Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Brew Dogs Hit Birmingham

As summer vacation is winding down, we decided to squeeze in one last trip before going back to work. The girls are always ready for a trip to Grandma and Grandpa's house, but this time we added in a couple adventures into Birmingham and my brew dogs got to add a few more breweries to their lists.

Early in our trip, Barley had a consultation with a board-certified veterinary dentist (more on that later). Since we had to drive about an hour to get to the appointment, we decided to make the most of the trip by stopping at a brewery on the way home.

After browsing some Instagram pages for dogs at Birmingham, we decided on Red Hills Brewing Company since their website even had a counter of how many dogs had visited.

Aunt L and Grandpa (and Grandma--not pictured) came along for moral support.

I love the industrial feel of the breweries in Birmingham. There are weird rules about serving food in breweries in Alabama, so the breweries we've been to there allow the dogs to come right inside. A lot of them have fun exposed brick walls and other interesting features to the buildings.

"We take beer seriously, not much else."

In addition to having a cool atmosphere, most of the beers were enjoyable. We started with individual pints--my sister and I both had an Underdog IPA--and then split a flight so we could try some of the styles we weren't as crazy about.

Contrary to this picture, the Pils was not one we actually finished--we just had to get it out of sight!

Until some thunder rolled in, Barley was pretty happy at Red Hills. She was the only dog in the brewery at the time and she had plenty of space to relax with us. I was a little surprised at how little attention she got, though, especially since the website had the dog visit counter! Nobody--including the bartenders--even acknowledged her presence. I'm not sure that has ever happened in an outing with Barley before.

Later in the week, Barley went back to the vet to have her dental work done. Since I don't function well when I don't know exactly what Barley is doing at any given moment, we brought Rye along to distract me. Instead of driving an hour to drop Barley off and an hour back home and then doing that all over again when it was time to pick Barley up, we decided to adventure around Birmingham. 

Last year (in life before Rye), Barley and I went to Red Mountain Park before visiting our first Birmingham brewery and we enjoyed our walk there so much it seemed like the perfect place for Rye and I to go with her grandma.

We walked to the old iron ore mine shaft and stopped for some pictures and a water break. Thankfully, the day was overcast and much cooler than it had been a year earlier when we'd gone with Barley.

Rye and I got our first non-selfie hiking picture together since we had my mom along to take one for us! 

She had a much easier time balancing than I did.

Y'all, if I knew how to share live photos from my phone, you'd be horrified by the way Rye's tongue moves.

We got in over 4-miles before we were all hot and tired and ready to move on to the next adventure. We stopped at the same pizza restaurant we'd gone to the year before with Barley to get some lunch while we waited for the breweries to open. Rye was such a good pup despite the crowded patio and people moving around her the whole meal. During lunch, the vet called to update us on what procedures needed to be done based on the dental x-rays, but Barley hadn't gone into surgery yet, so we still had time to fill.

Next up was Ghost Train Brewing Company. We were the only patrons in the brewery when we first arrived--which is perfect for my shy pup. She needed a little time to decompress after such a busy lunch.

The beers here were pretty good--I loved the IPL and the brown ale, so we picked up some cans of the IPL to share with Rye's grandpa. 

I may have picked my wardrobe to remind the vet that I needed my Barley girl to come out ok.

Before we left Ghost Train, the vet's office had called back to let us know that Barley was out of surgery. They said that her anesthesia was still wearing off, so she wasn't walking around yet, but she was sitting up and had done very well. They asked us to come in a couple hours later for the post-surgery consultation, so we had time for one more brewery visit with Sweet Potato Rye.

Our final stop of the day was Cahaba Brewing Company. While I enjoyed all of the breweries the girls and I visited, this one was my favorite.

This one had all kinds of fun touches like a wooden plank wall, some sort of interesting upcycled wood for the tables, and really good beer.

Cahaba had the most options to choose from for my flight. As a hop head, I was excited to see so many IPAs on the list! There were so many IPAs that I couldn't even try all of them in one flight, but I did my best and picked out a white IPA (you just can't beat a beer with coriander in it), a regular IPA, a double IPA, and a Belgian IPA. They were all delicious and earned each one earned at least a 4-star rating from me on Untappd

I'd hardly had a chance to take a sip of each beer before my pup passed out on the nice cool brewery floor.

She slept the rest of the way to Pet Supplies Plus to get the wet food Barley needs to eat for two weeks and immediately fell asleep for the rest of the drive to the vet's office.

Rye was so sleepy she hardly noticed when Barley joined us in the car. Even though any day one of your pets has to be under anesthesia is a stressful day, I really had a nice day adventuring with my Sweet Potato Rye and my mom. I can't wait for our next visit to see what other adventures Birmingham has in store for my brew dogs!

We're happy to be home and looking forward to finally catching up on our blog reading, though!



  1. Looks like a lot of fun. The breweries should offer Bowser Beer to their dog guests.

    1. There's one near my brother's house that does! Barley is happier when they give her treats ;)

  2. What a great idea to keep yourself occupied doing something you enjoy while Barley was having her surgery. I can't function at all either when anyone is at the vet without me.
    You did well to wear Rye out too so she wouldn't bother her sister. I'm so glad all went OK with Barley's surgery!
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

    1. Rye was definitely a good distraction! I probably would have cried more than the few tears in the parking lot if she wouldn't have been along. She has been so good at letting Barley rest and heal even though I think it's killing both of them not to have a good wrestling session.

  3. Looks like you made the most of Barley's surgery. Very smart planning to keep both you and Rye from getting amped up and worried.

    Breweries are becoming some of the best pet-friendly places to visit. Many of them schedule food truck visits or allow you to order food from other restaurants so you can have a full night out while the brewery doesn't have to worry about health codes of having a restaurant.

    1. We really did have a nice time despite worrying all day! Most of the breweries around there do have food trucks on busy days because there are all kinds of weird laws about where you can sell your beer if you sell food, so if they want to be able to sell bottles and cans outside of the brewery, they can't serve their own food. The dogs love the breweries because they are always so nice and cool inside!

  4. We're glad Barley did so well with her Dental! This trip (minus the anxiety over anesthesia) looks like it was a lot of fun. Thank you for linking up to the Showcase!

    1. We did have a lot of fun on the trip! It was nice to have an adventure with just Rye, too, since that doesn't happen very often.

  5. I'm going to see if I can find the dental update, I missed it of course.

    Good to see so many dog friendly breweries. I wish we had more around our area.

    1. The dog friendly breweries are my favorite part of visiting Alabama. There's no better way to end a day of hiking that settling in with some new beers :)