Alabama

Hops in Heaven: Salty Nut Brewery in Huntsville, Ala.

Proof that the craft beer scene is growing in Huntsville is clearly visible through the history of Salty Nut Brewery.  Brent Cole and Daniel Yant along with a team of partners opened the brewery in 2013 off Evangel Circle near the UA Huntsville campus.  In January 2016, the brewery relocated to its current location in Downtown Huntsville off Clinton Avenue in the spaced previously occupied by Yellowhammer Brewing.

Although Salty Nut has changed the space to meet its needs, the general structure has not changed.  One building serves as the taproom while another building houses the brewing and fermentation equipment.

Main entrance to the taproom alongside the production building.

Visitors immediately walk into the seating area before finding the bar, which is in the back of the taproom.

An overview of the seating area at the brewery.

After navigating the crowd watching TV when we visited, my wife Katie and I made our way to the bar.

We opted to order a flight of all the beers (and ciders) on draft, so while waiting for the bartender to fill the flight I took a picture of the merchandise area across from the bar.

Merchandise area across from the bar.

Due to the brewery’s name the merchandise features a lot of squirrel and acorn themed items.  However, the story behind the brewery’s name is just as interesting as the merchandise.  Cole and Yant played the video game “Rock Band” and had named their fictional band Salty Nut, so it seemed like the natural choice when the duo started a brewery together.

Before long we had our flight, so we headed to a table to enjoy it.

A flight of beers in a specially-made acorn flight tray.

The flight tray we used is very unique, and not an item most visitors get to use when they visit the brewery.  With eight slots, it typically holds a sample of each beer on draft.  If you don’t order ALL the beers, you get a typical flight tray.  So because we ordered everything on the menu, we got the unique acorn-shaped flight tray.

When we ordered all eight beers on draft we got a wide variety of styles and flavors.  Our flight consisted of: Imperial Moustache Red (an Irish red ale), Hop Naughty (an American IPA), Hawt Blonde (a blonde ale), Pom Diggity Cider (a pomegranate flavored cider), Koopa-Cabra Kölsch (a German Kölsch), Maibock (a German maibock), Straight Up Cider (a classic cider), and Long Live the Chief (a double IPA).  Of the eight brews we had, I enjoyed Pom Diggity Cider the best.  It was sweet, but not overly sweet and had an interesting flavor profile.  I’m not big on pomegranate, but it added something really unique and enjoyable to the cider.  On the strictly beer side, I especially enjoyed Maibock.  It’s a malt-forward ale that is lower on the IBUs.  By comparison, my wife Katie liked the Imperial Moustache Red the best, which is great evidence that we all have different tastes when it comes to beers.  Fans of the classic hop-forward IPAs should try Hop Naughty, which is the first beer Cole developed as a homebrewer.

In addition to the interior space, Salty Nut also has an extensive beer garden.  It’s great for springtime and summertime visits, but even during cooler weather it’s still quite enjoyable with a few strategically placed fire pits.

When you venture outside you can also investigate the production side of the brewery, which is housed in a separate building from the taproom.  I didn’t get to go on a tour, so I didn’t get to explore the production side in great detail, but there is a window open that allows visitors to see the fermentation tanks.

A view of the brewery’s fermentation tanks.

Back inside the taproom art fans will find a variety of unique items adorning the walls.  Salty Nut plays up the squirrel and nut motif.  Across from the bar is a wall with a variety of items, but by far the coolest decoration was a small wooden plaque hanging above the men’s restroom that says: “Welcome to the nut house.”

That may be the most appropriate description of the brewery Cole, Yant, and their partners have developed.  Salty Nut Brewery’s taproom sits under a billboard in a former industrial area of Huntsville.  They brewed a beer called Unimpeachable Pale Ale to mock the governor of Alabama and his affair with a top aide.  They have someone dressed up in a squirrel costume handing out sacks of nuts at beer festivals.  So when you visit the taproom, you’ve definitely arrived at the nut house.  You’ll find the jolliest bunch of people drinking beer at this nut house.

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2 replies »

    • It’s amazing how much American beer has changed in the last 20, almost 30 years. Big beer dominates, as it does everywhere, but at least now there are more local options that are definitely better.

      Like

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