Friday, May 08, 2015

Road Trip!

John Fogerty concert in Charlotte. Time to hop in the car and hit the road.

Great show, nice evening and less of a drive than to Atlanta where I saw him in 2013.

John hasn't lost a step and that strong, abused voice of his is still clear and working strong.

Both of his sons, Tyler and Shane, are in the band and came together with him for a driving trio of strings at stage center.

Here's John recapping to Rolling Stone magazine his great times in the 60s with CCR:
"In the very beginning, before many people knew about Creedence Clearwater Revival, we were sort of considered an underground band, and an album band. 

Then the hit singles hit, and songs like "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" and "Cotton Fields" became so well-known people thought of them as singles. 

So, in its own time, Creedence went from being an unknown darling to Cinderella because we were the little engine that could. 
We became very, very well known – maybe even over-exposed, as some used to say. 

We got to the point where people were like, "CCR? They're a singles band. They're just like the Monkees." 

I lived through that and chuckled, because there was a time when I was far away from the music scene.
Then I had my big comeback with "Centerfield." By then, the vintage wine had aged very well. It was now a collector's item and valuable. 

All these younger rock critics were asking me, "Are you surprised with the artistic acceptance of Creedence?" I would just kind of look bemused and tell them that I didn't do anything different. I didn't redo anything. It just sat there and something evolved around it." 

The show was great and seeing and hearing Fogerty of course was the purpose of the Road Trip.
But, I kept my camera handy during the drive and captured some roadway scenes to share.

The "Killer trees" on a deadly stretch of I-26 are being cut down, trimmed, ground up and spread out as mulch for the grass that will be planted.

Hoping there will be a barrier erected to keep cars from crossing the cleared median and making contact with startled drivers coming the other way.

The overall plan might be to clear cut trees wherever they happen to be and keep paving and adding lanes.

In a car-happy setting, the loss of trees will be overshadowed by the "benefit" of more lanes for more cars.

My buddy had gone to the site that promotes tourism for the Queen City and saw two suggested Brewery and Pubs tours.

One group was in the NoDa (North Davidson) area but we chose the first ones we would come to on the South Side.

We stopped and began our "crawl" with Olde Mecklenburg Brewery.  We understand this new, expanded brewery opened earlier this year with a huge tree-shaded biergarten.

Its German atmosphere - and biers - is a real crowd-pleaser. We had a flight of 4 different beers. Each of us had a flight.

Next was not a brewery but Good Bottle Co is a retail store that has an amazing array of craft beers for sale and a few delicious choices on tap at the small 10-stool bar.

Saw several Westbrook beers brewed in Charleston.

 When I asked if they carried any others from Charleston, he showed me a new arrival, tall bottles of Holy Ninja Oyster Porter .

This new arrival is made by Asheville Brewing, in cooperation with our own hometown Holy City Brewing Company off Dorchester Road..

These two stops opened early and we knew the next three didn't open until 4 pm. 

So a little after four, we entered Triple C Brewing Company, a friendly place that was preparing to tap a cask.

Had tried some cask ales during a beer celebration at Closed For Business a while back. 

Took a sample taste but decided to broaden my scope and ordered a flight of four of their different beers.

You could look through window and see the huge shiny silver tanks where the magic happens.

 While working my way though my glasses of beer I noticed there was a lot of activity as patrons finished their beers and presented growlers (glass jugs) to take some home with them.

The "Baby Maker" was touted as having the highest ABV (alcohol content) and seemed to be very popular.

One of the lady bartenders chatted with us and said she had attended the College of Charleston so knew our city well.

She asked if we knew Sam Spence, Web Editor with the City Paper?

Yes we did and it turns out, he is her brother. Small world.

Let's see, memory's a bit hazy, but the fourth brewery on our list was filling with people getting off work and stopping by for a cold, tasty draft.

 Signs suggested you "Take a pitcher. it'll last longer."

But we stuck with the 4-glass flight that lets you enjoy an overview of the product.

I took pictures instead.

Sycamore Brewing also served a turkey panini with chips which was appreciated.

Lunch had been a bratwurst and German potato salad. That had been hours - and many beers - ago.

As we sat on benches in a shady spot outside, the breeze felt good and we felt fortunate that a projected tropical storm was not due to have an impact until the next day.

About the time we finished the last of the beers, we agreed to skip the last brewery and concentrate on having GPS guide us to the concert site.

Good move.

The Unknown Brewery would have to be done another day.

Looking at its website, it appears to be zany. Definitely on the next trip.

So, we found the outdoor arena, parked and went looking for our seats.

And a beer stand.

We had been seeing full-page color ads in the Post and Courier touting the charm and diversity of Charlotte.

That led to finding the suggested brewery tours.

We told each brewery how and why were chose to be there.

I used to sell advertising and know merchants like to hear when something is working for them.

And remember, while there were a LOT of beers, they were in small 4-5 oz glasses.

Drink responsibly.


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