Although the southeast isn’t the typical “go-to” area for wine and beer, that doesn’t stop states across the region from offering some of the best spots and festivals for spirits. Check out our list of places for a good brew or glass of wine:
• The Avondale Brewing Company has a large outdoor area with a stage for concerts and festivals; Trim Tab Brewing’s tasting gallery is a hot spot on the weekends when DJs spin tunes; at Cahaba Brewing’s taproom, you can play skeeball while quaffing the latest brews; and Good People Brewing pours its pints across from Railroad Park and Regions Field.
• Wynwood Brewing Company, Miami’s first craft production brewery, claims to create “a work of art in every glass.” Its Pop’s Porter took home a gold medal at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival in Denver giving it the title of best robust porter in the country.
• Mai-Kai restaurant stands as a historic landmark and beloved Fort Lauderdale institution. Catch a wave with more than 50 tropical drinks in the Molokai Bar. The Mai Tai, Barrel O’ Rum and Shrunken Skull help make up the long list. Bartenders wearing sarongs serve libations amid the bar’s shiplike design. Order the Mystery Drink, and you get the longstanding tradition of a waitress dancing before you.
• Still Pond Distillery in Arlington is a family-owned company which turns out Double Barreled Moonshine, Peach Moonshine and Muscadine Moonshine, an 80-proof mix of grapes and grain. The first products hit the market last November, and already the company’s Vintner’s Vodka has won awards. Cowart also offers an assortment of smooth, fruit-based vodkas.
• SoBou, the name a blend of South of Bourbon (Street), bills itself as a “Creole saloon.” When perusing the list of trendy cocktails, consider the Georgia O’Keefe. Named in honor of the American artist known for her flower canvases, the whimsical beverage contains a delicious concoction of floral liqueurs.
• Wrap up your time in the French Quarter with a ride on the Hotel Monteleone Carousel Bar & Lounge. This ride is strictly for grown-ups, and the revolving bar has been going round and round at the historic Hotel Monteleone since 1949. It’s the perfect setting for a classic Sazarac, New Orleans’ official cocktail.
• Asheville takes craft beer so seriously it adopted the title “Beer City USA” after winning an online poll. Beer trekkers can stop in at a range of breweries for tastings and tours, including Wicked Weed.
• There are 18 breweries in the Charlotte area, with as many as 15 more in the works, prompting some to declare that North Carolina’s largest city could soon challenge Asheville as the capital of craft brewing. Birdsong Brewing, Free Range Brewing and NoDa Brewing are within blocks of one another on North Davidson Street. Not far away, Unknown Brewing Co. boasts Charlotte’s biggest production brewery and taproom.
• Kitty Hawk’s Trio is a local favorite bistro/bottle shop with 24 wines by the glass, 24 craft beers on tap and more than 50 artisan cheeses.
• In early March (March 2-6, 2016), the Charleston Wine and Food Festival is one of the city’s biggest annual events, showcasing local chefs and Lowcountry food and drink.
• Founded in 2006 by restaurateur Carl Sobocinski and singer-songwriter Edwin McCain, Euphoria is Greenville’s premier food, wine and music festival and celebrates 10 years Sept. 17-20.
• Enter the bewitching realm of Blackberry Farm. The farm grows or produces nearly all of the ingredients that go into the meals — from freshly unearthed truffles and honey to vegetables sprouted from heirloom seeds. The vast wine list netted the Relais & Chateaux and Relais Gourmand property the 2015 Wine Spectator Grand Award for having “one of the greatest wine lists in the world.” Not a new accolade for the farm — it’s snapped up the award each year since 2006.
• About an hour’s drive from Blackberry Farm, wine enthusiasts will find the Rocky Top Wine Trail. The trail meanders through the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, featuring five wineries with more than 60 varieties. Free tastings and tours are available at each winery, and all of them are open daily.
For more recommendations about where to get the best barbecue in the southeast, check out our special "Fork in the Road" dining section at MyAJC.com.
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