Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Looking to next year

I just spoke with Stuart Carter, president of Free the Hops, the group pushing the Gourmet Beer Bill to raise the allowed alcohol-by-volume limit on beer sold in the Alabama to 13.9 percent from 6 percent. He said last night's failure by the state Senate to do much of anything has ended any chance of passing the bill this year. Carter and other members were disappointed, to say the least.

"If it had been voted down that would have been a more understandable outcome than it never having been discussed," Carter said. Like most of the other bills awaiting the Senate's attention, the beer bill died as the Senate bickered over and failed to act on the state's 2009 education budget. The beer bill won't be up for consideration if Gov. Bob Riley calls a special session of the Legislature, Carter said.

FTH members and supporters are now turning their attention to the second annual Magic City Brewfest, scheduled for May 31 and June 1 at Birmingham's Sloss Furnaces.

"The Brewfest is an opportunity to introduce more people to the delight of good beer," Carter said. He also said it's "a good way to get more people frustrated and focused in their anger" over the Senate's failure to act.

"And of course we want people to have an absolute blast at the weekend, because we want them to come back for next year’s Brewfest," he said.