Inside the Band of Brothers BreweryBy Daniel Parra Mejia | 03/03/2016 11:26pm
Live Jazz, a food truck out front, and Zumba-- this is what a customer can expect at Band of Brothers Brewing.
When brothers Jeremy and Jeremiah heard about the passing of Alabama´s Free the Hops gourmet beer bill, they saw a great opportunity to apply all their knowledge and start their own business. From that moment until last year, they planned the opening, collected some money and associated with supporters.
Jeremy Donald, Jeremiah Donald, and Quintin Brown opened the local brewery last year at the end of September. Everybody can see the upright stainless steel tanks shining, the cooler room, packages, the lift truck parked, and a complex pipe network running through the ceiling. In the bar the environment is ventilated by an industrial fan. It is a kind of open space factory that feels like a family-local business with a touch of intimacy that satisfies curious eyes.
After a jazz session, Quintin started the tour of the brewery. It's right next to the bar, and in between there's an open space ready to be set up for bands. When people in my group started to ask about how the brothers create their beer, Jeremiah, the brewmaster, jumped into the conversation.
“We started creating our own wine because we lived on a farm in rural Choctaw Bluff, Alabama. An extremely dry place,” he said.
Whether due to the distance or the necessity, the Donald's grandfather started to make wine for the family. He was a farmer, and Jeremy and Jeremiah were kids when they picked muscadines. Over the years it became a passion, a constant research. The brothers compared finding the right taste for their wine to an artist looking for colors or a musician selecting notes.
After he told me about the passion for creating beer, we moved to the cooler and he brought out a big white plastic jug. He asked us if we had any idea what was inside that jug. My friends and I made a “no idea” face.
“It is the secret ingredient: water. Obviously, not a simple jug of water, this is pure water, almost one hundred percent purity. That’s the secret ingredient for every good beer,” he said.
I asked for the best beer he had ever drunk.
“Duvel, from Belgium, definitely the best but personally, I don´t want to imitate it,” Jeremiah said. “The first beer that I drank was a Bud Light and I didn’t like it. It was too bitter for me. I was a teenager. Buds and Heinekens were the two kinds of beer that I could find after driving two hours from the place we lived. In my town we couldn’t find alcohol because it was illegal at that time."
He tastes the beer several times while he is producing to measure the notes and the contrasts; however, if a product is flawed, he often will trash a full tank.
“It takes a year or more to establish the exact pattern for a beer to be consistently the same. I am rigidly exact with measures, but there is always something that changes the flavor and that’s why I’m here: to detect and correct little variations. Those little details make this craft job closer to an art because I´m giving you my personal and best flavor.”
Band of Brothers brewing offers three beers: Voodoo Mild, Station One Saison, and Monk on the Radio. After asking the brothers and the bartender, I discovered that Monk on the Radio is the most popular. I can easily join the majority because it is a well rounded IPA (India pale ale) with a defined shape, a strong and Belgian blonde style with a lot of personality.
If you are looking for a light beer, less bitter, with citrus and fruit notes, the Station One Saison is ready for you. To me it was a mix of soft wine and beer. Or if you prefer dark beers and you are sensitive to aromatic essences the Vodoo might be your type. And if you are a boldly crazy drinker, don’t miss their first beer madness competition this year. The registration deadline is February 19th. To those who are into yoga and/or Zumba, check out their twitter account @bndofbrobrewery for the calendar.
Now, on 1605 23rd Ave., they open every afternoon until ten, or eleven on weekends. Maybe that is my biggest complaint: they close too early.