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Black Warrior Brewing Company glad there's room for two breweries in Tuscaloosa (photos, video)
-- After years of mastering the homebrew and other preparation, the owners of finally opened its doors in the heart of downtown Tuscaloosa.
You can find the brewery at 2216 University Boulevard. It has a gorgeous tap room complete with newly finished wooden bar, stools, tables and booths, and its state-of-the-art brewery visible just a few feet away towards the back of the building, not to mention an upstairs area with Foosball, darts and additional flat-screen televisions to watch sports.
The tap room hours are Monday through Thursday from 4-10 p.m., Friday from 3 p.m. until close, Saturday from noon until close and Sunday from noon until 9 p.m.
Joe Fuller, one of five Black Warrior owners and one of its brewers, is retired Air Force and originally from upstate New York. Retired Air Force. His wife was attending school in Birmingham, which eventually led the couple to Tuscaloosa where he and co-owner Jason Spikes homebrewed together for years.
After a few years of homebrewing and some collaboration with friends Bo Hicks and Elliott Roberts (co-owners of Druid City Brewing), they decided they'd open a brewery of their own in Tuscaloosa. For about two years, they looked for a building before landing on their currently University Boulevard location in downtown Tuscaloosa. They secured the building about a year ago, gutted it and built the brewery and tap room.
"Now here we are," said Fuller, working diligently in the impressive brewery with several large silver tanks brewing away just a few feet away from the tap room.
Right now, Fuller says the crew is happiest with their brown ale, which they've brewed for several years. The current beers available are the American Brown, Apricot Wheat, Blonde Ale, Pale Ale and Crimson Ale IPA.
"We've got that recipe from a homebrew recipe nailed down," Fuller said. "We anticipate it's going to take about a year for us to get the beer where we want it."
They're getting good feedback from customers who sample the beer and respond to what they like, giving the owners plenty of information to help tweak the product. They continue to get more and more of that feedback since they opened their doors in downtown Tuscaloosa a few weeks ago.
"So far it's been good," Fuller said. "It's good to see people enjoying the beer. It's been steady. I think people are hearing about us. We haven't put much emphasis on advertising yet."
Black Warrior Brewing Company's beers will be served in five bars and restaurants for starters, Fuller says, including Egan's, Wilhagan's, Alcove, Buffalo Phil's and the Grey Lady.
The bar has four "beertenders," along with another employee who manages the daily operations of the brewery. The five owners include Fuller, Spikes, Eric Hull, Mike Musgrove and Wayne Yarbrough.
This marks the second brewery to open in Tuscaloosa in the past year along with Druid City Brewing Company, located in Parkview Center. The founding members of each were friends and collaborators before either brewery opened, so don't expect a rivalry between the two.
"Bo and Elliott, are very good friends," Fuller said. "We used to be in a homebrew club with them. That's when we came up with idea to open breweries. We're great friends. We get a long fantastic. They've been here, we've been to theirs. We support each otherThe recently opened Black Warrior Brewing Company is located at 2216 University Boulevard in the heart of downtown Tuscaloosa. The building has a tap room as well as a "bonus room" upstairs for Foosball, darts and sports viewing. (Ben Flanagan/al.com)
"Craft beer helps other craft beer. If people go to Druid City and like their pale ale, they'll tell them to go try ours."
Fuller says that thanks to changes in Alabama laws that allow the craft beer industry to grow, you're seeing more and more high quality breweries and beers. Now was the right time to open another in Tuscaloosa.
"As a society, not just in Alabama, we're absorbing craft beers a lot more, want more variety," Fuller said. "With only one brewery here, there's room for two. We're all confident in that."
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