Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Georgia Road Trippin

Well, since Kridz and I weren't going to Denver this past weekend, but we already had the time off (you gotta be prepared), we decided to take a trip down to Georgia.

We had initially planned on going down to Georgia for New Years, but a death in the family changed that plan. So, since we weren't going ... yet... we rented a car and drove south east instead of due west.

We left Thursday after work, headed down I-57 then took a little detour over to Evansville, Indiana, and visit Turoni's Pizzery and Brewery. We were afraid that we weren't going to get there in time (the website says they close at 11), but thankfully, that part of Indiana is still on central time and isn't Eastern, so we had about an hour and a half to relax. We ordered the sampler platter that came with 6 beers. Vinny's Light Lager, Honey Blonde Ale, ThunderBolt Red Ale, Blue Eyed Moose, Ol' 23 Stout, and the seasonal brown (that I don't remember the name of. All the beer was good. I enjoyed the red the most. Kridz, I think, liked the brown the best, or was it the IPA? We also ordered the garlic cheese toast, that was pretty good, and the Lots-a-meat pizza. The pizza was thin crust and pretty darn good. Skot claims it to be his favorite. I did enjoy it, but don't think it'd be my favorite, not that I have a pizza favorite. We finished up there, and headed down the road, headed towards Clarksville, and Fort Campbell.

We both got really tired at the same time, and tried to get a room. I guess I know how Joseph and Mary (were they actual historical figures) felt, as there was no rooms available in pretty much the entirety of Kentucky down the road we were traveling. As we drove, it was dark (being near 11 p.m.) but every so often, you'd see a tree limb coming right to the edge of the road. Power crews were still working to return lines back to people. At first, I thought there was a convention or trade show in the area, because all the hotels parking lots were full of trucks with cherry pickers. By the time we got down towards Fort Campbell, the crews had finished in that area, so we were able to get a hotel. There were still several cherry picker trucks in the hotels parking lots, but it wasn't completely packed, like a bit further north.

We got up on Friday, and continued the journey to Georgia. Our only real plans were for Friday evening and Saturday evening. We had minor plans for Sunday afternoon (Illini game) but other than that our schedule was flexible, we still didn't know what we were going to do on Monday and Tuesday (other than drive back). Well, on the way to the uncle's place, Frank (the groom) called to say he was going to be up in our area on Wednesday. After a bit more talking, we determined that we would drive up to Asheville on Sunday after the Illinois game, and spend the rest of Sunday and Monday with them. So, now we have plans for Monday, sweet.

We got down to the uncle's place, and took our stuff in, relaxed for a bit, then jumped in the car and headed to Sweetwater brewery. Sweetwater seems to pride itself on being ... um... not mainstream. They've got beers like 420, Happy Ending, Donkey Punch... and I'm a fan of their beers. We arrived at the brewery about 4:45. Walked in, and thought, that the place looked really nice. The merchandise was set up to the side, and there was a beautiful bar, with their tap handles. Their website said the tour started at 5:30, so we were a bit early (mostly because we're from out of town, and didn't want to miss it). The girl behind the merch booth asked if she could help us, we said, yes, we were there for the tour. She said, it starts at 5:30, we would have to go outside the gate and wait in line. No, we couldn't sit at the bar; no we couldn't wait inside. We would have to go stand in the line and wait until 530. She said the manager was very strict about no people inside. I thought about "don't float the mainstream" and their trying to be different, but when it came down to it, it's only ok to be different it it conforms to their rules.

So we got in the car and waited. A line started to form around 5:10, so we got in line. We met some nice people in line, what's his name, and what's her name, both from C-bus, Ohio (but they were nice anyway). He mentioned that the tour is apparently a good tour, because there's usually a line. This kind of confused me...

By the time the girl came out to the line and set up the table, there was probably 50 people in line, I thought, these people must really like brewery tours in the south.

