Under the Tap

Craft Beer, Craft People, Craft Places

Category: Craft Events

Things happening in the beer world.

Appalachian Brew, Stew & Que

It was a Tuesday night in October when Wyatt called.  He was helping with a beer fest in his hometown. It was only 4 days away and one of the bands had canceled. “I know it’s short notice, but is Dogwood Winter available to play a beer festival this Saturday?” As most of you know, Dogwood Winter is a musical project that I am a part of with two very talented gals in Bryson City. I was scheduled to work and I was sure Alma had a show with another band, but I couldn’t say no. I mean, a chance to get paid to play music with a couple of my best friends AND taste some new brews?! Sign me up! I started photo_11making calls and with a little juggling we made it work and accepted.

That Saturday afternoon we piled into a VW bus with the band and some friends and headed south to Hiawassee, Georgia. On the way down we rehearsed harmonies and enjoyed the beautiful fall scenery. What a perfect day for a festival!

If you’ve never been to the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds, you’re really missing out. The venue is reminiscent of a small lakeside mountain community. Instead of rows of tents like you see at most beer or craft fests, there are little cabin-like structures for vendors to set up in. This not only made for a good looking event, but a convenient one as well. Vendors just brought their wares and were provided weather-proof space complete with electricity.

This was their first attempt at a beer festival and I think it went over well. There were somewhere around 21 breweriesphoto-2 present, some from Georgia and a couple from North Carolina. I was able to try some beers from a few breweries I had never heard of. My favorite of the day was probably the Coconut Porter from Cherry Street Brewing Co-Op in Cumming, Georgia. I also got a chance to try a beer made from grits brewed by a small brewery in my hometown of photo_51Hampton, Georgia, Jailhouse Brewing Company. Erin, our banjo player, is gluten-free and found some tasty ciders from various places.  Along with the craft beer, several people were serving up food. BBQ fresh out of the smoker and Brunswick stew made from scratch. It smelled like heaven strolling through the fairgrounds.

In the middle of it all was a stage. Several regional acts took the stage throughout the day. We went on mid-afternoon and then took the stage again later that evening as a part of an Americana music jam with Wyatt Espalin, Rob Tiger, and some of their talented friends. There were tables and chairs set-up so people could eat, sip, and enjoy the tunes. We had a blast!

Everyone did a great job. Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds first beer fest was a success. Thanks for the invite. Let’s do it again next year!

Check out Wyatt Espalin’s website for more info about his music and how you can get it. www.wyattespalinmusic.com

 

The Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds are located at 1311 Music Hall Road in Hiawassee, Georgia.

Doc Holliday Beer, Wine, and Art Festival

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Pearl Bottom Radio entertaining the crowd.

This weekend I was in my old hometown of Griffin, GA and had the pleasure of attending the Doc Holliday Beer, Wine, and Arts Festival.  First, I must say that I was happy to see that the town I left has some progressive thinkers and that festivals like these are happening. While it was small and humble, it lacked for nothing. There were great beers , fine IMG_4368wines, and even finer works of art. The stage hosted some very talented local IMG_4374musicians. Ice cold bottles of water were free for the taking and the same tent was offering free breathalyzers to make sure everyone was good to go.  The Grazing Here food truck was on site serving up a tasty lunch. The set-up was orderly and the people were friendly. Even the local law enforcement helping with gates and road closings seemed to be enjoying the crowd.

The ticket price was more reasonable than I expected. While early-bird and VIP passes are available, I paid the general admission price of $10 which got me through the gates with my own commemorative pint glass. I was then able to purchase tickets for beer tastings. They were $1 per 3 oz pour, which was cool. If you really liked a beer, you just cashed in IMG_4363four tickets and to get a full 12 oz pour.

I tried lots of GA beers,however there was craft brew from all over being poured. I tasted the Fixin’ To Session IPA from Jekyll Brewing, the Cadence Belgian Ale from Reformation Brewing, and the Cannon Dragger from Burnt Hickory Brewing. I also enjoyed sampling beers from Monday Night Brew, Jailhouse Brewing, Wild Heaven and Creature Comforts. Georgia has a lot to offer in the way of craft beer. The scene is growing. I am happy that my home state is producing some tasty brews.

Now for the coolest part? Doc Holliday Beer, Wine, & Art Festival is used as a way to raise money for various local charities. This year the proceeds went to Camp Southern Ground, a camp that allows children to “overcome academic, social and emotional difficulties so they may reach their full potential and provide the tools necessary to achieve excellence in all facets of their lives”. Sounds like a worthy cause to us.

IMG_4365 I am looking forward to attending this festival again next year. The beer and people were too good not to want more. Festivals aren’t easy. A lot of behind the scene stuff goes on before the fun begins and the work doesn’t stop when the gates close. Thanks to all of the dedicated people who made this happen. I was glad to be a part of it. Cheers!

 

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