Stable Craft Brewing          

Stable Craft Brewing          

I almost skipped this one on our trip to Charlottesville a couple of weeks ago.  I had it down on my brewery notes: “maybe, IF there is time”.  It was the furthest brewery from where we were staying and we had very little time, trying to cram in every brewery in the area, so that’s probably why.   I’m so glad I decided to drive out.  The drive itself was quaint with the rolling hills, silos and barns.  Don’t see too many silos and barns in San Francisco…. Below is a picture of a random barn on the way to the brewery.

Typical for me, I didn’t do much research on this place.  I hate to be swayed by someone’s opinions.  Good or bad, I like to form my own opinions and experience things for myself.  So many things can make an experience amazing, mediocre or shitty.  It’s difficult to write about a mediocre experience.  Easy to rave when one person or one thing makes your experience amazing and easy to bitch when the situation is crap.

In this circumstance, all was amazing.

We parked and I noticed a Clydesdale out in a pasture near the brewery.  I even got to pet him when we left (after asking whether or not he’d bite off an arm). He was beautiful!!!!  He was pretty excited to see me too.  Trust me on that one!!!  They have a nice outdoor bar along with volleyball nets and a huge fire pit with a lot of outdoor seating.

The inside of the brewery is really nice, warm and inviting.  It was cold, so two fireplaces were going, thawing everyone out.  Knowing what I know now, I would not have eaten before we visited.  I saw some of the dishes others were being served and really really wish I did my homework before coming!  The food looked amazing!!  We each ordered a flight.   My favorite was the Madriculous.   It was a Madriculously delicious IPA.

While we were enjoying our flight, I noticed behind us through the large glass that it looked like a long row of horse stables were facing each other.  No way.  At that moment, a gentleman came from the glass doors and I kind of “psst’d” at him and asked what was back there.  He said, “Stables!”  He stuck around for quite some time, talking to us about the brewery and what kind of horses they have, talked about the donkeys and the space.   Hella nice guy.  I finally asked him how he knew so much about the place.  Before the words could get out of my mouth I said “You’re the owner” at exactly the same time he said “I’m the owner.”  So, we had the privilege of meeting Craig Nargi, the owner whose nose wasn’t so high up in the air, and found time in what I’m sure was a super busy schedule to chat with us.  That was great and as far as I’m concerned, says a lot about not only him, but the entire staff.  I wish I got our bartender’s name.  He was attentive and super friendly.   He was busy and I wish we had time to shoot the shit with him. Every time we got started talking about the beers, he had to tend to customers.   Next time!!!

I began to follow Stable Craft Brewing on social media since we left the area.  The longer I’m away, the more I think this was my favorite brewery there.  This would totally be my hangout. I’d totally be a regular and I would totally be a favorite customer. 😉 Not only is this a working farm, a brewery, a gorgeous place to have a wedding, they recently had a Christmas cookie decorating day, they had horse drawn carriage rides throughout the property to celebrate the season, they have 4 suites that are available for next year to stay overnight in!!!   And god, the meals always look absolutely delicious and have a really small price tag on them.  Just go to their Facebook page and prepare to drool when you see the beer and food pictures they post.  Holy shit.   I’m going to take another trip to this area and I’m definitely going to spend a lot more time at this brewery.   Go check them out!

I was too busy enjoying the atmosphere and the beers to pay attention to purse hooks this time. We also sat at a table and not a bar so I can’t report on that! 😕

Wildmandan Beer Centric Bed & Breakfast

Wildmandan Beer Centric Bed & Breakfast

I gotta be honest. With so many good things to say about this place, I don’t even know where to begin….Let me start from the beginning.

About 4 -6 months ago i started thinking about all my weekend jaunts.  I never actually just really relax and take a load off, and just chill out.  My trips are always a whirlwind of brewery visits, good food, fun with babe or friends and I’m always like, GO!!! GO!!!!  GOOOO!!!!!  Some days I think I’m getting too old for that.

I decided to look for a nice bed and breakfast off the beaten path, out in the country, where I imagined I woud just sit around all day and just be.  Be what, exactly??  I remember maybe 10 years ago reading about the Foster Harris house in a magazine and started to Google away.  Googled past the Foster Harris house and just kept scrolling.  All of a sudden, this BEERcentric B&B pops up on Tripadvisor.  Get the fuck out of here.  Are you kidding me?  A BEERcentric B&B??   Seriously, do you guys know anything about me??  Anything at all??

Dude. Sign me up.  Take ALL my money, I don’t care. My birthday was coming up, too?   YES.  I did take a few minutes to read all the reviews.  Tripadvisor, Yelp, Google, and Facebook.  All 5 stars.  Wait.  Not just 5 stars.  5 stars accompanied with FULL, raving, badass reviews.  Done.  Sold.

