Hard Cider & Craft Beer Fest

This was not a camping trip but it’s an event worth sharing. For Cathy’s birthday we booked a cabin in Blue Ridge, GA. Cathy is a big fan of ciders as you guys will soon figure out. She found this cider festival while we were on our way to Cookeville, TN on a camping trip. It was the 2nd annual Mercier Orchards Hard Cider & Craft Beer Festival.

Cathy had been attending beer festivals with me and she was very excited to find a cider festival. This is also a good time to share a little about us. We have a great set of friends that all enjoy beer and travel. We have several email and message groups and some of this groups even have a name. My favorite is the Aquaholics. Yes those are the boating people. Anyway, upon finding this festival we immediately started asking who wanted to go, we found a cabin, rented it and invited everyone to come stay the weekend in Blue Ridge. We are the spontaneous type and we are usually planning another adventure during the current one.

So now that you know we are impulsive with an amazing set of friends. Let’s get back to the trip. If you have never been to Blue Ridge it’s time to schedule a trip. Located in the North Georgia mountains there is plenty of adventure and the area is known for orchards, mountains and scenic train rides. There’s a good selection of food and craft breweries that we will cover as part of future posts. One of the more recognizable businesses in Blue Ridge is Mercier Orchards. This is a beautiful orchard located on rolling hills and features a large store with a cafe and a winery. Fried pies from the bakery are a must. Pick up some to take home.

Our first stop was in Ellijay, GA, to stock up on supplies for the cabin. That’s where we met this fella.

Go Dawgs

next we arrived at our cabin and a couple of our friends beat us there. They had dinner prepared for the whole gang when we arrived. I can’t say it enough. Friends are the icing of life. Since dinner was ready we had time to relax with a couple of beers on the front porch. The Pineapple Habanero version of Hop Dang Diggity was interesting.

It tuned out to be a fun night of drinks and karaoke. As usual stories were made that will be retold over and over.

Saturday Morning brought us to the cider and beer festival. As beer festivals go I have to say this was interesting and well done. They basically setup the festival in the orchard. The grass was a little high, or maybe thick is a better description. There were food trucks, tents, a covered picnic area and a stage with live music. We also found this interesting car in the parking lot.

I have to say this was a very well done festival. The weather was near perfect. Well as near perfect as August in Georgia can be. Check out the lineup.

Hard Cider:
-Mercier Cider
-Ace Cider
-Eden Cider
-North to South Cider
-Austin East Cider
-Treehorn Cider
-Honest Abe Cider
-Blake’s Cider
-Strongbow Cider
-Angry Orchard Cider
-Bold Rock Cider
-Urban Tree Cider
-Gypsy Circus Cider 

Craft Beer:
-Grumpy Old Men Beer
-Creature Comforts Beer
-Bells Beer
-Bee Craft Mead
-Three Taverns Beer
-Burnt Hickory Brewery Beer
-Fannin Brewery Beer
-Terrapin Beer
-Scofflaw Beer
-SweetWater Beer
-Orpheus Beer
-Southern Brewery Beer
-Viking alchemist Mead
-Monday Night Beer 
-Reformation Beer 
-Pretoria Fields Beer 

-Currahee Vineyard Wine

Live music by:
Rumours: A FleetwoodMac Tribute Band

-Mercier Orchards Food Truck
-Mystic Mountain Pizza
-Loco BBQ

After a hot, sticky time at the orchard we headed into Blue Ridge for some fun. There is a train right in the middle of town that you can ride as part of a train tour. It’s an amazing ride through the mountains and you should check it out.

We were not up for that this day but we did some lunch and a cool Irish Pub, the Boro Inn. Don’t let the outside fool you. Once you step inside you feel like you are in the old world. Best of all they had our favorite seasonal beer on tap. Duchessee Cherry by Brouwerij Verhaeghe. I can spend a lot of time talking about this beer and I will save you that. I will tell you it’s a Flanders Red with freshly harvested cherries added. You don’t have to like sour style beer to enjoy it and I would encourage you to try it. It’s also not cheap so pull out a ten spot.

The downtown area of Blue Ridge is only a few blocks long and a few streets wide. You can park and walk to plenty of shopping, food and fun. Be sure and check out The Sweet Shoppe of the South, winner of Cupcake Wars.

This trip was a short fun birthday celebration. We add some more trips here camping and enjoying the outdoors so stay tuned for those and give us a follow.

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