Thursday, August 21, 2014

Beer March On Washington

Washington, DC

I just learned that DC Beer Week is going on right now and it reminded me how far behind I am on this blog. Not too long ago, I had my own little beer week there. In fact, I wouldn't mind being there right now, drinking at Right Proper or Bluejacket, but instead I'll spend the rest of the day in front of my computer. Yippee.


About a month ago, I had a gig in the Capitol City and managed to find quite a bit of time around my schedule to explore the city on foot and check out some of its breweries and beer bars. Most of my wanderings came at night, after work, so I could only manage short trips in and around the area relatively close to the Convention Center, but when the week was over, I did manage to devote a whole day to walking and drinking, otherwise known as a UBH.

I'll get to the route map and the other shit in a minute, but first I want to tell you about some noteworthy places I visited that weren't part of the actual beer hike (they're the red mugs on the map below):
  • Pizzeria Paradiso - Georgetown: I really want to encourage you to visit any of their three locations if you're in the D.C. area. They absolutely belong near the top of any beer tourist's "to-do" list. You won't find a better tap and bottle list anywhere in the city and the pizza was top-notch. The night I went, it was muggy as all hell and Georgetown was crawling with people, but I found refuge at the underground bar. Just perfect.
  • On another evening, I took the Metro out to Arlington and met up with an old friend at Mad Fox Brewing. The pub itself isn't really anything to get excited about (my cheeseburger was terrific), but their beer offerings will satisfy your inner beer snob. Get a sampler and then some pints. You should sit a while because how often do you get to Arlington?
Some of the goods at Mad Fox Brewing
  • Right Proper Brewing is fairly new in town (I think) and was probably the closest place to my hotel. It's a damn shame that I only made it there once in my whole time there. There's a lot to love here -- try to sit at the bar near the cheese counter and have a chat with the cheese monger. Few things in life are better than beer, cheese, and good conversation.
  • If you're walking around the city, you'll likely pass through DuPont Circle at some point. If you're thirsty and looking for something very down-to-earth and friendly, try The Big Hunt. (There's also another Pizza Paradiso near here.) This place reminded me of a cross between Toronado, an arcade, and a hunting lodge. I don't really know how else to describe it. Good beer, good happy hour specials, and surly service. My kind of place.
 OK. On to the hike...

Monday, June 30, 2014

Juneau in June

Juneau, AK

Don't worry: he has rain gear in his pack.

With several bars residing inside the tiny downtown area, there are any number of pub crawl routes in Alaska's State Capital City. As for a beer hike, it took a little creativity, but I managed to piece one together for a recent visit. It's a long one without very many stops, but the scenery is absolutely striking and you won't be bored. Bring rain gear! It rains a lot in SE Alaska - even in summer. Packing a sandwich isn't a bad idea either.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Don't Forget The Alamo

* Editor's note: Chris is still crafting his write-ups about our time in Asheville, NC and Athens, GA -- at least I think he is. But in the meantime, I thought you might enjoy hearing about my recent little excursion to...

San Antonio, TX

I've spent a good amount of time in Texas over the past 10 months and it's a dirty shame that I haven't gotten around to putting up any posts about the excellent beer hikes I did in Houston and Austin. They're still on my list, but for now I'll try and take you farther south, into Alamo country.

Bathroom key at The Filling Station

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tour of Villes No. 2 - Knoxville

Knoxville, TN

A couple of days after our brief tour of Nashville, we hopped in the car and headed about 90 miles east. My buddy Kjell (you probably don't remember him from our Sacramento UBH years ago) recently moved to town and bought a little house. It was way past time for a visit and of course, while we were there we had to check out the local beer scene.


About the only things I knew about Knoxville before visiting were that, a) it's home to the University of Tennessee; and b) there was a World's Fair there in the early '80s -- which of course I learned from The Simpsons, S07E20 - Bart on the Road:


Kjell didn't join us on the hike, but luckily for us another old friend (and Knoxville native) John, did. John proved to be a competent tour guide and a worthy beer hiker.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Music City Saturday: East to South

Nashville, TN

Music City, USA. This was my first visit here and everyone who told me I would love it was right. On our first night, my old friend Kenny took us down to a part of town called The Gulch for some decent food at The Pub and then we lost our minds down in The District. The dense blocks of Honkey Tonks on Broadway reminded me a lot of Bourbon Street, what with all the great music, neon lights, drunk idiots (see below), and general free-for-all atmosphere. We definitely saw a handful of good, local beers on tap here and there, but this part of town is all about the cheap macro-lager and whiskey. I skipped the Jack Daniels, but drank a considerable number of High Life bottles. Kenny and Chris more than kept pace and before long, we ended up outside of Tootsie's World Famous Orchid Lounge:


As we hiked back to our Vanderbilt University-area hotel at 3am, past car dealerships and derelicts, I wondered how we would feel when we began our long beer hike in less than 12 hours...

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Trip of Villes

A couple weeks ago, after a long, tough work week in Atlanta, I grabbed a rental car, met up with Chris, and we headed northwest. I have some friends in Tennessee I haven't seen in a long time and neither of us had ever been to that part of the world, so that settled it.

For the next 10 days, we walked and drank around Nashville and Knoxville, Tennessee, Asheville, North Carolina, and Athensville, Georgia (you can call it Athens if you want). In the coming weeks we hope to share some maps, pictures and stories with you. I'm excited to finally present a fresh voice on this blog as Chris is planning to contribute for the Asheville and Athensville write-ups. He's probably been doing this urban beer hiking thing longer than I have and is a far better writer, so you'll want to stay tuned for that.

Chris blogging the old fashioned way

As for Nashville and Knoxville, TN, I'm happy to take those. I should have Nashville up in a couple of days if I can keep my ass off of a bar stool for five fucking minutes. Knoxville will hopefully follow soon after, but I might put Chris' Asheville stuff up first, if he deems it ready.

Check back soon. Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

UBH-ing in The OC

Orange County, CA 

Somewhere between San Diego and L.A.

Once again, I feel the need to come clean about my little hiatus here.

I have been working and traveling a lot in the past couple of months and it's been exhausting. Naturally, I've been doing a lot of beer hiking along the way, but I haven't found the inspiration -- or time -- to share any of it (except on Twitter, of course). Planning, mapping, hiking, documenting, and then writing all this shit down takes a lot of time and mental energy. I've always gone in cycles of being fired up to write and being completely uninterested. Currently, I'm feeling very uninspired and it doesn't help that I haven't stood still long enough recently to hole up and force myself to get it all out of my head.

Walk.

Think.

Sit.

Drink.

Repeat...

Make no mistake, I still love exploring a city's beer scene on foot and don't have a hard time getting excited about it pretty much everywhere I go -- but maybe I'm getting a little bored with my blogging formula: a nebulous map, a boring recount of Chris or I doing something dumb or eating something really unhealthy, some lousy pictures, etc... I don't know. All I can say is that it's a lot more fun and exciting when you're actually out doing it, but it also takes a lot out of you. By the time I sit down to write, I'm usually already focusing on the next hike and not really in the mindset of the hike from several days (or weeks or months) ago. I guess you know all this already. Or don't give a shit. I don't blame you. Just had to lay it out there. To Orange County!