Loosa Brews offers 63 taps and an arcadeBy Kasey Hullett | 03/21/2016 11:04pm
Caramel light bounces off the accented wooden planks behind the bar. From end to end, wooden, metal and colorful tap handles line the back wall. On one end, a few rocket ships are ready for liftoff. The other, a secret shutter door reveals a hidden tap. In the corner, a record player spins effortlessly on, playing one of the many records stacked in a woven basket. A pair of pianos sits across the room from each other, their worn wood and ivory keys ready for the occasional musician. In the center of the room are beer shelves made of 80-year-old wood imported from India. Then, near the entrance is an area of comfortable couches—where a few students are doing homework on a Tuesday night. From University Blvd., you can see a sign painted in cursive on the brick building. In red letters outlined by yellow and white, it reads, “Loosa Brews.”
With a calm, laid-back demeanor, Chad Smith sits at his bar and sips on a dark craft beer, the froth sticking around his lips. He is drinking one of the 63 beers that he has on tap. Thirty of these are brewed in Alabama. They also have 32 and 64 ounce growlers so one can take a draft beer home. He and his co-owner Brad Lee opened Loosa Brews about a year ago.
“When I was growing up I never drank the watered-down beers--I drank Sammy Smiths and Newcastle,” said Smith. “Now I don’t even drink those. These craft beers are so much more flavorful.”
Smith went to the University of Alabama and obtained an undergraduate degree in international management and a graduate degree in international marketing. He opened up The Alcove, another craft beer bar back in 2009. Today, he is sitting in his second bar planning on when he will obtain his next pinball machine.
“I never knew I was addicted to pin balling,” he said. “I got one machine from this guy and not even a year later I have four of them.”
Down the hallway are many machines-- Buck Rogers pinball, a collection of over 600 arcade games, a toy claw, "Mrs. Pac-Man" and "Donkey Kong" all stand waiting to be played. At the end, a larger room opens up to three more pinball machines, a Ping-Pong table, and a setup to play the Nintendo 64 version of "Mario Kart."
According to Smith, more students have been coming to check the place out.
“We get a pretty good mix of people in here,” he said. “But I am always impressed with the students that come in here and know their craft beer. I think the craft beer renaissance is really taking a foothold.”
A bartender runs around trying to make sure everyone has a beer. This is Ryan Sparks, and he's been working at Loosa Brews for around eight months.
“This is the grown-up kid bar,” said Sparks. “People come in and go, ‘Wow, look at those pinball machines. I have to try it.’"
Loosa Brews also just completed a new porch area not too long ago. Smith designed the area to be an outside, live music venue. With a new stage, Smith plans for bands to play there often this spring.
“I think your favorite beer depends on what mood you are in and what season it is--it’s hard to have a favorite,” said Smith.
For a complete list of the beers on tap at Loosa Brews, visit their website here.