The girl then told us our options, for $8 we could buy a brewery glass, that came with 6 tickets, that are good for 5.5 ounce samples of their beer, or for free, we could get the plastic cup, that had 6 tickets that would provide 6 tastes (about an ounce) of the beer. We obviously bought two glasses. The girl then said, that there would be no tour that day, there was construction in the back. Kridz and I almost left, at this point (Atlanta Brewing Company is a couple of miles away). but we went in and got our samples of beer.

Apparently, Sweetwater is a good place to have your company Friday happy hour. The place got to be very full. There were several hundered people in there. It was like a mix of a rock concert and college party style crowd. This was not what I had in mind when I thought "brewery tour".

It wasn't completely unenjoyable, but it wasn't the greatest time. There were more people in there that day than were at any other brewery that I've been to, other than Three Floyds on Dark Lord Day. It wasn't a special release, it was just another day at the tap room. No wonder the manager is strict. I'm a sort of "serious" beer guy. I was a bit upset that I didn't get to tour. I was also upset that people who have an interest in how the process is done, were thrown together with the people just there for happy hour. I'd recommend having an earlier 5 p.m. tour, before the mad crowd. Have it like Dogfish Head, where you have to call or email before, so that you aren't stuck with the raucus crowd. You can still run tours after, but at least be considerate of those who are going out of their way to be at your place, so they can get through before it just turns into a frat party. Sure, it's your place and you can run it like you want, if that's the way you want it.

I still got a trucker hat, and a happy ending shirt, because I like the beer, even though I didn't like how the friday evening was set up.

We finished up there and drove back up to Marietta, then went to Taco Mac. I'm a big fan of Taco-Mac. Last time we were down, I joined the Passport Club. I think I'm close to getting a reward or something. They claim to have 100 beers on tap and 300 bottles, how can you not love that? On Friday, I had four beers that I haven't had before. That and some wings, made for a good night.

Saturday, we got to help my cousin move back in to my uncle's. That man makes me do more work than anyone I know. In the times that I've visited him on "vacation" I've: raked his yard; cleaned his gutters; helped split wood; and now, moved my cousin back into the house. That's more than I've done at my place in the same amount of time.

We finished that up, got cleaned up, then headed for the hour or so, trip east to Athens to go to Terrapin. We showed up to Terrapin about 15 minutes early, bought our glass with 8 tickets (for 4 oz pours) but weren't told we'd have to wait outisde, which was nice. The lady actually let us buy our glasses, go get them filled, and then mill about in the merchandise area, instead of having to wait outside. Sadly, Terrapin only had their 4 year round beers on tap at the brewery. So 8 tickets for 4 different beers. If you gave 4 tickets you could get a full pour of something, so if you go, and they only have 4 on tap, try them all, pick a favorite, then have a pint of that. I wound up with a pint of the India Brown Ale. Terrapin actually ran the tour, which was nice. They have bands playing during the tours... which isn't as nice. The tour starts with taking everyone outside to the grain bin. There, the tour guide talks about the history of the place, a bit about their beers, and a bit about the brewing process. Meanwhile, inside, a band is playing, and college kids are playing bags, and the place is turning into a fraternity/sorority party with a band almost exactly like the day before.

After the outside part of the tour, the guide takes everyone in and he stands on the steps to the brewhouse. He's talking into a megaphone, but that doesn't matter, unless you are directly in front of him, you can't hear, because there's a band playing in a factory building... acoustics are horrible, sounds echoing, man talking about brewing process ".... (megaphone points towards where where standing) barley being passed around (turns) mumble... .... mumble... (turns towards) hops... mumble... boil... 90 minutes... volunteer..."Granted I've been on tours before, but not everyone has. I'd recommend to Terrapin as well, to have a before tap room opens tour. But, this place, I can see as almost being what the owners envisioned. If it was in someplace other than Georgia, it might be.

