Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

The Brass Tap brings craft beer to Midtown


Wherever Tracy Sides travels, she goes to the local breweries. She attends festivals, looks for new beers when she’s grocery shopping and knows the process of how each of her favorite drinks is made. She is, as her manager calls her, a “beer geek.” 

She’s also the lead bartender at The Brass Tap, the new craft beer bar in Midtown Village, which opened on May 29. The Brass Tap offers over 60 beers on tap, with at least three new ones a day. 

“When people come in I’ll ask them what their favorite beer is,” said Melvin Boyd, The Brass Tap’s general manager. “If we don’t have it we can get it. It’s just a process of knowing your customers and knowing the market, because obviously you’re not going to get a beer that nobody likes. You just have to talk to people in this business to know what they like. You have to stay on top of it.” 

Boyd admits that he didn’t know too much about the craft beer scene before working with The Brass Tap. So when he was hiring his staff, he made sure to find people who did know it – his “beer geeks.” 

“These people live, drink, eat, date, anything about beer they know,” he said. “The process of how it’s made, the difference between pale ale and IPA, they know what’s good what’s not. If you ask them any question about beer, they can tell you.” 

For Sides, that also means teaching the customers who want to know more. People aren’t used to drinking craft beer, she said, and she tries to help everyone find one that’s right for them. She usually hands over more than 100 beer samples each night, she said. 

“I ask them if they usually drink or what they usually like and if they’re not really beer drinkers I say ‘Okay do you like sweet or bitter?’,” she said. “I’m just kind of narrowing it down to a taste and what they kind of like to get from a beer. Do you like something that hangs in your mouth after you drink it or do you like to drink a lot of them and it still taste good? Or do you like to have two or thee and have something kind of hearty?” 

That sometimes includes teaching the other staff, like kitchen manager Cory Williams. He was only well versed in the kind of beer you can pick up at the store, he said, Bud Light, Corona, and Heineken, but working at The Brass Tap has introduced him not only to craft beer in general but local beers as well.

The Brass Tap carries beer from local breweries like Band of Brothers Brewing Company, Black Warrior Brewing Company and Druid City Brewing Company. Boyd said having a relationship with the local breweries means The Brass Tap can get new releases before other places in town.  However, that’s not William’s favorite part about working there. 

“It’s definitely the people,” he said. “Because once you have those customers that start to know your name and say ‘Hey that’s Corey,’ that’s always a plus.” 

According to Boyd, The Brass Tap’s target audience isn’t necessarily college students, but rather an older crowd of craft brew lovers.

“Craft beer’s not cheap, he said. “So we’re not going to find too many college kids that are going to pay six, seven dollars for a pint of beer.” 

When the college kids to come in, Boyd said he looks forward to introducing them to the world of craft beer and what it has to offer. 

“We can introduce them to something better than Bud Light, Coors Light, or Miller Light,” he said. “We can introduce them to good beer.”

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