I woke up in Athens, GA Thursday morning to a gorgeous day, sunny and warm... pretty much the whole reason I schedule southern dates in the winter. Athens is such a great town, and there were a couple of spots I mean to visit, but I just didn't have time... but I will be back sometime soon, as two different breweries in town are interested in booking a date on the Spring tour.
The drive to Montgomery, Alabama was an easy one, had a minor traffic delay going through Atlanta, but mostly smooth sailing. I arrived in Montgomery with a few hours to kill, so I headed down to their garden district (downtown on the water) and bellied up to the bar at a seafood joint that specialized in oysters. I only had one beer, but I had a platter of 16 fresh oysters prepped 4 different ways. I don't normally eat dinner while on tour, as it's not good to sing with a full stomach (and most places are closed by the time I'm done), so this was a nice treat. The oysters and a nice cool salad hit the spot, and then I actually took a little nap in the tour van.
Goat Haus Biergarten - Montgomery, AL
The facility will begin brewing it's own beer Summer 2019. Initially beers will be available exclusively at the taproom.
Goat Haus Biergarten is a bit of an outlier on this tour, as it's not technically a brewery yet, although it will be one very shortly (they've gotten all their permits, etc., it's just time to start building). I played the room anyway as in its current form it is a beer hall/garden with a huge beer selection (including local, national, and international crafts), and a vision and layout that when realized will make this place quite unique.
What is so cool about the venue is that it is actually comprised of three large houses/mansions on a hill overlooking downtown Montgomery, with a spectacular view of the capital building all lit up down below. The mansion on the edge of the hill (see photos below) is the beer hall and brewery-to-be, which reminds me of the historic Southgate Mansion in Newport, KY, another house is a gallery, and the other is studio/office space. The three sizable yards form the beer garden, which will also host live music, and again overlooks the city down below. Very cool!
On this night, which happened to Valentine's Day, I played inside, in a sort of parlor room with lots of woodwork, and chairs set up for an intimate audience. The walls of the house are filled with interesting artwork, as promoting artists is a big part of the vision. As such, I was asked specifically to focus on performing my own songs, which I did, along with a few traditional numbers thrown in. True to the venue's goals, the audience was very attentive and seemed more interested in the original material than the traditional tunes (which is always nice!). One couple told me before the show that it was their wedding anniversary, and they specifically came to the Goat Haus to enjoy some beers and listen to me... so the pressure was on... the success of their anniversary would live or die based on how I performed! Luckily, they seemed very happy at the end of the evening, and were very complimentary about my music.
I only had a couple of beers on this night, as the venue didn't yet their own product... but the couple I did try were from a local Montgomery brewery called Railyard Brewing Co. I was extremely thirsty when I arrived, so I started with Railyard's Y'all Light Lager (5%), which was a lighter American Lager, and perfect for what I was looking for.... a lighter, highly thirst quenching beer that I could pound before playing my set. It was crisp and fizzy like a good refreshing lager, but with a little more taste to it... my first impression was that it reminded me of a good Canadian lager, but without any skunkiness... like a Moosehead.
During my set I stayed with Railyard, but switched to their Hotbox Honey Porter (5.6%). A nice dark pour, medium bodied and crisp, with with a good hearty porter flavor. This was an ideal sipper to enjoy throughout my set, a sip here and a sip there... so much so that I had two. I think this was my first time in Montgomery, and I enjoyed myself. The people were extremely friendly, very in tuned with my music, and full of interesting conversation about breweries throughout the region and the city itself. I enjoyed the oysters downtown quite a bit, and Railyard's beers definitely wanted me to try more the next time I'm around.
I should also mention that the Goat Haus had kitchen that was serving flatbread pizzas, I think some sausage sandwiches, and I'm not sure what else, but it all smelled wonderful. Also, for Valentine's Day and to celebrate the previously mentioned anniversary, champagne and cheesecake was served, which was a nice touch!
Goat Haus Biergarten was a rather different venue for me, and quite enjoyable. The intimate setting was refreshing, and the people were there for the beer and the music, which is always nice. The vision that James (the owner) has for the brewery and the biergarten/outdoor music venue sounds spectacular, and I can't wait to come back when the brewery is in swing and I can play outdoor to a larger crowd with that view of the city lights! If you find yourself in or around the Montgomery area you should definitely spend some time here.
After the show I realized I was only a couple of hours north of the gulf coast, and I thought about swinging south just for the a few fun hours, but there was rain in the forecast and it would have meant a long drive to Huntsville afterwards.... so instead I headed north to Huntsville, where the next show is Friday night at InnerSpace Brewing Company.
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