I already had a Terrapin shirt, but got one for the Oatmeal Coffee Stout (Wake'n'bake). Kridz also got a shirt. I figure I have enough brewery trucker hats, in Sweetwater, Bells, Dogfish Head; that I didn't need another, unless, I'm gonna be the Brewery Trucker Hat Guy. hmmm.

No results found for "brewery trucker hat guy".

Ok, so now I have a goal, great... this is gonna be expensive.

Well, we left terrapin and were looking for a place to eat, saw a hooters from the road, and were gonna stop, until the backseat overrulled the uncle and I, so then were were gonna have mexican, but saw a Mellow Mushroom, and I was like hellz yeah, mellow mushroom. I thought back to the one in Asheville, with 4 pages of local beer on the menu... and, this place had like 10 taps and about 20 different version of american style lager. I had a beer that I just had at the brewery, as it was the best option. The calzone was really good, but the beer selection wasn't what I wanted. Man, it seems like a trip of massive dissappointment so far, doesn't it? It wasn't there's just a few things I'd rather have be different.

Sunday, woke up, went to Waffle House (our first time ever, for Kridz or I) so our waitress gave us both a hat. The food was ok, nothing too great. Then we went back to the uncle's looked for the Illini game. From the time I looked on Saturday, to Sunday, the game had been moved from noon to 1. It also wasn't on local CBS, so we hadda go to Taco Mac... again. Darn. More beer... horray!!! But, the time change was disappointing, as that meant I wouldn't be able to get to Bruisin Ales, because they aren't open on Monday, and they close at 4 on Sunday.

I talked to Frank, wh went over there after church, and picked up a couple bottles of Dos Cocoas, from Terrapin, and he also got a few other things for us on Sunday. I told him to ask them, if they'ed open up for an hour on monday, if I promised to buy $200 worth of beer, they said, they would be open at noon for me. So that was awesome of them. After the Illini beat THE OSU, we packed up and headed up to Asheville. We arrived around 7. Frank picked up some beers, so we tried Golem by Wedge. It went pretty good with the chicken that night. We later had the dos cocoas, and some others. Then crashed on the couch while watching NHRA. (apparently the nitromethane shortage is over, if anyone was wondering).

Woke up on Monday, then headed out to Bruisin Ales to go make my purchases. It was a pretty good haul. I finally picked up a Taste Your Beer Kit. I also got a shirt, so now I've got shirts for the #3 and #10 beer stores, according to Ratebeer. (beer haul for the weekend will be below).

We then went to a Sushi place down the street. Then got stuff for dinner. Ate, drank some beer, played yahtzee, then went to bed.

Drove straight back on Tuesday, as there was already 4 boxes of beer in the trunk, and probably didn't need anymore.

It was a good trip. Got some good stuff, some good beer, had a bit of fun, and actually got some stuff done.

Highland Black Mountian Bitter (5)
Duck Rabbit Amber
Duck Rabbit Barleywine (5)
Duck Rabbit Wee Heavy Scotch (2)
Pisgah Valdez
Pisgah Vortex2 (not 2 bottles)
Abita Abbey Ale
Abita Andygator
Shipyard Imperial Porter
Shipyard Barleywine
Smuttynose IPA
Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale
Highland Imperial Black Mocha Stout
Ommegang Biere de Mars
Cantillon Saint Lamivinus
Boon Geuze Marriage Parfait
BFM Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien
Lefthand Terra Rye'zd
Harpoon Rauchfetzen
Redbrick Winter Brew
Weyerbacher Firesirde Ale
Weyerbacher Autumn Fest.

Also picked up 8 bottles (but drank one) of Terrapin's Oatmeal Coffee Stout (Wake'n'bake) for eric, and 3 bottles of the Terrapin Dos Cocoas (drank one, one for Eric, one for skot). Also got 3 Terrapin Rye Pales, and 3 Rye Squared for Andy. Also gave a bottle of the Shipyard Barleywine to skot, as I apparently grabbed 2 of them.

No comments: