When I decided to apply for the NCCBC scholarship, I never in a MILLION years thought I would get it. I knew I wanted to experience it and network and meet other people in the industry, but I also knew I probably couldn’t afford to go on my own. Well guess what? I freaking got a SCHOLARSHIP!
To say this experience was AMAZING is really an understatement. I met so many amazing people across the state of N.C. in the beer industry and once again it felt like a really big family.
As a black woman, I often feel like a unicorn when it comes to the craft beer industry. Even after attending the NC Craft Brewers Conference, I always noticed when I was the only black woman in the room, which was honestly most of the conference. Although it didn’t bother me, because I know I belong there and I don’t need anyone’s approval, I definitely noticed it and someone else even brought it to my attention. Attending this conference made me realize that the ability and the power to make a difference each and every day starts with US. By inviting people to the table that normally wouldn’t have a place to sit, and making them feel welcomed, it helps create a space that everyone feels safe in despite of race, gender, sexuality or anything else. There’s a lot to disagree with in this world, but I would argue that beer brings people together, and that’s the way that it should be. This conference provided me with and opportunity to learn from my peers and others, but it also gave me the courage to continue feeling comfortable being the only “black girl” in the room.
I have been wanting to visit Savannah for a really long time and I finally decided to turn it into a solo trip. Savannah is only about 4 hours from Charlotte,NC, and it’s been a city I’ve had on my list to visit for multiple reasons.
- You can drink in the streets!
- Great Food.
- Awesome history.
- Beautiful River
- You can drink alcohol in the streets!
- Pretty cool breweries.
- Did I mention you can drink LIQUOR in the streets! lol
Once I finally made it to Savannah I was shocked to find out that there weren’t actually many breweries. Of the 6 I knew of, I was able to make it to 3. The 3 I did visit were amazing and the amount of love I received was out of this world!
The first one I hit up was Moon River Brewing because it was close to where I was staying. The environment was amazing and the beer was really good. While there I got to meet one of the head-brewers and the owner and they literally treated me like royalty. One of the cool things about visiting on a Friday is that every Friday the owner will do a toast to everyone in the brewery and literally makes an announcement. Its one of the coolest things and a huge hit among the regulars, and on this day I even got a shout out. Not only is the beer good here, the food is DELICIOUS! I’m pretty sure I ordered one of everything on the appetizer menu and everything was amazing! Especially the chorizo stuffed mushrooms. Best part? The owner was so nice he copped my WHOLE tab. ( I still tipped, and went back the next day.)
*Fav Beer: “Taterlicious” harvest ale. (They put this cinnamon/nut stuff on the rim that is so good! )
The next place I decided to visit was Service Brewing. I was also able to meet one of the owners there, try a bunch of beer, as well as, go home with a bunch of beer. ( Perks of being a brewer and beer connoisseur) The best thing about this place was the fact it is Veteran Owned and they constantly give back to people who served our country. The space was incredible and HUGE and I even got a tour of the brewery where a event was taking place. The owner talked to me a little about there brewing operation and was overall a really nice guy. He gave me free beer so he is def a friend in my book!
*Fav Beer: “Armistice” juicy IPA
Last stop on the Savannah brewery tour was Two Tides Brewing and I really enjoyed this brewery because it was the first place that actually had SOURS on the menu. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good IPA, but every now and then I want something different and Two Tides has some amazing sours. What made this place even cooler is the fact that it’s literally in a old house. As soon as you walk up the stairs and enter, it kind of throws you off considering that each room, is its only little section. While the main bar sits in the center of the house, there are several different rooms throughout the space that you can sit and enjoy beer in. (Even play pinball.) It really had a comfy and homey feel and it was also close to a really cool “Food Truck” park where you could easily grab food and head back.
*Fav Beer: Any of there sours. I don’t remember the names! Lol
-The Pink House (sit in the lower level or basement)
-The Ordinary Pub
-Moon River Brewing
-Foodtruck park behind “Two Tides Brewing”. It’s like 5 permanent food trucks.
Drinking in the streets:
it’s literally a THING but surprisingly enough, I only did it once. Every restaurant you go to will ask if you want a drink “to-go” and several of them have “to-go” windows.
Nothing could have prepared me for the AWESOMENESS that was Fresh Fest. Imagine going to a family reunion with people you haven’t seen in a while, and others you’ve never met in your life, yet, by the end of the weekend, you literally feel like you’ve known them your WHOLE LIFE.
That’s what FF 2019 was like. It was the first time I was in a space where the majority of people that drank beer actually looked like me. The connections, the relationships, and the bonds I made with people there were simply incredible. I got to meet people I’ve been “stalking” and “following” on social media for months! Lol I got taste beer and spirits from some amazing black owned breweries and distilleries. And most importantly i got to talk to people about my brand “Beer Chick LLC” and share with them my passion and love for beer!
If you’ve never been to FF, I would definitely put this on your MUST-DO when my comes to beer festivals. As a black women into craft beer, I often times, feel like a unicorn. However, during FF everyone feel as if they belong! While the festival highlights black brewers and individuals in the alcoholic beverage industry, the event itself was actually very diverse which also added to the cozy and warm feel of it all. Celebrating black people in the beer industry is not just something that needs to be done by black and brown people. Pushing for inclusivity and most importantly, diversity in the beer community is work we ALL have to play an active part in. I’m so grateful for those already doing the work and I have committed myself to also being an advocate to continue to stress the importance of this issue.
Side Note: Special shoutout to “The Syndicate” aka my FF beer family I turned up with all weekend! We literally put on one of the LIT-est Bottle Shares ever known to man.