Opening a brewery is a labor of love for a lot of reasons. One of the primary reasons is because of the long time it can take for a brewery to go from being someone’s idea to becoming a reality that craft beer lovers can visit.
A great example of this process is Serda Brewing Company in Mobile, Ala. The idea started with John Serda and his father Ed in 2013, but did not come to fruition until late in 2017. The plan started to come together after the father-son duo found a vacant former Goodyear Tire Store in downtown, but even after identifying the building it took several months before the company was brewing beer. What visitors see now is a far cry from what used to exist on the site, as guests pull up to a fully-renovated building with bright, vibrant colors proclaiming the rebirth of the site.
My wife Katie and I walked to the brewery from our downtown hotel, so we did not have to worry about parking out car. However, there is plenty of parking available behind the brewery and on adjacent streets. Walking up to the building there are two potential entrances: one to the taproom and one to the production facility.
We walked into the taproom, surveyed the taproom seating arrangements and orders a pair of flights. But before I delve into beers we should take a look around the taproom as there are several seating options for visitors.
The beer menu is to the right of the bar.
Visitors pass a large merchandise area almost immediately after walking into the taproom.
So after ordering our flights, Katie and I saw down at a high-top table to have our first taste of beer from Serda Brewing Company.
One advantage of visiting a brewery a few months after it has opened is that they tend to progress beyond just their flagship beers and usually offer a few one-off brews. So I ordered a flight of flagship beers while Katie put together a flight of one-off brews. My flight consisted of Hook Line & Lager (a German pilsner), Tidewater (a Vienna-style lager), Mobile Bay IPA (an international IPA), and Clear Prop (a Baltic porter). Katie’s flight included Espresso Porter (an American porter), Home Port (a hefeweizen), a Randall-version of Mobile Bay IPA with a variety of fruits, and Kellerbier (an unfiltered pilsner). Out of the eight brews, my favorites were the Espresso Porter, which was very smooth but had a big espresso nose and pronounced coffee notes, and Clear Prop, which has nice roasted flavors but was not heavy.
The brewery focuses on German styles with a unique American twist. That is clear in the German pilsner, Vienna-style lager, hefeweizen, and other beers on draft when I visited.
After finishing our flights, I explored the production side of the brewery and captured pictures of the brewery’s three-vessel, 30-barrel brewhouse. They also have four 60-barrel fermenters and two 60-barrel brite tanks.
In addition to the indoor space, Serda Brewing also has an extensive outdoor space. There is an alley behind the brewery that regularly hosts food trucks.
Additionally, there are tables underneath tents that extend out from the production building that offer visitors plenty of outdoor space to enjoy a beer.
Overall, the brewery and taproom are very inviting with splashes of bright color incorporated into the logo, the taproom decor, and even the awnings covering the outdoor space. The beers are approachable and well-executed by head brewer Todd Hicks, who has over 20 years of professional brewing experience. Serda Brewing is downtown Mobile’s first craft brewery, which makes it accessible to residents and visitors alike.