Savannah Craft Brew Fest – Part 1 of 3 – The Arrival

River StreetMy girlfriend always told me that Savannah Georgia was the best place she’s ever called home. Her words painted it as an old southern style, river hugged city lavished in beauty and history.

Always describing Savannah-ites as overly friendly and unaware of the hustle and bustle of a northeastern lifestyle we are accustomed to, she warned me that unless I want to engage in a 20 minute conversation, I should stick to “Hello” as my greeting instead of my typical go-to “How’re you?”.

And right she was — but man, did I welcome it. The people in the south are incredibly welcoming and instantly willing to engage you in a conversation. From shop keepers to random folk on a walk, I think I almost grew tired of talking (a hard concept for me to fathom).

Savannah River and TP BridgeSavannah, Georgia is a 75 square mile town nestled under the armpit of the Savannah River. It would take an entire book to describe the town with a recorded history stemming back to the 1700’s. If you’re really interested in what the town has to offer, check out and follow @VisitSavannah for a ton of information.

Our trip to Savannah was two fold: 1) surprise my girlfriend with a trip to a city where she spent a number of years studying at SCAD and 2) the annual Savannah Craft Brew Festival happening during Labor Day weekend!

I gathered all of my information from Amy, the brains behind @SAVCraftBrew. She was so welcoming and informative that I felt as if I was going to visit an old friend.

Prior to the event, I even scored a limited edition Craft Brew Festival t-shirt from 2010 through a Twitter retweet contest. What a start to the trip – all before we even took off!

The organizers had various events planned for the festival including:

  • A craft beer dinner on Friday the 2nd
  • An American craft beer tasting on Saturday the 3rd
  • An International craft beer tasting on Sunday the 4th

Moon River Brewery TapsWe arrived in Savannah in the middle of the day on Friday and quickly began the town and craft beer exploration. After we downed an enormous plate of fresh seafood and grabbed two Fat Tires to go, we traveled the streets to our first craft beer stop: Moon River Brewery!

Moon River Brewery is a well known local brewpub located on West Bay Street and is run by brewmaster John Pinkerton. The pub brews all of their beers on the premises and features a weekly casked augmented version of one of their flagships.

Knowing that we wanted to try all the beers that Moon River had to offer, we ordered a flight and utilized our crazy yet logical scoring system to decide the winner!

Crazy Scoring System at Moon RiverBeing the hophead that I am, my favorites were the Swamp Fox IPA and Rosemary IPA brewed with rosemary spice. In addition to their own brews, Moon River also featured local beers from Terrapin and Red Brick. I had a pint of the Red Brick Brown Ale which to this day is my favorite Brown Ale.

Because we were not in the mood for the showcased beer dinner event at night, we ultimately landed at The Distillery on West Liberty Street. This place is a craft heads dream! I highly recommend it if you’re ever in town.

The Distillery Craft Beer MenuThe walls are filled with signs and logos of the beers that likely fill many of our refrigerators. That night, the bar was holding their 2nd Annual “Night of the Beer eek” which featured the infamous Dogfish Head Randall.

Unfortunately for the patrons, the DFH representative never quite got it to work and the Randall had to be quickly decommissioned. We did get a very small sample of the DFH Theobrama infused with chilli chips – awesome concept and unique taste, although not overwhelming or extremely memorable.

Founder Kentucky Breakfast StoutOh, and Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout was being tapped 30 minutes after our arrival. Patiently waiting until the 6pm tap time, I nursed a forgettable IPA.

Upon entering the bar, I requested a KBS and was pleasantly surprised when the bartender brought it over immediately when it was tapped.

What an epic beer. I can’t do it justice with words – this is one you need to go out and find.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Savannah CatacombsOn our way back to the hotel, we stopped by a fireworks show and got to see some of Savannah’s ancient back streets. All in all, it was a pleasant opening day to a phenomenal weekend!

Tune in tomorrow for Part 2: The American Craft Beer Grand Tasting!


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