tasting room is designed to be a haven for beer aficionados, said Burton Dunn. It can accommodate small groups of friends, private parties and affinity parties.
The company was formed in 2011 by the group of friends who were united in their love for craft beer and making their own beer at home.
“We wanted to start the company so that we could continue to make craft beer and share it with the local community,” Meyer said. “I had brewed beer at home in the past and really enjoyed the scientific aspects of the process.”
Dunn said the Free the Hops movement was instrumental in paving the way for new companies like Cahaba Brewing.
“Free the Hops opened a lot of doors for the company by systematically changing Alabama’s antiquated beer laws,” Dunn said. “Alabama beer drinkers are forever in their debt for the work they have done and the work they continue to do.”
From the beginning, Dunn said, the Cahaba Brewing Company has had the goal of providing beer lovers in the Birmingham-Hoover metro area with clean and consistent small batch beers.
“We were inspired to start Cahaba by the desire to produce high quality, consistent beer locally,” he said.
To do this, Dunn said, the company hand-selected and assembled just the right brewing equipment necessary for the job. As luck would have it, the group’s friends at Straight to Ale in Huntsville were upgrading their brewery equipment, so Cahaba Brewing Company was able to purchase their equipment.
The company was named for the iconic river whose waters flow through the area.
Like its namesake, the company is not focused on volume, Dunn said, but on the quality of the experience it offers its customers.
The owners have several years’ experience in beer brewing. DeBoer has more than 10 years of brewing experience and specializes in pale ales, IPAs and specialty season beers. Gwaltney has five years of brewing experience, and his specialties are pale ales, stouts and brown ales. Meyer has more than three years of brewing experience and specializes in lagers, seasonable ales and specialty seasonal beers.
Beers served in the tasting room include the Liquidambar Amber Ale, a lightly hopped American amber ale, and the Oka UBA IPA, a palatable India Pale Ale noted for being hop-forward with a malty backbone. The Ryezome Rye Stout, a crisp stout that finishes with pleasant aromatic hops and hits of chocolate and coffee, is also on the tasting room menu.
The owners say they have their favorites among the company’s products.
Meyer said his favorite beer to brew is an Oktoberfest. Dunn said his favorite beer is Ryezome Rye Stout.
Additionally, Cahaba Brewing offers specialty beers, including seasonal brews like the popular Kiwi Kölsch and Oktoberfest Ale.
The tasting room will also introduce a new CaHoPba project featuring six different brews with different recipes each Friday night through Oct. 26. The best recipe, as chosen by beer lovers in the tasting room, will be released in select retail locations in 22-ounce bombers.
The tasting room is open Thursdays from 3-9 p.m. and Fridays from 3-10 p.m.
For more information on Cahaba Brewing Company, visit www.cahababrewing.com.