Enough has been written about it …
All the cliches have been over cliched …
We all  know that we’re unprecedented times and that the ripple effects and long-term repercussions will go way beyond what we could currently envision.  I mean, if I would have told you 6 months ago that all sports would be cancelled or postponed and we’d be in a police-state lockdown emergency, you’d have assumed that I had been way too deep in the beer. But that’s where we find ourselves. At least we have this: breweries have been deemed essential services so that we can maintain our sanity.

And that’s what today’s post is all about. It’s vital, now more than ever, to support your local breweries. My brother-in-law and I have turned Saturdays into “let’s see how many different breweries we can visit” days. Last Saturday – there were three. Yesterday, we hit four more. The challenge is on – how many will you visit this week?*** Something feels great about visiting and supporting local businesses. And the staff is always SO thankful. I can talk for days about drinking craft beer versus the mass-produced stuff I usually rail against. But let’s get into some deeper reasoning here. I give you the top 5 reasons to drink local, especially now.

  1. Your local craft brewery is not flush with wads and truckloads of cash. They operate on pretty thin margins, which means that major economic chaos (kinda like this whole Corona thing) could have devastating consequences to your local watering hole. You love your local brewery. So do I. Now close your eyes, and imagine that it has been boarded up. That IPA or amber that you loved is now just a memory. The good times playing cornhole in the parking lot or just discussing beer at the bar … all long gone. This isn’t some kinda-sorta-maybe-potential future. It’s a realistic concern and something that we can help mitigate. I am certain that AB-InBev and Molson Coors can weather this storm … so let’s work to bring the craft guys through, too.
  2. These are your neighbors. I’m not talking about the building – I mean the people working there. Again … close your eyes. Think about your favorite local brewery. If you’re like me, there are people working there that you recognize. The same amazing and friendly faces that you see day-after-day, week-over-week. They’re likely either on the doorstep of being laid off or are in very a dire financial situation because their income has been severely diminished. Every visit to a local brewery helps them. You have a choice – help them remain at the brewery, serving the community, or you can envision them waiting in the unemployment line.
  3. They’re working their tails off for us. Most breweries have turned to online sales and curbside delivery. These businesses have 100% shifted their operations in a way to 1) stay afloat and 2) still get delicious craft beer in your hands. Watching these people that I know walk to my car curbside, wearing gloves and masks, to deliver beer is very humbling to me. They’re serving and working extremely hard. I feel like I owe it to them to continue supporting them and telling as many people as I can to do the same.
  4. They’re not ceasing to innovate. I’ve visited a LOT of breweries in the last week. My bride may tell you that it’s because I’m rapidly emptying the beer fridge because of three kids locked in the house with no end in sight. (She’s right, by the way.) But it’s also because these breweries are still working on new flavors and dropping fun new releases. Some might think a business would circle the wagons and go uber-conservative now. So many breweries are being bold and innovative in the midst of the crisis, and it’s awesome! (More to come in a future post.)
  5. The beer is delicious. That is all.

Go. Yes, in most places it’s still legal. Go and visit a brewery. Buy a 6-pack or three. And if you can’t do that, go online and buy a gift card for future use. Get a shirt, a glass, a frisbie … just do what you can to support them. And make sure you tip BIG. Remember, tips can be a decent portion of the income for your friendly neighborhood brewery worker. I’m going with no less than 25% … will you do the same?



*** Just for fun. Since the ‘Rona hit us, I’ve visited Pontoon (twice), Burnt Hickory, Glover Park, Schoolhouse, Cherry Street (Halcyon), Jekyll, Currahee, and Reformation.

Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington

The birthday weekend begins. Not mine … my soon-to-be 8 year old. Friday through Monday, we’ll celebrate this little dude turning 8; and that means his favorite foods and restaurants (and probably some dessert treats here and there.) Temptation run amok. I’ll need to be extra careful this weekend, and everything was fine Friday until I heard the words, “Daddy, can we go to Taco Mac?”

  1. I love my children.
  2. I’ve obviously trained them properly.
  3. Of course we can go to Taco Mac
  4. Uh oh. More on that later

Breakfast – not sure why I even bother typing this line anymore
Lunch – had some leftover chicken salad with some Wheat Thins. Pretty healthy so far.
Dinner – at the aforementioned Taco Mac. If you’re not familiar with is, picture scores of TVs, wings, billions of beers on draught … basically heaven on Earth. I had a turkey burger with a side of roasted zucchini. A really solid selection for me.  Thank you to TM for listing calories on the menu … I held myself to about 700 for dinner.

But there’s also a beer menu.

Friday Beer

Taco Mac has a loyalty program called the Brewniversity. (We’ve covered this in the past.) Basically, you score a point for every unique beer purchase. Points add up over time, and you occasionally score some solid swag. I’m approaching 700 points and am always interested in adding to that total when we go. I’m also all about beer variety – I like to try as many flavors as possible. And that’s why I love the Mac – so many options! But I’m also not very bright. In all my years of going and accruing, I’ve never thought about ordering smaller sizes to maximize points AND be able to branch out into additional beer options. Last night, I had an epiphany. TM offers a smaller pour called a nooner. It’s in the neighborhood of 6-7 ounces, which is perfect for enjoying several without getting out of control.

However, just like a kid in a candy store, I may have gone a little overboard in my newfound joy. 6 beers later, I went home …

Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington