Nestled just a short walk away from the bright lights of LoDa in De Tonti Square, Iron Hand Brewing is getting ready to celebrate its six-month anniversary in June, and if you have not yet stopped by for a beer and a bite, you need to do so! Located at 206 State St., the former Waterfront Rescue Mission has been transformed into a comfortable neighborhood pub.
Unlike Mobile’s other craft breweries, Serda and Haint Blue, Iron Hand is a brewpub that is a full-service restaurant with wonderful English pub-style fare, with staples such as bangers & mash, shepherd’s pie and corned beef. While I’ll leave the food reviews to Andy, I will say that I’ve had a hamburger there and it was fantastic.
As a brewpub, under Alabama law, Iron Hand can only brew a limited amount of its own beer and cannot sell its brews off-site. So unlike Serda, Haint Blue and Fairhope brewing companies, you won’t be able to find its beers in grocery stores or even on tap in other local watering holes — the only place you can try them out is at the brewpub.
Iron Hand currently brews seven different styles: “Ben’s Oatmeal Stout,” “Rebecca’s First Amber,” “Lost Ring Porter,” “Hunter Pale Ale,” “Wee Heavy” (a strong British-style ale), “Superlight” (a light Scottish Ale) and the “Colonialist Dream IPA.” However, because it is a small-batch brewery, not all these beers are available all the time.
Owner Rebecca Williams said they usually have two to four of their own beers on tap at any time, as it takes about a month to brew each style (IPAs take a little longer), and they brew 20 gallons per batch. The “Lost Ringer Porter” and the “Wee Heavy” were just hooked up and will be available until they run out. “Rebecca’s First Amber” was on tap the last time I was there. Richer than most amber beers you will find, malty and good in an English style, I recommend it.
Williams said they may try to expand production by the end of the summer, but as it is now, Iron Hand has six taps running, with both their own brews and a rotating array of craft beers, including local and regional favorites from breweries such as Louisiana’s Parish, Birmingham’s Good People and Trim Tab and Gulf Shores’ Big Beach. For those who don’t like beer (!?!?), Iron Hand also boasts a full bar with premium spirits and a small selection of wines.
Open every day of the week but Sunday, Iron Hand hosts a number of weekly events, including pop-culture trivia every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., and has started having live music as well. Jack Ward will be playing guitar at the pub this Thursday, June 6, from 7-10 p.m., and Stuart McNair will perform on Saturday, June 8, again from 7-10 p.m.
Iron Hand will also be hosting a unique event for our area, a series of discussions on craft beer known as BeerTalk. The first one will be on Tuesday, June 11, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and will feature three Auburn professors — Joe Kemble, Ed Sikora and Kassie Conner — who will talk about growing hops in Alabama. Dr. Steve Schultze, a climatologist at the University of South Alabama who heads the Baldwin County Hops Project, will be the guest speaker at a later BeerTalk. Williams said Iron Hand hopes to use locally sourced hops in their beers in the near future.
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