Adventures with Alice: Strange Brew Coffeehouse
Jennafer Bowman | Editor-in-Chief
Watch our accompanying YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/QE3T9ra-7aM
Tuscaloosa is full of good coffee shops: in fact, we even have a whole guide about some of the best T-Town sips you can get in Volume 8, Issue 2, launching in April. But, the latest addition to T-Town’s caffeine scene is Strange Brew Coffeehouse.
Located on The Strip, Strange Brew is stationed in an old royal blue gas station. Originally started in Starkville, Mississippi, the Tuscaloosa location is the third Strange Brew coffee shop in the southeast.
“Strange Brew started out of a need in Starkville, Mississippi because there was no small, locally owned places for students to hang out and get coffee or treats, or get ice cream, all of the good things,” says Katelyn Reed, owner of Strange Brew Coffeehouse. “17 years ago we came up with the idea for Strange Brew and it started.”
Reed earned her Ph.D from The University of Alabama. The idea of bringing Strange Brew to UA stemmed from her then fiancé having to sit around in his car, waiting to pick Reed up from class.
“When I was in college, I started studying at 9 p.m. on the day before everything was due and we wanna be an accessible place for people that do need somewhere to go in the evenings,” says Reed. “It’s also great to have an option for people to go out somewhere late if they don’t want to go to a bar and have somewhere that they can come and be social and have treats and not, um, you know, necessarily be wrapped up in that type of social environment. We’re a late-night coffee shop that allows students to not be limited to the campus library.”
From different menu items such as breakfast sandwiches, slices of cake and even gluten-free sausage balls, there’s something for every student. A highlight for the breakfast delights are the aDORAbles, egg bites filled with ham, cheese or spinach, and encased in a flakey crust.
“My favorite pastry item is the aDORAbles, which is named after Grandma Dora,” says Reed. “It was a recipe that I’ve used all these years and now, we are able to use it here and kind of pass on that tradition.”
But, what would a coffee shop be without an extensive caffeine-filled menu? Strange Brew offers a creative and diverse selection whether it’s a caffeine boost you’re after or a simple tea. The menu is made up of specialty drinks, monthly specials, non-caffeinated beverages and Bolts, a combination of syrups and RedBull.
A staple drink that we recommend? The Crimson & White, named after our favorite school’s colors. A mix of raspberry and white chocolate, available iced, hot or blended.
The sweetest part though, is each hot drink is served with a chocolate covered espresso bean. Plus, while you’re waiting for your new favorite coffee order, browse southern inspired merch such as coffee mugs, candles and even a cup with Nick Saban on it.
“My favorite things about Strange Brew is that we have a massive menu so we can cater to everybody: vegan, gluten free, low carb, whatever people need. We can have things that are based on Tuscaloosa and it always makes me smile when people come in and they can really respond to a customized item on the menu,” explains Reed.
Jennafer Bowman serves as our Editor-in-Chief. Throughout her four years with Alice, she has written multiple stories for both our digital and print channels, and contributed to our social media team. Originally from Williamsport, Pennsylvania, she is a current senior studying public relations with a minor in creative writing. She has previously served as our Lifestyle and Managing Editor.
ABOUT ADVENTURES WITH ALICE
Adventures with Alice is our monthly web series where we explore different restaurants, businesses and activities in the Tuscaloosa area. Make sure to check back in every month for a web article and accompanying YouTube video showing our adventures around T-Town.