Let’s hear it for Chattanooga’s mountains, lakes, caverns, and taverns. While Atlanta, Georgia, 100 miles South, is a vital party town and Bacchanalia’s restaurant boasts great oysters and lobsters, the home of the Braves is not well known for its wealth of microbrews (though that changed tremendously in the 2000′s). Instead, I spent July ‘98 in the Peach State with cousins, parents, kids, and wife in beautiful Georgia Pines.

Tucked away in a few woodsy cabins, we hiked cliffs by day and barbecued at night. Though the rural area offered very little by way of fine beers, I did discover the better than average Georgia Wild Raspberry Wheat Ale and the not-so-thick Mississippi Mud Black & Tan, which, to my surprise, was actually brewed way up yonder in Utica, New York (reviewed in Beer Index).

Meanwhile, nearby Chattanooga, Tennessee, had its charming small town rewards. THE BIG RIVER GRILLE & BREWERY down from famous Chattanooga Choo Choo’s made fine handcrafted bitters. And those nifty mining caverns with geysers we visited along the way were magnificent.

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