Beercation Day Four, Hiking in Shenandoah, Foothills Brewpub

This day was unique in the Beercation schedule, as it was focussed more on a hike in Shenandoah, than beer drinking. In fact I think this was possibly the only day we didn’t have beer before 5.

The hike almost didn’t happen due to weather concerns. Firstly there was the possibility of rain, which we decided to just deal with if it came to it, secondly, there was the fog. The thickest fog I’ve ever been in. It was so heavy, there was actually a risk of us losing each other if we strayed more than fifteen or so feet. It gave the whole hiking mission an odd ceremonial feel, like we were off to make a sacrifice of some kind, or we were in some kind of black metal horror flick, and Gaahl was going to pop out of the woods at any minute and eat us.

Public bathrooms – even scarier in the fog

The loop we chose was to take two and a half to three hours, and involved descending into a valley, to the base of a waterfall, and back out. So as we began to descend the flog lifted, and the hike was looking like a pretty interesting one. Without going into too much detail, it was a pretty amazing location. The scenery at the base of the waterfall was definitely worth the hike back up, but there was plenty to see throughout the rest of the trek.

Hatchy and Cake navigate the misty forests

This looks like the beginning of something bad

This deer seemed to be suspicious of us

What you don’t see is a 100+ foot straight drop on the other side of this rock

The other side of the valley, looking pretty epic

The falls were pretty amazing up close, of course, pictures don’t really do them justice

Hiking back out pretty much sucked. We got off the trail and ended up on a fire road, which meant it was a bit boring, and yet still a seemingly endless slog. It did feel good to be challenged a bit, but with rain teasing us at points, dusk nearing, and no end in sight, it was certainly tough to say the least. When at last we broke out onto the main road, there was a communal sigh of relief.

Al and Cake on the long hike out

Once off of the path, we found a nice view from the road

The next stop was Winston-Salem, for Foothills Brewpub. I’m not sure if it was the throws of joy at having my first pint of the day, at the ripe hour of 7 o’clock, or the satisfaction of having escaped the clutches Ghaal in the valley of death, but I was feeling pretty good. Enough so, that I didn’t really write much about the beer that night. Typically I’m off somewhere, sloshing beer around my mouth, struggling to come up with ever more unique beer descriptors, jotting them down in my phone, while everyone else is just enjoying themselves. But tonight, I was just having a couple pints, and relaxing my bones after a long day.

Foothills Brewpub

The long and short however, is that Foothills makes decent beer. The DIPA especially was a favorite among the group. But I don’t really feel the need to go on about it. Don’t get me wrong, all the beers were good and very well made, there was just little to distinguish them from the last 5-10 examples we’ve had of the same three or four styles. This seems like a bit of a common problem down here, the breweries kind of run together after a while. Where Beercation 1, seemed to be comprised of one totally unique brewery after another, this trip seems to be the trip of flagship beers. Even the places that do a have a unique brew or two, still have relatively run of the mill flagship offerings. A subject that is going to become critical over the next couple years, as more and more breweries pop up. Anyway, by all means, give Foothills a shot, especially if you’re just passing through and want to check out the local flavor.

It was a long day for the Beercation crew, so after a pint or two, we headed back to the hotel to rest up for a big day in Asheville.


One comment

  1. […] We stayed over in the Shenandoah Valley for day 4 and went on a hike in Shenandoah National Park. We started the hike in a very black metal album cover fog and at least one of our crew vowed to get into better shape after the hike owned them. We headed over to Winston-Salem and had dinner at Foothills Brewing. Foothills is a spacious, nicely decorated space, normally the kind of spot that we would hate and would serve up mediocre beers and food. This wasn’t the case and we were impressed. Read more at Ethan’s blog, A Beer Diary. […]

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