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CASTLE MALTING NEWS in partnership with www.e-malt.com
05 July, 2020

Brewing news USA, FL: Alga Beer Company to open its own brewery in East Hill, Pensacola

For years, the Alga Beer Company has been represented at nearly every beer-related event and festival in Northwest Florida, the Pensacola News Journal reported on July 3.

The company's logo is printed on commemorative glasses alongside other Pensacola breweries, and the men behind that logo have earned awards for the quality of their beer.

But Alga has been without a physical home in Pensacola — until now.
The three-man team at Alga announced on July 3 that East Hill will be that home, as the brewery has officially moved into the building at 2435 N. 12th Ave. The location is the former home of the Brew Ha Ha restaurant, which struggled to stay open a year into its tenure and remained closed after the state-mandated restaurant closure was lifted in May.

Alga's owners said their goal is to open up by November. When they do, they plan on bringing great beer and a befitting atmosphere to a pocket of Pensacola that jives perfectly with the brewery's personality.

"We looked on North Palafox, we looked downtown, we looked on South Palafox and nothing really worked for us," co-owner John Hodgdon II said Thursday. "It's been a journey to find the perfect fit, and this it."

About five years ago, Alga co-owners Brett Reid and Thomas Grier bonded over their love of home brewing while experimenting with the craft remotely. After graduating from the University of Alabama together, the close friends went their separate ways, with one moving to Birmingham, Alabama, and the other heading to Atlanta.

When their home brewing hobby started to manifest into something bigger, they came up with the name "Alga," an abbreviation mash-up of the two states this project derived from.

"They would try to replicate beers similar to the kinds of beers they liked," explained Hodgdon, who met Grier and Reid a few years later. "Without showing cans to people, they would do blind taste tests with folks and people regularly liked the Alga beer more. So then it became a company."

Stylistically, Alga prides itself on crafting classic, American style ales and lagers. Listed on the company's website are three of its cornerstone beers: A "Palahops" Indian Pale Ale, a "Camaro Hair" hoppy lager and a "Hwy Juice" golden sour. Go to algabeerco.com to check out descriptions of each.

"Alga has an incredible product, our beer is good, it does get a lot of credibility," Hodgdon said. "We're the only home brew operation that exists in Pensacola or Escambia County or the Panhandle of Northwest Florida in general that was treated like a brewery before we have a space."

Hodgdon, who specializes in the business aspect of the company, said his demographic analysis showed that East Hill enjoys quality craft beer. The guys at Alga look forward to delivering exactly that to the community when their brewery makes its highly anticipated Pensacola debut.

"We feel like we're going to be treated like new neighbors, and we can already see that (on social media)," said Hodgdon, who actually grew up in the East Hill area. "We're already being welcomed by Logo Motion, East Hill Barbershop, East Hill Pizza. Our goal is to be a good neighbor and to be a good steward of the neighborhood. ... For me, that neighborhood is very special and I think this is something that they want."

For those curious, the popular Pensacola mural painted on the side of the 12th Avenue building will remain intact.


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