The deal is, Dan is an award winning homebrewer and if you want to brew with him on the Saturday of your stay, you are more than welcome.  Terri is this bundle of energy who has worked in the hospitality business for several years.  The surrounding area is loaded with breweries, wineries and distilleries.  I wasted no time going to the website, booking my room and then informed babe what our plans were. I’m the planner, this is my job.

I did have to reschedule my birthday trip because I turned into a grandma. (That baby is SO cute!!)   I worried when I emailed the B&B that I would have to pay a fee, or maybe wouldn’t be able to change my reservation.  You know how it goes when you are dealing with reservations.  I was about 3 weeks early, so it wasn‘t exactly at the very last minute.  I got an email back saying “We’ve changed your reservation, can’t wait to see you, and bring lots of pictures of the baby!!!” Wow!  Right on!! Here’s the baby!!!

The day after Thanksgiving we loaded up the car and drove the 4.5 hours to Charlottesville and went to brewery after brewery.  I’ll talk about those places at a later date.  We had an absolute blast brewery hopping!    We got to the B&B shortly after the sun was gone.  When we walked in the house, I was greeted with the biggest hug from one of the tiniest little people I’ve ever seen!!!!   It was like Terri and I were long lost friends and were meeting up after many years apart.  Later, babe asked me “Do you know her?  I would have sworn you knew her!”

We got to sit at Dan’s bar and enjoy some of his amazing homebrew and chat with Terri before being shown upstairs to our room.  I booked the best room in the house.   The one with the bathroom you don’t have to share with other guests of the B&B.  Hell, in the future, even if I had to use a community restroom, I’d still go!!  The bed was crazy comfortable.  No TV’s (that was really nice).  There were other guests who were really friendly and beer-oriented.

Saturday morning we walked around the property when the sun came up.  Went down to the barn to see where Dan works all the beer magic in his little homebrew shop.  (An actual brewery is in the works!!!).  We had some fabulous coffee spiked with some rye whisky made from Silverback Distillery which is just down the road (this also will be another post).   Terri’s breakfast consisted of a huge slice of rhubarb strawberry pie with the flakiest, most buttery crust I’ve ever put in my mouth and a massive scoop of delicious vanilla ice cream.  I’d never had rhubarb pie in all my life.  It was extraordinary.   Pie first.  I can get behind that rule.   Next up was a quiche with chorizo and spicy fried potatoes.  Anyone who knows me knows my half-Mexican ass can’t eat any spicy food.  So, I’m thrilled about the pie.  Still.   God it was scrumptious.

Zoom in on that pie, would ya???

That day, we had another beer with our wonderful hosts before heading out.  Terri told me about them having to cancel reservations not long ago when a family member got sick.   Only one hotel asked them “How is your relative doing?” The others just gave them shit for having to change their reservations.   That explains why they were so easy going when i had to change mine.  How refreshing!!!    We hit up the remainder of the breweries (all but two in the area) and went to the distillery. When we returned we were introduced to new B&B guests and shared beer, wine, conversation and a lot of laughs.   Unfortunately, we didn’t get to spend our second night due to an issue back at home (You ever try to stop a Doberman and a Pitbull from fighting over a toy?  Anyone?   Not smart, so don’t do it)  So we had to rush back home.   I’m sure breakfast Sunday was another stunner.

I loved these guys, Terri and Dan.  Perfect hosts.  I feel like I gained another friendship.  Can’t wait to try to book a weekend with our motorcycle club, The Growler Howlers, next year.

Couple things:

We realized we are awful B&B guests. We are up wayyyyyy before the ass crack of dawn. Can’t help it.

I learned that me “being” is me going, going going.  I’m fine with that. And I’m going to go as long as I possibly can.


Visit them at

Shortway Brewing Co.

Shortway Brewing Co.

When you’re leaving my house and you‘re beach bound, there’s this little veer off the highway that takes you though what I guess you’d call downtown Newport, NC.  At the risk of sounding ignorant, I really don’t know if that is downtown or not, as I’ve ridden down this particular road twice in my life.  Once was on a poker run on the motorcyle, and once was when I actually went to the brewery for an interview when they were still in the building stages.

Make that three times.  We went last Friday, the day before their official grand opening.

What a quaint place they turned this building into!! You walk into a nice open space with a piano off to the left, picnic tables smartly lined up against the walls   Even smarter is the plexiglass toppings they have on the picnic tables for easy cleanup!!  The equipment is in an adjacent room off to the right when you enter, all shiny and sparkly.  Parked next to the equipment on that side is a kid area with a chalkboard and some toys and such.

