Cahaba Brewing

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Two and a half years ago, I visited Birmingham’s Cahaba Brewing, a fledgling brewery in the shadow of Good People and Avondale Brewing.  I don’t know how that war is being scored, but Cahaba has upped the ante.

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They relocated their humble beginnings to a more expansive space at the apparently vacant Continental Gin Industrial Park, a fairly massive campus of buildings used to manufacture cotton gins until the 1960’s.  As a surviving structure from 1925, someone had it listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  It doesn’t show so well at night, granted that they moved into a building on the edge of the property and the remainder was dark.

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In moving to the site, they quadrupled their area at half the rental fees, not including betterments and improvements as well as increasing their production potential eightfold.  That hasn’t yet proven to be helpful for tap room service, as there were only four beers available.  According to co-owner Eric, after fulfilling their distribution network, they have a thin margin to keep on site.  That’s a good problem, and it’s one out of which they will grow.  Of these, I tried the Bourbon Barrel Aged Ryezome Stout, which was excellent, and a repeat of their Oka Uba IPA, which was solid.

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Their new brewing facility is visible from the tap room separated by floor to ceiling glass inspired by Surly Brewing in Minneapolis.  Great idea as it allows for visibility while not interfering with the interior’s historic appeal.

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In the tap room, the manufacturing origins are preserved, with the high trusses commonly provided to allow light into the space.   apacity Smiths Sons Gin & Machine Company

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The building originally was built by Smiths Sons Gin & Machinery Company, which was bought by Continental Gin long ago, who later merged to become Continental Eagle.  The entry to the brewery opens to where the blast furnace used to be located, where some of the old equipment was wisely retained for the industrial feel of the place.  This includes the elevator that lifted iron and other ingredients to be dumped into the blast furnace as well as some of the pulleys. 

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Speaking of old, they have a couple of retro themed pinball machines for entertainment.

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And the new.  Gotta have merch.

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Overall, it’s great to see an old building converted for modern use, and the space is a great meeting spot for drinks and perhaps a Filling Station pizza.

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