Wednesday, January 18, 2006
On this day:

Not enough beers to choose from?

Blame the legislature.

Anybody who has walked the warehouse stacks at a beer distributor in Pittsburgh, wandered into a microbrewery in San Francisco or scanned the colorful aisles of a beer emporium in Nashville knows what Alabama is missing.

Aged and augmented beers, potent foreign selections and oversized domestic microbrews. A catalog of centuries worth of Belgian craftsmanship. Barley wines. Trappist ales. Optimators. Honeyed dobblebocks. Thick tripelbocks. ...

Free the Hops: Alabamians for Specialty Beers strives to bring these smaller labels and stronger concoctions to stores near you. To do that, the statewide lobbying group would have to hurdle two state laws.

The first law restricts alcohol content of beer to a maximum of 6 percent, which often translates to lager and pale yellow pilsner. Throughout Alabama, that means beer drinkers are limited to Coors, Budweiser and the other major brands that advertise during football games.

The second law restricts bottle size. No carafes, no quarts, no liters. Nothing over 16 ounces.