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Traeger on the menu

 Back Forty Beer Company

With help from Traeger grills, chefs around the world are forging new ways to create culinary experiences and delicious food. “Traeger on the Menu” highlights restaurants where wood-fired flavor is always on the menu.

BRINGING BEER, FOOD, AND COMMUNITY TO NEW HEIGHTS IN THE DEEP SOUTH

Back Forty Beer Company was not made overnight. Their first beer, the Naked Pig, wasn’t even made in Gadsden, Alabama, where the brewery started. It was brewed in 2009 with a bit of help from friends in Mississippi, who had the equipment to get Back Forty’s first beer bubbling.

Finding a way to brew craft beer in a state where the legal alcohol limit at the time was 6% was Jason Wilson’s main obstacle. But, the original founder knew that Alabama—a state where the vast majority saw mass-produced light beer as their drink of choice—would welcome the change from craft beer wasteland to creative beer culture.

Back Forty’s name comes from an old agricultural term referring to the 40 acres of land furthest from the barn and most challenging to maintain because of its remote location. But, because the soil is rarely used, it’s often highly fertile and capable of producing a massive yield. When it comes down to it, the name Back Forty represents the story of the brewery. Jason saw Alabama as an overlooked area for brewing beer. He jumped on the opportunity to provide a locally made (and delicious) alternative to store-bought brews.

 Back Forty Beer Company

There’s always time for a beer and a bite in Gadsden See what Tripp Collins has to say about one of Alabama’s first craft breweries

It was made for the dreamers, the artists, and the makers. To this day, Back Forty is the backbone of Gadsden’s community.

“We took the time to educate our consumer and to essentially spread the gospel of craft beer,” Back Forty’s Chief Operating Officer, Tripp Collins, says. “Here we are 14 years later, benefiting from all that hard work.”

Since 2009, Back Forty has grown to brew a lot more beer, including the 2010 Great American Beer Festival silver medal winner: Truck Stop Honey Brown Ale. But, they’ve also expanded to be a full-fledged restaurant. For Tripp, that’s when Traeger came in.

“I personally have been using Traeger since about 2010. My father-in-law gave me one for Christmas one year,” Tripp says. “At the volume we do in our restaurant, Traeger Grills are very conducive to what we do… the options are limitless with how easy it is to operate.”

What started with the basics in their then-called “Test Kitchen” evolved quickly to include wings, chicken, and pulled pork. Then, with two Ironwood Grills in use, they added some brisket and pork belly to the menu. After that, it was a quick jump to include specials like shrimp and scallops. Now, they include rotating options based on seasonal foods—like pork belly BLT sandwiches during tomato season.

No matter what they’re cooking, their community flocks to that wood-fired food.

There’s starters like smoked chicken nachos that would steal the show if it weren’t for the mains. Diners can opt for the chicken sandwich with a gochujang glaze, or they can go with a southern classic like Back Forty’s pimento cheeseburger. And you can’t forget about the tacos with everything from wood-fired catfish to chicken and even vegan pork.

In a town like Gadsden, with a population of about 30k, Back Forty is a haven for great beer and delicious food.

“Back Forty Beer Company has always been a community-based business. Even when we first opened the doors to the tap room, we wanted it to be a public house,” Tripp says. “We’re very fortunate to have all walks of life in this tap room, from little kids that want to play out in the yard to retirees and older folks that want to come in and have a pint.”

From live music to trivia, bingo, brunch and summer markets, Back Forty hosts events that bring the Gadsden community together. The team also puts on charity events as a way to give back to their community.

In a video, founder Jason Wilson says it’s all about supporting individuals devoted to “changing the cultural landscape of the Deep South.”

“Over the past 14 years, we’ve had our trials and tribulations, no doubt, just like any small business,” Tripp says. “But, really and truly, we want to continue to expand this tap room and the experience here, whether that’s the food or the atmosphere or the general sense of community.”

If there’s one thing for sure, it’s that Back Forty will keep evolving and growing to make better beer, better food, and a better experience for their community.

 Visit Back Forty Beer Company

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