A friend and I went down to Wilmington, NC, to do some wreck diving with big Sand Tiger Sharks and it was pretty amazing. Also some great beer. Apparently NC has a huge amount of microbreweries now and I tried to drink local as much as possible.
The night we got there, we realized that the weather was going to be too rough for diving the next day, so we went out. First stop was Barbary Coast, a pretty cool bar downtown. I was given PBR. :-( Next we went to an excellent beer bar, Cape Fear. I had there a great pale ale, the Foothills Pilot Mountain Pale Ale from the Foothills Brewing Company in Winston-Salem, NC. It was nicer than a lot of IPAs I’ve had.
The next day, after hanging out at the beach, we went for some food and a beer. The beer selection at Dockside in Wrightsville Beach, NC, was pretty average. Only beer I didn’t recognize was called Beach Bum Blonde, so I tried it. It was amazingly boring, and actually not good. The waitress couldn’t find out what brewery it was from, but I wasn’t totally surprised to learn, after the fact, that it was one of those “craft” beers made by Anheuser-Busch. At least my taste buds knew better. Later on, we went to Lagerhead’s, a crap dive bar near the beach. I tried the Highland Kashmir IPA from Highland Brewing in Asheville, NC. It was ok, but not great.
Our last day, while packing up, I had a bottle of Highland Gaelic Ale that I bought at Cape Fear. The owner made me a 6 pack of various local beers. I found it pretty good, but not great. I guess I don’t love that brewery. Later on, we went for dinner at Indochine, a pretty good Thai/Vietnamese restaurant. I tried a Beerlao Dark, a dark lager from Laos. It was ok, but like most Asian beers I’ve had, pretty boring.
On our way back to NY, during a layover in Atlanta, we went to the SweetWater Brewing Company restaurant in the airport. I tried their SweetWater IPA. Quite good, but could have been maltier. Then our connecting flight got cancelled and we had to stay over at a hotel near the airport. We went to the hotel bar and had a Red Brick Blonde, a local beer from Atlanta from the Red Brick Brewing Company. Not bad; kind of boring.
Well after getting back to NY, I tried one of the bottles I brought back, the Up The Creek double IPA from the Thomas Creek Brewery. Very thick, heavy, and hoppy. Quite good. Definitely lived up to its 12.5% ABV. I’d recommend trying this one if you ever come across it. Not sure if we can get it in NY.