They are the new kids on the block, but not at all newbies. With experience at Blue Pants, Rocket Republic, Straight to Ale, and other Alabama beer industry staples, Doug Tibbs, head brewer (or Chief Zymurgy Officer as he calls himself) at Chandler’s Ford Brewing Company in Downtown Huntsville (part of the Beezr location near the Madison County Courthouse), is leading the charge for new and innovative brews in Huntsville.
“People are much more aware of their money and how they spend it, and they want to try something they are going to remember,” Doug explained.
The way he plans to do this is through what he calls layers; creating really great “base beers”, then take it one, two, or even three steps further by adding in great flavors or a different process. Take for instance their Neo Fluff–a sour beer that is then fruited with strawberry and carries tones of vanilla and chocolate throughout the palate giving it a neapolitan ice cream vibe. Delivered on a nitro tap, it gives the beer a fluffy head and silky mouthfeel that completes the experience.
Or their Nitro Mango Coconut Puddin Pop stout which takes their already delicious Puddin Pop stout, and throws in coconut and mango to bring a tropical dessert to your glass.
With “something always in the works”, Doug follows a very basic plan: take great raw materials, create the best good yeast health, keep everything clean, and set yourself up for diversity. His goal is to bring new beer experiences to Huntsville.
“We aren’t quintessentially Huntsville, so we almost have to do things differently,” Doug said on bringing innovation and new beer ideas to Rocket City. He leans heavily on his experience with other breweries and beer industry, and then turns that experience to trying to bring what he has seen globally and bring it here.
Global influence like traditional German lagers (with their own lagering system) with traditional, imported 2-row barley (2-row referring to the number of grain rows on the stalk) and Hallertau Mittelfrüh hops. It was a hole in the local beer market that wasn’t being done. Doug added, “a large chunk of the population in Huntsville has lived in Germany at some point, so why aren’t lagers being done?” He also brings other European classics to the Huntsville market, like the Sanity Czech–a Czech pilsner created purely with Czech malt, hops, and lager yeast–and Candi–their Belgian Tripel made with imported Belgian malts.
The brews at Chandler’s Ford are all about diversity and quality, and that is intentional. Doug wants to create beers that “elevate the other brewers in town” and really drive creativity and diversity. It is based on making sure there is something for everyone, from Imperial IPAs to low ABV lagers and seltzers, while constantly thinking about how to take that style and make it better. “It isn’t whether or not I think it is good or not, it has to sell,” Doug explains, “I have to produce so these guys (referring to the owners of Beezr where they are based) can pay the bills.”
It is a pressure and responsibility that isn’t lost on Doug and it drives his meticulous approach to monitoring his beers and making sure every step is done well.
“I still wake up every day and wonder where this beer is today,” he explained.
This drive is why this new entry to the beer scene is creating such big vibes. Their shared space with Hippea Camper, the Beezr Champagne Taco Kitchen, and Northside Coffee helps them bring in all different types of clientele, but the uniqueness and depth of their beers paired with the fantastic food and service of the entire Beezr campus keeps bringing people back in the door. “Everything from making sure the right glass is used, to teaching the servers that beers poured from the same tap should all look exactly the same…it is about a consistency of excellence for everything. Great beer, great food, and great service.”
Doug Tibbs and his fantastic brews at Chandler’s Ford are quickly driving demand, and their passion to continuously bring the Huntsville beer scene what they want, is creating a buzz around the Beezr campus that is palpable, and Doug is proud of that. He prides himself in always making sure he has his finger on the pulse.
“I like to sit around at tables and pretend I’m not a brewer, and just observe.”
As Chandler’s Ford expands into canning and further pushes the creative envelope with what they produce, for Doug, it is all about staying true to what the market wants and what is great beer in their eyes.
“If the market sees me as the authentic thing…that’s awesome”
Chandler’s Ford Brewing is a part of the Beezr Complex
109 North Side Square
As a Charleston, SC native who grew up in a commercial fishing family, simple Southern life, weekends and summers in the saltwater, and immersion in great food and surroundings was always in Ben‘s blood. Then, after high school, he enlisted in the US Air Force and began to see all that the world had to offer, while staying grounded to his roots of good food and good times shared with friends and family. Ben has spent years throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and all over the US, enjoying great experiences all the way and honing his taste for great experiences, food, beer, bourbon, and cigars.
Now, after 21 years in the Air Force and the beginning of a second career in Huntsville with his wife and kids, he is searching out the best the Tennessee valley has to offer with its burgeoning craft beer and alcohol scene. He is also big into running, kayaking, hiking, and giving back to the community with veteran groups like Team Red, White, and Blue. Bringing in the education of his travel, southern roots, and love for exploring, Ben is here to share his discoveries of the area and his knowledge of his passions.