When we first started our October look at the adult beverage scene several years ago, it was all about wine and the wineries that were beginning to spring up from the mountains to the Piedmont to even the tidal flatlands of the Mid-Atlantic. Over the years, craft brewers seemed to follow suit. Many opened brew pubs while other stuck to production and some have achieved multistate distribution and national prominence.
Another year, craft distillers made the scene, turning out vodkas, rums, whiskeys, and other spirits. Today, you can find enterprising distillers from the coastal areas to the mountains (where you’ll even find legal moonshine being produced). Still others across the region are creating ciders from fruit and mead from honey.
Original wine trails now often include producers of these other beverages and some vineyards are actively producing beer, cider, or spirits as well. It all makes for interesting itineraries for an afternoon’s tasting or a getaway weekend.
The varied landscape of the Mid-Atlantic is fortuitous for the lover of wine, beer, cider, or spirits. The hillsides and flatter land help to create growing conditions favorable to both red and white vines. The massive fruit production in Pennsylvania and in mountain areas of other Mid-Atlantic states means that wineries can cater to different tastes, from the dry reds from grapes to the sweet wine from almost any fruit imaginable.
That same fruit production, particularly the apple crop, allows the area to capitalize on the growth of the hard cider movement. The diversity of end product means a wide choice for customers and different revenue stream for producers.
Beer lovers can enjoy products made with local grains against the background of the German heritage prominent in many locales. A distillery in Gettysburg even uses grain grown on the historic battlefield, thanks to an arrangement with the National Park Service. But the smell of mash wafts through communities across the region, even in Williamsburg’s historic district.
Check out the trails and tastes we cover in this month’s Recreation News and savor the idea of a tasting trip of your own.
October also brings American Craft Week, actually the days from Oct. 1-16, and is the month in which we look at the fall artists’ studio tours around the region. No matter where you live or where you might be traveling, you can probably find an open studio tour. These self-guided open houses allow you to select the kinds of art or crafts that interest you and let you meet the artisans in their own element. There are art and artisan trails throughout the Mid-Atlantic that you can explore any time. Many include studios, galleries, restaurants, and other related properties.