Pandemic Travel Part 1

How do you write a travel blog about alcohol during a pandemic?  We have a backlog of ideas, I suppose, but ultimately we fell short on this.  Sorry.  We took our first alcohol tour in a while to south Georgia, north Florida, (Asheville) North Carolina, and South Carolina (GAFLNCSC).  We were both fully vaccinated, ate and drank outdoors away from people, and wore our masks constantly.  Was it riskier than staying at home?  Absolutely.  We tried to be as safe as possible but have to admit the most responsible thing would have been not to travel.  However, with all these cautions in place, we hit the road to see some vaccinated friends!

Albany, GA

This little riverside town had a surprisingly good brewery- Praetorian Fields.  Set up in an old warehouse, they had an impressively wide lineup and fairly well crafted beer.  The outdoor space was covered and, except for some screaming kids, fairly quiet.  If we go again, we’ll probably not stay at the Days Inn- a bit more run-down than expected.  Radium Springs, a naturally deep blue spring south of town, used to be a resort.  The gardens and grounds are free to walk around, and the water really is remarkably blue (especially for Georgia, where water is usually red-clay mud colored).

Amelia Island, GA

Definitely a touristy area, but the downtown area of Fernandina Beach was pretty cool.  Our favorite brewery was SJ Brewing, a little off the island- very well crafted beer.  We found an unexpected gem in the Marlin & Barrel Distillery, which made a tasty range of distilled spirits.  The other breweries weren’t too impressive, though, so I doubt we will go out of our way to hit the island in the future.

Jacksonville, FL

We were visiting friends who just moved here from Seattle, so we were all learning a bit about the city’s beer culture.  By far the best find was north of downtown, where three breweries all line Main St.  Our favorite was Hyperion Brewing- very well crafted beer in a comfy space.

St. Augustine, FL

We had to go to the oldest continuously-occupied European settlement in the country if we were close by.  And, fortunately, the alcohol locales did not disappoint!  Our most exciting find was Maestro Winery, across the street from Bog Brewing Co.  We walked out of Bog, I spotted the winery, and said to Susan, “Want to check it out?”  “Sure, why not!”  The sole proprietor was there in a small but clean space and offered us a free tasting.  It was all fruit wine, and it was amazingly done.  They had grapefruit wine, which was super interesting and I would definitely recommend.  Needless to say, we bought a case which I then had to lug all the way to our next destination- Dog Rose Brewing Co.  This place was filled with Parrotheads and loud music.  We had one round and bailed.

Next post will cover Asheville, Greenville, and Spartanburg!

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