Everybody knows that Blue Ridge is known for its beautiful mountains, hilly hiking trails, the wild waters along the Ocoee River, and of course the fun weekend getaways in a beautiful mountain cabin with your family. But did you know that Blue Ridge also has three very distinct breweries in downtown area?
The first adventure into breweries is the Blue Ridge Brewery located on Depot Street in downtown where they are passionate about craft beer. Blue Ridge Brewery is a brewpub and beer bar. There is always a great variety of beers on tap, six of the house and up to eight more at any time. The selection is rotating, so when one keg is done it is replaced with a new one, typically by another brewery and in another style. The beer can be excellently paired with the House Burger or many of the delicious entrées available. This could be a great reason to leave the comfy space of your Blue Ridge cabin and enjoy a night of great food and walking the streets of downtown Blue Ridge.
And soon to follow was a micro-brewing company called Fannin Brewing Company. It was started by Tom Fennell while he was in Germany enjoying a glass of beer at the communal table in the Augustiner BierGarten. When Tom returned home to Blue Ridge, he joined up with Pat Walker of the Blue Ridge Brewery and they began selling their first beer in October of 2012 here in the North Georgia Mountains. By June 2013, a deal with Eagle Rock Distributing was signed, and Fannin Brewing Company’s beers were on tap in 8 restaurants, then 14, and then 24. In April, they began brewing in their new location – 3758 East First Street, and the tasting room opened in May of that same year. Tom and Pat have combined their love for German beer, experience making wine and their passion for the mountains to create world-class beer with local focus. Some of the beer they have are named for places in Fannin County such as Hiwassee Golden Ale, Blue Ridge Lager, and Toccoa Brown Ale. Fannin Brewing Company is partnered with Eagle Rock Distributing, which sponsors many events in Blue Ridge such as Fire and Ice, Taste of Blue Ridge, and the Blues and BBQ Festival every year.
Next is a unique brewing company also located in downtown Blue Ridge, the Grumpy Old Men Brewing. Founded in October of 2012 by Steve Webber and Chipley McKnight, Grumpy Old Men Brewing is a must see nano-brewery in downtown Blue Ridge. As long as there is a car in the driveway, then they are there. Steve and Chipley were a couple of old retired guys living in the Blue Ridge Mountains, who started brewing in their backyard, and were quickly graduated to a more efficient system when their brews became popular with family. Their corporate mission is simple: “If we don’t like it, we don’t drink it. If we don’t drink it, we don’t sell it.” That’s just the kind of hometown good ole boy feel that people love and seek when they come to the North Georgia Mountains. In January, Grumpy Old Men Brewing was visited by the Beer Street Journal. Soon after the visit an article was written, and a video was posted on the Beer Street Journal’s website. A few of the beers Steve and Chipley have are named for local spots in Fannin County such as Aska Pale Ale, a well-known road in Fannin County, Hell’s Holler Porter, and Moon Over Blue Ridge.
Once you visit any of these three craftsman style businesses, you are sure to return with a watery mouth. When you have that special brewed beer, think of all the time, energy, and thought one of these amazing men put into making your experience a one of a kind. And think of the possibilities you could come up with to enjoy one of these cold, original style beers……….cozied up to a crackling fire or enjoying a fun family cookout at a huge mountain cabin in beautiful Blue Ridge Georgia. What will you do to enjoy?