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Fairhope Brewing Co. | Cheap Sunglasses Golden Ale

Fairhope Brewing Co. | Cheap Sunglasses Golden Ale
Chris Wallner

In 2021, L.A.’s first craft brewery turns 8, and there’s sure to be a Pelican Party like none other! Oh wait — you thought L.A. was Los Angeles? Try the other L.A., more than 2000 miles away from the City of Angels. This L.A. is Lower Alabama, and Fairhope Brewing Company is proud to call itself the region’s first craft brewery.

Photo credit: Fairhope Brewing Company

The Brewery

Since opening in 2012, Fairhope Brewing in (you guessed it ) Fairhope, Alabama, has garnered a following by continually releasing a variety of beers that appeal to all manner of consumers. Utilizing unique and quirky names such as I Drink Therefore I Amber and Raddle Me This only add to that appeal. The brewery’s trademark pelican — featured in various poses and outfits on all of Fairhope’s cans — is both an homage to the indigenous bird of the Gulf Coast and a nod to the laid back atmosphere of the brewery itself.

Photo credit: Gabe Harris (@thefairhopeguy/Twitter)

The Backstory

Initially Fairhope made the call to have a handful of core brands on tap at all times. But the crew also wanted to brew what they call “occasional beers,” those one-offs you might not ever see again. Early  patrons of the brewery were treated to OGs such as 51 Pale Ale, Painted Black IPA, Everyday Ale and Section St. Wheat. These four beers soon became Fairhope’s core brands, with the aforementioned occasional beers and small batch experiments rounding out the remaining 11 taps.

Alway pushing and striving to improve, the brewery looked to brew something with a big hop presence to challenge most palates as well as the brewers’ abilities. Remember, this was eight years ago: NE-style/Hazy IPAs were not widely known, and West Coast IPAs were all the rage. When Fairhope released (Take The) Causeway IPA, it created such a buzz that they dare not stop brewing it.

Refreshing core brands is never simple, as they are often what drives the engine that keeps the lights on, but a few years ago Fairhope decided to make an adjustment to their original lineup. This new Kolsch-style Golden Ale (brewed with Kolsch yeast), dubbed Cheap Sunglasses, replaced the stalwart Everyday Ale.

Cheap Sunglasses Golden Ale fits the bill in any weather. Photo credit: Chris Wallner

The Beer

The flagship change wasn’t painless, but Fairhope remains determined to keep things exciting. Following a transition from bottles to cans, Cheap Sunglasses appeared the scene. In contrast to the brewery’s Everyday Ale, an English Blonde, Cheap Sunglasses is a crisp and super sessionable Golden Ale. Don’t let the low ABV (4.2%) or the “session” label fool you, however — this beer does not lack in flavor. Pouring crystal clear, Cheap Sunglasses is hay-like in color with a thick head of foam. Sweet biscuit notes cascade over your tongue as the crisp light ale leads to a clean, dry finish. At this point, your taste buds want another sip and before long, the beer is gone.

No fuss, no muss and easy like a pair of Cheap Sunglasses: that’s this new(er) offering from L.A.’s Fairhope Brewing Company. Boating, hiking, tailgating — if you are craving a clean crisp ale, check out this keeper from down south.

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