Photo | Red Clay Brewing Co.

Named for the 53 miles of Alabama’s coastline, 1 percent of all sales of Red Clay’s 53 Kölsch will be donated to the Alabama Coastal

When Opelika’s Red Clay Brewing Co. decided to put out a summer seasonal brew this year, it thought it would also be a good opportunity to give back to the community. “We like to give to things that are important to us,” owner John Corbin said, especially “to organizations that are for sustainable water and agriculture,” as clean water and pure ingredients are vital to good beer. 

Corbin had collaborated previously with the Alabama Coastal Foundation on the organization’s oyster shell recycling program, and approached foundation director Mark Berte about a partnership to raise funds for protecting our coastal environment. The result is Red Clay’s 53 Kölsch.  Named for the 53 miles of Alabama’s coastline; 1 percent of all sales of the beer will be donated to the Alabama Coastal Foundation though the “1% for the Planet” charitable network. It’s a great summertime beer — try one if you can! 

Water is, of course, central to all beer, but Red Clay takes its dedication to water to a new level. Corbin said Red Clay is committed to traditional brewing methods and works to get the right mineral content in the waters for all its beers, depending on the water profile from where a particular style of beer is from. Therefore, there are different waters — along with different yeasts, malts and hops — in each Red Clay style.   

At its taproom in Opelika, there are usually 10 beers and two ciders on tap, and the brewery also produces its own wine. The 53 is one of three Red Clay styles, along with its Half-time Hefeweizen and Southern Bumpkin Sweet Potato Brown Ale, available in cans through Gulf Distributing in Alabama and parts of Georgia at most Rouses, Whole Foods and Piggly Wiggly stores. Other Red Clay styles can often be found on tap at bars and restaurants in our area, including Boudreaux’s, Montego’s, Mellow Mushroom and The Gulf.

Gulf Shores’ Big Beach Brewing Co. is also giving back to the coastal environment, hosting a “Connect to Your Coast” event for the Alabama Coastal Foundation from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 23. Big Beach will donate $1 for each beer sold at the taproom that day to the Alabama Coastal Foundation. If you haven’t been to Big Beach Brewing, this is a great excuse to stop by, as it is one of the most wonderful taprooms you’ll find anywhere, a relaxed and comfortable place to enjoy a beer or two. Be sure to try the Amy Honey Basil Wheat, which just won the silver medal at the National Honey Board Beer Competition awards.    

Finally, the 21st annual Dauphin Street Beer Festival will be held in downtown Mobile’s LoDa area on Saturday, Aug. 25, 6-9 p.m. This year there will be 27 venues participating with three beers at each (81 beers!). Tickets cost $30 and can be purchased at all participating venues (which can be found on the Dauphin Street Beer Festival Facebook page). It should be — as always — a great time!