Carolina On My Mind

So… I’m SUPER BEHIND on blog posts! As always, I have so much to say about each brewery, and lots to say about everything in between. I’m finding it nearly impossible to create a short post! My final Colorado posts will be coming soon. Then I’ll be able to catch you all up to speed on ALL the breweries I’ve visited since then.

But to put the brewery reviews aside for a post, I’m excited to give an update about my life that will greatly impact my beer experiences…

*Drumroll, please…*

I’ve moved to North Carolina! (Que the Petey Pablo song. You’re welcome for that.)

As you may have known, Ben took a promotion with work and was set to be moving to NC. We both work for the same company, and I didn’t want to leave the company. However, there wasn’t a job available for me to stay in Marketing while moving to NC. So Ben and I decided months ago that I would stay behind in PA, continuing my job, in hopes that an internal position would become available for me to be able to move down.

I know people thought we were crazy to consider this, let alone, to actually plan for it. It was a plan with a timeline. After a certain number of months were to pass with us living apart, we agreed I would start looking elsewhere if I wasn’t able to find anything internal.

I like to think that Ben and I make a damn good team. Apart, we’re both great. But together, we balance each other out and, dare I say it, we’re even better. (Yep, get out your barf bags, folks.) There’s just about nothing I wouldn’t do for the guy, so I was glad he was so supportive of me and willing to make that sacrifice for what I wanted.

I didn’t talk much about Ben’s promotion or the pending move for him at work, initially (aside from within my small team), because frankly… I didn’t give a shit if people thought it was stupid. And I knew that some would. Despite that I’m a very social person who loves to interact, this wasn’t something I felt the need to explain and validate to people.

Ben and I have literally been through WAR together. And by “together”, I mean that I was at home while he deployed to Afghanistan for the better part of a year. I’m pretty sure we could handle several months apart where his life wasn’t in danger every day. (Plus, an under-7-hour drive is a lot closer than halfway around the globe! Oh yeah, and I wouldn’t need to write him letters to communicate back and forth. It would be a little creepy if I did that between PA and NC, what, with modern technologies!)

But thankfully, we found out the week we were going to NC to look at houses that I would be able to relocate and stay with the company!

Fast forward to today, and we’ve been living here in Burlington, NC for around 3 weeks! Despite my adventurous spirit, I had never moved to another state before. It’s a change! (To say the least!) The Central Pennsylvanian native in me takes a light sweater everywhere, even in the summertime in case I need it in the evenings. In “The South”? Don’t even bother. Just plan to sweat all day long. Northern chicks…. you don’t even KNOW what boob and butt sweat IS. (Yeah… I went there. You’re welcome.)

Here I am  happily helping Ben move our brew structure out of its box into our garage.

Here I am happily helping Ben move our brew structure out of its box into our garage.

Pennsylvanians desire garages for their homes to keep their cars from the snow. In Carolina? I’m pretty sure I can handle brushing the snow off my car a couple of times during the year. As for our garage? Our garage will house our brewery. (Duh.)

My super-cute, always complimented, badass mint and brown North Face snow boots? They’re hanging out in the storage area rafters of our new house in the 90-something degree heat, hoping to be used for some winter trips back to PA.

Grocery stores and convenience stores? Yeah, you can buy beer there. Be jealous, my PA friends!

“You guys”? This will REMAIN the plural of “you all” for as looooooonnnnnnnnnggggggg as I can manage. “Y’all” just does nothing for me. “Yinz” might even do more for me than “y’all”. I just can’t say it. I’m sure one day it will just roll off my tongue, possibly with the help of some beer, but that day has not yet come!

Now. Let’s talk beer. Though Pennsylvania has some great breweries, its horribly antiquated beer laws do nothing to help a craft beer lover. State stores in PA only sell liquor and wine. Grocery and convenience stores (with few exceptions from loopholes in the law) cannot sell beer. Beer is harder to come by, and GOOD beer is even harder to come by. Bottle shops are sparse, and generally speaking, lack selection.

As for North Carolina, it’s a beer-lover’s paradise! We now live just 3 hours from Asheville, North Carolina, yielding the highest per-capita breweries in the country!

The second closest brewery to us (the first closest is just a production facility) is the soon-to-be-opening Haw River Farmhouse Ales. They had a Kickstarter fund where they looked for donors to contribute certain amounts toward getting the brewery up and running, so I contributed and am now a “Barn Raiser”! I’ll post more on this later, but I’m really excited to be a small part of it and to try their beers! This brewery is in Saxapahaw, and the area it’s in has already become one of our favorite local finds. Stay tuned for lots more on this from me in the future.

Ben  and Janee enjoying the warm Southern weather. And beer. Obviously.

Ben and Janee enjoying the warm Southern weather. And beer. Obviously.

I’m also more excited than words can express to start building our new beer cellar at our new house! We had a makeshift “beer cellar” at our old house in a spot that stayed cool year round underneath our basement stairs (the ideal range for a beer cellar is around 53-55 degrees), but our beer collection had long outgrown that space. This one excites me, because we’re actually going to build it into our home. And because we don’t have a basement with cool year-round temps, we’re planning to install a cooling system.

To sum it all up, I’m excited about our move. It’s certainly not Pennsylvania, but that’s not a bad thing! There are MANY differences here. Some, I’m sure I’ll embrace. Some, maybe not so much. Each state has its own beauty. I’m looking forward to new beer adventures here, and I’d love to hear from others about some great spots to visit in the Carolinas!

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