The first satellite brewery of Alabama’s largest beer maker is now open in Sloss Docks next door to Birmingham’s historic Sloss Furnaces.
Back Forty Beer Company-Birmingham shares a name and elements with the mother brewery in Gadsden but it also has its own unique elements.
“We’re going to be focused on bringing core beers from Gadsden that people love but also complementing it with craft beer that you can get nowhere else other than this location and distributed locally in the Birmingham market,” said Doug Brown, owner and CEO of Back Forty-Birmingham. “These satellite breweries were developed on a concept of satisfying the consumer’s demand for unique craft beer that can be found nowhere else.”
The 6,200-square-foot operation has indoor seating for 170 and outdoor porches, decks and a beer garden that encourages visitors to relax on swings or rocking chairs or get a bit more active with a pingpong table, cornhole and is even considering adding fly-fishing lessons.
In addition to a full brewery operation, Back Forty-Birmingham has a kitchen where executive chef Russ Bodner is elevating bar food.
The Back40 Poutine comes with gravy made from Back Forty’s award-winning Truck Stop Honey brown ale. The Naked Pig Boiled Peanuts come with garlic, arbol chili and thyme. There is also Confit Chicken Wings with a rotating hot sauce, grilled okra with harissa and pickled raisins, and Grilled “Street Corn” with chili aioli, toasted coconut, lime and cilantro.
Bodner puts his twist on pizzas, too, and then shows even more creativity with large plates (Steak-Frites with Naked Pig “beernaise” sauce, anyone?), sandwiches (Lamb Burger for something different) and house-made sausages.
Bodner has developed his own style after working at an award-winning Greek restaurant in New York, working with Lake Martin culinary royalty Rob McDaniel at Spring House and then serving as an executive chef at Lake Martin’s Kowaliga Restaurant before going to St. Louis for a few years.
When Back Forty-Birmingham came calling, Bodner was ready to come back to Alabama and join the exploding culinary scene in Birmingham.
“I thought this was a great opportunity to bring something Birmingham doesn’t have – a brewery with a restaurant in it,” Bodner said.
Doing his own pickling and making sausages are a few of the elements that Bonder hopes will make Back Forty-Birmingham stand out. He believes the food pairs well with beers but also stands up well on its own.
“I want to have fun and I want all of the staff to have fun and learn with what we’re doing,” he said.
For this weekend’s Sloss Music and Arts Festival, Back Forty-Birmingham will be open and offering a limited menu.
Hours: Monday and Wednesday 3-10 p.m., (closed Tuesday), Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.-midnight and Sunday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.