Three years ago, when Fairhope Brewing Co. won its first Nappie Award for the best craft beer you can buy legally, I was ecstatic. It was a sign our hard work had paid off, and people were really digging the beer that was coming out of the little brewery in Fairhope.

A year later, when Everyday Ale was the big winner, I was again over the moon to know Lagniappe readers chose the “gateway beer” as their favorite. As an unapologetic hophead, however, I have to admit I was rooting for 51 pale ale.

Then last year Lil Poison Brown Ale, a beer I first brewed with local favorite Grayson Capps, took the honors, but again I wondered where my fellow hopheads were hiding.

Wherever it was, you’ve come out in droves this year and chosen (Take The) Causeway IPA, an 8.2 percent ABV hop bomb that’s near and dear to my heart.

Loaded with elusive — and expensive — Simcoe and Citra hops, we couldn’t even brew it regularly for the first year due to the hops’ inaccessibility. When it became a year-round brew, it was like watching a child grow up; this beer I’d first shared with my fellow homebrewers in the Random Acts of Brewing homebrew club was now on tap at some of my favorite bars and restaurants in Lower Alabama.

When I left the brewery last year, I’ll admit I was a little nervous about what would become of Fairhope’s beers in my absence, but brewer Tim Heath has done one hell of a job making sure the quality of the beer coming out of Fairhope is as great as it ever was, if not better.

Congrats to Lower Alabama’s only craft brewery on its fourth Nappie Award in as many years.

Congratulations are also in order for LoDa Bier Garten for again earning a well-deserved Nappie Award for the best beer selection in town. With more than 100 taps pouring some of the best beers available in Lower Alabama, it’s no wonder the Dauphin Street institution has again taken home the honors.

Straight to Ale moves into new digs
Huntsville’s Straight to Ale Brewing Co. recently celebrated its move to Campus No. 805, a former middle school-turned-brewing complex in downtown Huntsville. It joins Yellowhammer Brewing Co., which opened its doors in the new space in December.

(Photo|Facebook) Straight to Ale Brewery recently opened a taproom in Huntsville’s desireable Campus No. 805 business park

(Photo|Facebook) Straight to Ale Brewery recently opened a taproom in Huntsville’s desireable Campus No. 805 business park

In addition to offering a great deal more space, the move gets Straight to Ale out of its former location, which was out of the way and somewhat difficult to find, and puts it in the heart of Huntsville’s brewing scene.

Wish You Were Beer, a retail bottle shop and growler filling station, will also be moving from its home in Madison to Campus 805 later this year, adding another level of beery-ness to the complex, which has quickly become a hot tourist destination for craft beer lovers in the Rocket City.

Dan Murphy is a Certified Cicerone® and the founding brewer at Fairhope Brewing Co. Follow him on Instagram @Grand_Krewe and on Twitter @Beer_Man_Dan.