Monday, May 21, 2012

Greenville, neither green nor a village...

It isn't a long weekend with Uncle D if I don't wake up every morning with a hangover.

Just got back from Greenville, SC visiting my Uncle D, which is always a constant party. Of course I learned a few things. I learned that my first company vehicle is going to be a Jeep, and that Jeep will never have it's doors or roof on. Ever. I learned that if you want to drink all day, you have to start in the morning, and to start in the morning in Greenville, you have to plan the night before, because they don't sell booze before noon. I learned that not only do cats love cheese whiz, but they can also come dangerously close to jumping off a 12' drop and dance in the face of danger.

It really was a great trip. We spent some time at the zoo. By no means was it a large zoo. But they did have a pair of lions in a coma. A pair of special elephants that would make the rain man jealous. A funny looking animal called a Coatimundi, looking like a mixture of a squirrel and an anteater, eating his own poop. I'm glad my dogs aren't the only one.

We also spent time at Frankie's Fun Park. On the outside it looked like a sketchy place for children to go have peeping toms look at them through the masks of clown suits. On the inside it was actually a pretty sweet place. On the downside my wife forgot her ID, and was denied beer at Johnny Rocket's. Slap the cuffs on me, I've married a woman not old enough to drink beer.

Spent a good part of a day walking around downtown Greenville as well, which was very pleasant. Greenville is much more family friendly than Orlando. Hear me out here, I know I don't have a "family" according to the government (I feel that my dogs count, but I still can't deduct them on my taxes). Downtown Greenville was friendly for a guy like myself to walk around. Downtown Orlando isn't nearly as friendly. Between the glam metro-sexuals looking down on everyone who doesn't have the latest pair of One Religion (did I get that right?), and the hipsters clogging the sidewalks with their "fixies" that they barely know how to ride and their bowler hats that they don't wear right, Orlando just isn't as friendly.

But finally, to the beer! In downtown Greenville we stopped at a brew-pub called the Blue Ridge Brewing Company. The Blue Ridge was fantastic. I absolutely loved it. It wasn't a huge, made-up production. It was a brewery with a whole bunch of tables and an awesome kitchen. This place just oozed of beer geekiness. The main windows in the front are obstructed by nothing else than the brewing system itself. The system used was a two tank system, with a combination mash/sparge/hot liquor tank on the left side, and a boil tun on the right. I dont remember right off hand, but I believe I saw that it was a 10 bbl system. To the left wall was a row of fermenters, all nice and shiny. The tables were awesome. Tables? Yes. This inspired the engineer-geek side of me, because on the tables were the schematics for the refrigeration and steam system for the brewing system and the fermenters. YES! Calling out valves, pressure reliefs, back flow preventers, plate chillers, and all sorts of other good stuff. It was inspiring for me. So much so I had to push Nikki way down into the corner because I couldn't read her half of the plans from where I was sitting. I sampled their flight of beers which included their Kurli Blonde Ale, Colonel Paris Pale Ale, Rainbow Trout ESB, Total Eclipse Stout, a potent Barleywine, and a Blood Orange Honey Saison. The beers were all great. The stout had great body. All of the beers were lacking a little bit in the aroma department. The bitter really smacked you with the hops. I could drink the Kurli Blonde all day long. I had their "Butcher Shop Pizza" which was absolutely fantastic. The entire pizza was gone pretty darn quick.

Greenville is a great place! If you ever get a chance to stop at Blue Ridge, definitely go. Tell them Eugene sent you. I guarantee no-one will know who the hell you're talking about. Unless it's the drunk 30-something in the corner. Then that's my Uncle D. He'll know who you're talking about, but you're talking to the wrong guy. But he may just buy you a drink.

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