Putts And Pints – From Local Craft Beer To Great Golf, Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail Offers Exceptional Options

By E. Nolan

After a challenging round on America’s Original Golf Trail, prepare to wet your whistle in style at one of the eight luxury hotels at your neighbor to the West in Alabama. The Resort Collection on Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail offers exceptional dining utilizing a farm to table mentality for freshness and taste. Alabama’s growing craft beer selections offer great options for others who want to drink local, as well. Paired with local musicians performing nightly, you have the recipe for a great day and night in Alabama.

Alabama’s Craft Beer Trail
Alabama has great craft beer. In fact, it has an entire beer trail. By the end 2013, the state had 25 local breweries selling to local businesses, including the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail and its resorts.

Enjoy a draft from the Straight to Ale in Huntsville, a Back Forty Brewing from Gadsden, Good People and Avondale in Birmingham and a cold one from Fairhope Brewery along Mobile Bay. From small operations to breweries shipping regionally and nationally, the beer in Alabama is now as fine as its golf. Visit www.rtjgolf.com for special craft beer golf packages on RTJ.

Here are some of the top craft beer breweries in Alabama. Several offer tour and tasting options for a fee and are located near RTJ Golf Trail courses.

Avondale Brewing – Birmingham – Tours and tastings
Back Forty Brewing – Gadsden – Tastings
Beer Engineers – Birmingham
Below the Radar Brewing – Huntsville – Tastings
Blue Pants Brewery – Madison – Tours and tastings
Cahaba Brewing – Birmingham – Tastings
Chattahoochee Brewing – Phoenix City – Tastings
Cheaha Brewing – Anniston – Tastings
Druid City Brewing – Tuscaloosa – Tastings
Fairhope Brewing – Fairhope – Tours and tastings.
Folklore Brewing & Meadery – Dothan
Good People Brewing – Birmingham – Tours and tastings.
Patriot Joe’s Ales – Anniston – Tastings.
Old Black Bear Brewing – Huntsville
Railyard Brewing – Montgomery – Tastings.
Straight to Ale – Huntsville – Tours and tastings.
The Brew Stooges – Huntsville
Yellowhammer Brewing – Huntsville – Tastings.

The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, which welcomed its 10 millionth round of golf in 2013, has inspired other trails to blaze across the state. RTJ’s Spa Trail with five luxury spas in the Trail’s Resort Collection offers the recovery and pampering to end a day of great golf. The new Alabama Craft Beer Trail will help quench your thirst and raise your spirits at the same time. Play world-class affordable golf by day. Tour breweries and taste fresh beer from the tap. End the day in four diamond resorts and prepare to repeat day after day. The hard part is which course, beer and resort to pick first. Fear not, all are winners.

Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa
Point Clear, Alabama
Since 1847, The Grand has maintained a gracious tradition of Southern hospitality on historic Mobile Bay. The Grand Hotel consistently receives the AAA Four Diamond Award and is a family-friendly historical hotel that is 166 years young. A schedule of activities and special weekends is particularly attractive to families. With 405 luxurious guest rooms and having some of Marriott’s best spas, golf courses and pools, the Grand Hotel is now grander than ever. The Dogwood and Azalea golf courses were renovated in 2005. Once restricted, these golf courses are now open to Grand Hotel guests and the general public. All guest rooms were updated in 2010. The Grand’s 550 acres feature giant live oak trees, multiple beaches and lush landscaping. A military salute and cannon firing takes place each day at 4 p.m. and is followed by afternoon tea in the hotel lobby. In addition to world-class golf and the 20,000-square-foot spa, the resort has a variety of activities including eight rubico tennis courts, a croquet lawn, horseshoes, bikes, kayaks, sailboats and other watercrafts for the guests’ enjoyment.

The Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel & Spa
Mobile, Alabama
Originally built in 1852 and closed in the mid-1970s, the Battle House in Mobile has been restored to all its original grandeur. The Battle House reopened in 2007 and has been named as one of the “Top 500 Hotels in the World” by Travel + Leisure. Both the Battle House and its Trellis Room restaurant have received Four Diamond ratings from AAA. The hotel has also been named one of National Geographic Traveler’s “Top Places to Stay” in North America. The 238 gracious guest rooms, new spa and historic lobby, restaurant and ballrooms make Battle House the perfect urban retreat for business and leisure guests with an affinity for the finer things in life.

Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel
Mobile, Alabama
Renaissance Riverview Plaza, a Four Diamond Hotel, is a short walk from the city’s Carnival Museum, the Museum of Mobile and the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center, which also features blockbuster exhibitions. Having undergone a $50 million renovation, the 374 plush guest rooms are as popular as the hotel’s spectacular views of Mobile Bay. The Harbor Room restaurant features exceptional seafood and steaks. Mobile is the home of the country’s original Mardi Gras, and parades pass in front of the Renaissance Riverview Plaza during Carnival season. Guests at all three Mobile Bay resorts have easy access to great golf at RTJ’s Magnolia Grove.

Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center
Montgomery, Alabama
The Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center opened in 2008 and brings Alabama’s capital city a great cultural, culinary and corporate hub. The hotel features 346 luxurious rooms and suites, several restaurants and bars and a European-style spa. Located near the Alabama River, Renaissance Montgomery is a part of the city’s downtown revitalization. For concerts, plays and general entertainment, the hotel’s 1,800-seat performing arts centre is quickly becoming the city’s social hot spot. The Renaissance Montgomery is approximately 10 minutes from the Capitol Hill site on the RTJ Trail.

Montgomery Marriott Prattville Hotel and Conference Center at Capitol Hill
Prattville, Alabama
Minutes from downtown Montgomery and near the Bass Pro Shop and other shopping, the Marriott hotel’s 95 guest rooms were completely renovated in 2009. Seventy-four spacious guest rooms are located in the main lodge. Two eight-room luxury villas have living areas for informal gatherings and are ideal for golfing groups. The 10,000-square-foot Presidential Cottage features five executive suites, private balconies, a lush garden and a private heliport. The hotel was the first to be built directly on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail courses and overlooks the 54 holes of championship golf at Capitol Hill. Named the number 2 site for public golf in the country by Golf World readers. The Marriott’s Oak Tavern offers dining with an extraordinary view overlooking the 17th fairway of the Senator Course. Indoor and outdoor dining options are available for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Auburn Marriott Opelika Hotel and Conference Center at Grand National
Opelika, Alabama
The Marriott made a big splash in 2012 with the opening of a resort pool complex and a new tennis complex opened in 2013. Named the number 1 location for public golf in the country by GolfWorld readers, it is easy to see why U.S. News & World Report named Auburn/Opelika one of the top places to retire for golf lovers. Situated just 10 minutes from Auburn University, in the quaint historic town of Opelika, the Auburn/Opelika Marriott offers the finest accommodations in the area. The majority of guest rooms in this luxury hotel and resort overlook Grand National’s golf course, the pool and tennis complexes and Lake Saugahatchee. The hotel has 114 guest rooms and 15 luxury suites. For golfers wanting to move to the area, National Village offers upscale homes and cottages adjacent to Grand National.

Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa
Birmingham, Alabama
Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort and Spa is designed to provide a unique environment of stylish comfort and sophistication and just completed a massive renovations. Ross Bridge was named one of the “Top 75 Golf Resorts in North America” by Golf Digest. This Four Diamond resort has 259 guest rooms, with balconies overlooking the fourth longest golf course in the world at 8,191 yards from the tips. The resort also has 11 spacious suites for an extra level of comfort and indulgence. The resort offers luxurious pampering in a 12,000-square-foot European spa and has multiple restaurants including fine dining with a Mediterranean influence in Brock’s. The Clubhouse was named one of Golf Digest’s “Favorite 19th Holes.” J.T.’s tavern offers great drink and food options in a European atmosphere.

Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa
Florence, Alabama
Overlooking the Tennessee River and historic Wilson Dam in Florence, Alabama, the Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa continues to be the Marriott leader for exceptional golf, spas, dining, hotel rooms and guest satisfaction. The 200 guest rooms, including seven suites, have private balconies and riverfront views. The resort features Alabama’s only revolving restaurant. For guest satisfaction, the hotel’s spa is one of Marriott’s top 10 internationally for guest satisfaction. The Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa is a short distance from two new Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail courses – Fighting Joe and Schoolmaster. The Fighting Joe was named among the top 10 new courses by Golf Magazine and Travel + Leisure Golf. The Schoolmaster course opened in 2005 and approaches 8,000 yards.