IT’S AMAZING how quickly Savannah’s local beer scene has grown.
Between our four local breweries, there’s plenty of unique, interesting and downright delicious beer to drink without venturing past your corner bar. That said, variety is the spice of life and the chance to try something new is always welcome. Take one of these easy craft beer road trips this year to quench your thirst for new brews.
Wicked Weed's Funkatorium
Asheville’s only 4 and a half hours away, but the depth and diversity of its beer culture will make you feel like you’re in another world. There are lots of places to hit, from well-established favorites like Highland Brewing to months-old small-batch, high-concept facilities like Open Brewing.
Wicked Weed Brewing has made a big splash in the national brewing scene thanks to its more extreme offerings. Apart from the standout Freak of Nature double IPA, the brewery is mostly known for its sour, barrel-aged offerings. That notoriety inspired the opening of the Funkatorium.
Wicked Weed’s Funkatorium is a few blocks away from its lauded brewpub, but the venue differs in that it solely serves wild and sour ales. In addition to tasting some of the craziest, most complex beers on the planet, you can also order tapas to share with your adventurous friends. There are over 500 barrels aging a wide variety of beers on site, and not knowing exactly how they’ll turn out is all part of the fun.
Cigar City Brewing Co.
Not enough good can be said about Cigar City and the product that rolls out of its bay doors and out into the wider world. However, many creative brews never leave the brewery’s property and the only way to taste them is to pay a visit to the Cigar City taproom.
At just over a five-hour drive, you’ll be ready to belly up to the bar once you arrive at the brewery. It’s not much to look at from the outside, but once you’ve stepped into the tasting room, the industrial exterior fades away and it’s easy to focus on the reason you made the trip.
Twenty-four taps represent the best of Cigar City’s regular line like Jai Alai and Invasion. But the list diverges wildly with exotic guest taps from the country’s most revered brewers. There’s a great sense of humor on display with some of the experimental house-made beers that are taproom exclusives. The succinctly named This Won't Be Popular In The Tasting Room, for example, doesn’t set high expectations for the Dark English Mild, 4.4% alcohol by volume sipper.
Thanks to Florida’s relatively progressive brewery ordinances, you can leave Cigar City with a growler from the tasting room or even buy cans and bottles to take home as souvenirs.
A rotating cast of local food trucks is there five days a week to offer barbecue, tacos and similar street fare.
Burnt Hickory Brewery
Burnt Hickory is producing some of the best beer in the country and it’s located a short four hours away. Located just north of Atlanta, it’s not the most invigorating drive but the quality of the beer more than makes up for the hardship of time spent on the road.
Nothing soothes road rage like a glass of Big Shanty, Burnt Hickory’s fantastic graham cracker stout.
You’ll want to consult Burnt Hickory’s Facebook page for the current open house schedule, but an ideal time to visit is on April 25th, when the brewery will be celebrating its third anniversary.
If last year’s event is any indication, the party will have dozens of BHB brews, including many rarities, available on a rotating schedule throughout the day. Those beers will be accompanied by samples from very talented local homebrewers.
The anniversary event is honestly more of a full-fledged beer festival than a traditional tour and tasting hour. The atmosphere is upbeat and friendly with bands and DJs providing music while you make new friends standing in line for your next pour. Bring a lawn chair and a positive attitude and you’ll have a one-of-a-kind brewery experience.
Even if you don’t venture to one of these destinations, it’s easier than ever to find new craft breweries and sample their beer.
No matter where your spring and summer travels take you, delicious, local beer will be waiting.