Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Day 4: Heading for the Coast

We made it back on the road on I-40 on our route to South Carolina. There was a liquor store right near our hotel in Knoxville and we stopped in for a look. They had a very small selection but everything they had was higher gravity. The owner of the store gave me the scoop on Tennessee beer laws. A liquor store can only carry beer that is 6.3% alcohol and above. Everything under that can be sold in supermarkets and convenience stores. Interesting.
We wanted to see Asheville because I have heard and read great thing about the beer scene there, but we wanted to get to Myrtle Beach at a decent hour and Asheville is off the interstate by about 22 miles, so we skipped it. Every damn time I go by Asheville, whether east or west, I mean to stop there but it is really a place you have to make a destination for the night. If you get a chance, check out Brusin’ Ales and see the selection of beer. I am sorry I didn’t get to go but we hit the next big town.
The town was Greenville, South Carolina. Greenville is located in the hills of Northwest SC and looks like it has grown faster than the already-existing roads allow for easy maneuvering about the shopping areas.It is a strange town. One minute you are passing shacks and trailers and the next you are going by mansions. I guess the zoning board still has some catching up to do.

We made the mistake of trusting the GPS system on the laptop to tell us where the Total Wine and More chain store was and spent a half-hour trying to find it in the midday traffic, then went the old fashioned way and called the store to get proper directions. Turned out we were a half mile away when the GPS said we were in front of the place.
Once we got to the area we were happy to see a Whole Foods Market, which we visited to check out their beer selection.
I like our Whole Foods at Academy and Wyoming in Albuquerque. I really do. But they look like the ghetto Smith’s near the university compared to the one in Greenville.

The beer section was at least double the size of ours, and that seemed to be the theme for the whole store; twice the beer, twice the hot buffet, twice the sushi, etc.
I freely admit I am a sample whore, especially at a place like Whole Foods, where the prices are so high I feel I am entitled to try samples of food that were maybe not meant to be sampled, like from the hot buffet. I might even be known to keep plastic sample cups in my glove compartment in case I am near a Whole Foods. That’s class.
I ogled the beer selection but only picked up some Terrapin All-American Pilsener because it was on sale there; I figured we could get better prices at the Total Wine And More store.

We inched our way through the Soccer Mom 500 and into Total Wine. Now I know that this is a mega-chain type store and may just be hurting the mom and pop liquor store. I justify my stop there because: 1. there were no mom and pop places listed along our route through Greenville, and 2. The selection there was just so darn good!

I bought my first wheat wine, the Dragon’s Milk from New Holland Brewing out of Michigan. Wheatwine is similar to a barley wine but is made with a high percentage of wheat in the brew. I also got a bottle of The Poet stout from the same brewery.
You know what? I am sitting in the car trying to remember the other beers we got that day and I think it would be easier for me just to do a post when we get home of all the beers we collected at different stores during the trip. That will be easier than me trying to get in the trunk to dig up the Total Wine bag while we are on I-40.
Aside from going the wrong way in Florence, which I do every time even though I have driven the route at least ten times, we made it into Myrtle Beach without incident.
Next: the Myrtle Beach beer scene

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