Huntsville, Alabama is home to Redstone Arsenal, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, the U.S. Space and Rocket Center museum – and the Straight to Ale brewery which celebrates the city’s connection with space exploration in the names of its beers.
- Monkeynaut (“Named in honor of Miss Baker and the other monkey astronauts who bravely paved the way for manned U.S. spaceflight….”)
- Werner Von Brown Ale
- Rocket City Red
- Dark Planet
- Laika (“Named for the heroic Russian space dog…)
- Rocket Bock
Straight to Ale began as a way for its hobbyist founders to evade Alabama’s law against homebrewing (really!) but the owners just broke ground in July for a new facility that will make theirs the largest brewery in the state, and produce enough beer to begin distribution throughout the southeast region.
You can download a complete list of Straight to Ale products here [PDF file].
[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster for the story.]
mmm the Werner Von Brown Ale sounds rather tasty.
I love those retro style image on the labels. Hopefully the beer is good.
A beer named “Unobtanium.” My heroes!
So Alabama is a NASCAR hotbed that still doesn’t allow home brewing? What’s wrong with this picture? Do they understand how NASCAR started?
Very nice labels. I really Laika, their von Braun portrait makes it look like he drank too much of the Brown Ale last night, and came to work to get his mind off how he feels.
Oh, my home turf! The greater Huntsville metro area has 8 breweries (all but one has a taproom, and that one will open soon). You can hit all of them in a day, but it’s kind of a long day.
StA’s beers are excellent. The first release of Unobtanium was amazing. Like many of their smaller experiments, it was only served in the taproom. They had a sour on tap last year that was amazing.
Rocket Republic also celebrates space exploration, but with less specific names, like Astronut Brown Ale. Check out their logo.
Homebrew is now legal in AL. The new location StA is moving to will house several other businesses, including a homebrew supply store.
There’s a grass roots organization in the state called “Free the Hops” that has spent the past several years lobbying for changes to our absurd beer laws. 10 years ago, the only place you could open a brewery was a location that had been a brewery prior to prohibition. Free the Hops has successfully lobbied to increased the % ABV that can be sold, fixed the location issue, legalized homebrew, and right now a committee is being set up to examine the state’s distribution system. The organization has been great for us homebrewers as well as business owners. It is a very exciting time for craft beer in Alabama.
I’m in Huntsville, too! Color me surprised (and pleased!) to see this on File770. And DMS, you covered all the points I was getting ready to make, so thanks!
I’m very fond of their Unobtanium, though it’s best drunk cautiously and in low quantities given its 11.5% ABV. When it first came out it was indeed ridiculously hard to obtain.
They also make Illudium, a similarly-high-gravity old ale.
A tour of Straight To Ale’s facilities was one of the highlights go the 50th DeepSouthCon.
Stephen, I took out a whole paragraph about local distilleries, current and future. 🙂
My favorite thing about StA’s new facility is that it will cut down on the drive time between breweries when I take out-of-town guests on the brewery tour circuit.
It’s been fun to be in Huntsville as we’ve gone from “no high gravity beers are you all drunkards???” to “okay high gravity beers but homebrewing is illegal” to “okay, homebrew if you must but no bombers” to “fine fine have your big bottles”.
I’d like to thank Bill Plott, who wrote about the Straight to Ale labels in the June/July SOUTHERN BREW NEWS. I wouldn’t have alerted Mike about these labels if it weren’t for Plott’s interesting and informative article.
The list says Rocket Bock, but the label looks like Bock Rogers. I’m thinking there’s a potential for a whole range of SF serial beers.
Honestly, I’d be too depressed to drink Laika. (Just look at that label!) Given the Russian theme, couldn’t they name it after Valentina Tereshkova?
Jack Lint: My impression was that they are two different types of beer and that Straight To Ale has produced both.
Yeah, Rocket Bock and Bock Rogers were different bock variants that Straight to Ale created. They’ve got Bock Rogers listed on their webpage, but you can see the Rocket Bock and its different label on Untappd.