WRITTEN BY JONES WILLINGHAM
PHOTO BY JOSH MATTHEWS
The history of Avondale Brewing Company is undeniably linked with its current status as one of the hottest spots in Birmingham. You see this all across town with the presence of the beloved Miss Fancy, the beer-guzzling elephant that has become the mascot of ABC. Formerly serving as a post office, a firehouse, and a popular bar called the Long Branch Saloon, ABC has settled in to being one of the best places for drinks, live music, and a good time in all of Birmingham.
You can’t talk about ABC without talking about the incredible beers that are brewed on-site. Brewing started in 2010 at the Avondale site, and the ABC selection has grown into a nationally-acclaimed brand with favorites such as the Spring Street Saison and the Vanillaphant Porter. All of the beer is handcrafted and brewed in the back, with the taproom serving as the tasting area for patrons to sample newer, seasonal beers and the longtime favorites that are now sold across the country. ABC has everything a beer connoisseur could dream of — from the tropical fruity flavor of the Spring Street Saison to the velvety warm Battlefield IPA, ABC’s selection ensures that you can find a favorite drink to sip on while you enjoy the exceptional live music in the Backyard.
What do J. Cole, Manchester Orchestra and Portugal. The Man have in common? All have graced the Backyard stage at Avondale Brewing Company within the past three years! The Backyard has the unique capability of being an incredibly pleasant open-air venue while still maintaining the intimacy of your favorite indoor venues. At shows in the Backyard, the energy is palpable as music fans of every kind flock in to take in a night of live music. When the summer nights are right, it’s impossible to find a better concert experience than at ABC. For that matter, anything is possible at an Avondale show — I’ve seen everything from the biggest jam bands to singer-songwriters grace the stage with packed audiences jamming along to every word. Local promoters see the value in Avondale, as well — Todd Coder of Code-R Productions said “our two Tyler Childers shows this year were simply amazing. To have an artist like Tyler play two sold out shows at the Brewery [a first in the venue’s history] created an energy like I’ve never seen at Avondale.” At ABC, every show is an opportunity for a moment that fans will always hold onto; whether it be Judah and the Lion’s impromptu acoustic performance on the street following a lightning storm or Frank Turner’s crowd-surfing all the way to the back of the Backyard, a night at Avondale listening to live music is one that won’t be forgotten.
The Backyard serves as more than just a live music destination, though. In the daytime, the Backyard becomes an oasis for patrons to sit back and enjoy a beer with friends. ABC is also a perfect place to bring your four-legged friends — if you’re ever feeling lonely, swing by ABC on a Sunday afternoon and I promise you’ll find so many dogs that are dying to be pet. The events held in the Backyard aren’t limited to live music, either: with the addition of a new 30 foot-by-17 foot LED wall to the back of the stage, ABC has established itself as the premier place to watch football games, Birmingham Legion matches, and even movies in their Movies on Tap series presented by Buffalo Rock. As the weather shifts and the heat dims, make your way to ABC to kick back on the lawn and enjoy an afternoon of football and brews.
One of the newest developments at Avondale Brewing Company is the Upstairs at Avondale. This new event space is capable of holding everything from wedding receptions to private parties, and it’s just opened up as another concert venue for Birmingham. After being used for the Secret Stages Music Discovery Festival for the past two years, the room has seen national artists such as Rayland Baxter, Rose of the West and the Felice Brothers take the stage to deliver truly unforgettable, intimate performances. Avondale is actively booking and encouraging local shows in this venue, as well — already on the docket are shows with local bands Venture Boi and Jada Cato, and further into the Fall begins the Listen Local series with rising RnB singer Love Moor and rapper Richard Daniel. Matt Sanderlin of Venture Boi believes “the Upstairs at Avondale is an exciting space to feature local bands and touring acts in a way that only Birmingham can,” as its unique design and capacity allows for it to create intimate experiences with the best artists.
With a rich history, stellar brews, and amazing entertainment year-round, Avondale Brewing Company is set to entertain Birmingham for years to come. This fall at Avondale is stacked with amazing shows from Phantogram, GRiZ, and Moon Taxi in the Backyard, and there’s no excuse not to go pay a visit and kick back with Miss Fancy