Susan and I love traveling together. It is one of the foundations of our relationship and growth as a couple. However, we also love our friends, and have been meeting a variety of them in Asheville for years. We’ve often talked about doing a proper road trip with our friends, and hope to make it happen soon.
We’ve recently moved back to the southeast after a couple years in Phoenix, which brings us closer to most of our friends. Our friend Rachelle was the first to visit us, and we performed the Alcohol Tourism hat trick: winery, distillery, brewery!
Whippoorwill Vineyards is west of town about 25 minutes, and is open early on Saturday, when we visited. The grounds are nice and the tasting room is small but cozy. Tastings are free, which is how the world should work. They have a good range from dry to sweet, and are fairly typical of Southern wines. It’s a great visit if you’re a fan of muscadine, which is a staple of Southern wines. This place explores the flavors a little more than what you typically get from a sweet muscadine wine.
John Emerald Distillery is in downtown Opelika, right next door to Red Clay Brewing. They have a good lineup, though the tastings are a bit pricey at $12. We bought a bottle of the spiced rum and the barrel-aged rum and would definitely recommend a visit.
Red Clay Brewing is our preferred brewery in this area so far. It’s quiet, cozy, welcoming, they have a wide range, and it’s all fairly to-style. Around the corner, we visited Resting Pulse Brewing on their opening weekend. Fortunately, it wasn’t very crowded and they were very welcoming. The space is large and open, so has the potential to be quite loud. They had a decent range, but none of it was quite to style or very good. Hopefully they will improve with time.
With all of our stops, we got to enjoy comparing the drinks, analyzing them, and talking conversationally. It was a great way to show someone our new area. Otherwise, where would we take people? Maybe the Arboretum, but we’re not going to check out the football stadium or such with our people. This was a fun way to do alcohol tourism ‘at home’ as it were. If you need to show visitors around your town, we can definitely recommend doing it with alcohol tourism! Like many types of tourism, it motivates you to see parts of your own town that you might otherwise neglect.