Ahead is the bar with a couple of stools close to it.  I think these were reserved for the family though. Kids and grandparents were occupying those seats when we were there.  They had some really really good beers on tap when we went.  We both enjoyed a flight of Mill Pond Blonde, Croatan Pale, The Newporter and Fire Tower Red.  The blonde surprised me.  I think of blondes as boring and tasting all the same,  never anything to write home about.   I would go back just for their blonde!!  All of the beers were great. They are equipped with a crowler machine so you can take home some of your favorite suds in 32oz cans.

We went out back where they have a nice outdoor area.   Adults and kids alike were out there playing giant Jenga and cornhole.  The mural they have on the outside walls was painted all by locals of Newport scenes.  Make sure you check out the Chevrolet bench when you meander outside. Check with them when you head out—never know!! They might have a food truck out back feeding the crowd!!

When we were leaving, we had the chance to chat with former Marine, Matt Shortway, owner and brewer, about his beers and the establishment.  Super friendly people here.  Super good beers.  We will be going for our second time tomorrow to see if we can sip some of the IPA and the coffee stout people were raving about on social media last week.  They are releasing their Back Acres Brhubarb tomorrow!!!  Gotta give that a try!!!

Trust me, when you look up neighboorhood brewery in the dictionary, Shortway Brewing Co’s picture will be right next to a lovely description depicting family, friends and beer.  If a family friendly atmosphere is your thing, look no farther and come out and enjoy yourselves with some damn good beers.

PFP (Points For Pursehooks): 0  (there really isn’t a bar to sit at, so no hooks needed)

The Bruin Craft Beer And Wine

The Bruin Craft Beer And Wine

When this place first opened in downtown Historic New Bern in December of 2014, I admit I thought it was a little stuffy. I felt like I had to be dressed nicer than I was (nice for me is a V-neck brewery t-shirt and jeans with no holes or bleach stains and Vans) and I felt slightly uncomfortable. It didn’t take me long to get over that at all. Trust me. Sporting a V-neck brewery t-shirt and jeans WITH holes or bleach stains and Vans is perfectly acceptable. I promise, no one will look at you sideways.
Located in the best spot in town, the interior itself is unique and tasteful. The place is just so chill. It used to be a wedding gown shop. Where beautiful gowns were once displayed in the windows looking out at the hallway type entrance, barstools now perch where I LOVE to sit and people watch. Even though it’s in the heart of downtown, everytime I go in there I don’t run into the same people, which is a nice treat. There‘s always the out of towners, the people spending the week in town on business, and of course the locals.  

It’s so neat seeing so many people meet here for after work drinks. I’ve watched both white and blue collared guys mingle and treat each other like they are all of the same colored collar. It’s just really cool. The shop has picked up pizzas for tap takeovers, I’ve seen them provide cheese and crackers and such for their customers. Pick a delicious glass of wine off their menu or grab a bottle to take home with you. They always have excellent craft beer and cider on tap and the prices are absolutely the most reasonable in town. Not only is the draught menu always on point, the beer selection is awesome because all beers on the shelves are sold as singles so you can mix and match any of them which is always a winner. Nothing better than going home with new beers you can try without committing to a whole 4 or 6-pack, especially when you’re not sure you’re going to enjoy your random picks.

 This is my all time favorite thing that they do. They gather beer that might be nearing the expiration date, or maybe it’s just beer that’s not quite selling or maybe just seasonal beers… but they put 6 of these in a brown paper bag and sell them for $10 as Mystery Bags. You don’t know what you’ll wind up with, but it’s craft beer!!!!! You’re not getting ANYTHING bad!!!! You’re definitely getting good beers!!!! This has always been fun for me because it makes me try something I typically wouldn’t pick up, or gets me to drink a beer that I haven’t visited in a long time. It’s even more fun if two of you get Mystery Bags and swap beer. Super great idea. I gotta hand it to these guys.

Gotta give a shout out to my favorite beertenders, Calli and Taylor. Both have been there since the beginning. I asked them today what their favorite part of working at The Bruin is. Calli said “I guess my favorite part is the discounts and the fact that the owner is pretty understanding and flexible. And the beer selection is good.”  Taylor’s reply was “Giving customer service and learning about beer”.

Definitely go check them out next time you’re kicking it downtown, or go listen to some live music on a Friday or Saturday night. Whatever you do, don’t forget the mystery bag!!

PFP (Points For Pursehooks): 10 😁



Have you ever walked into a bottle shop or brewery and felt like you were intruding or interrupting something?   

You know… it’s Monday, you’re at work and thinking about the weekend (this usually starts for me Sunday evenings) and scouring the web scoping out a new spot to check out.  Something a little ways away from the watering hole you typically go. You want something different.  You want to see different faces.  You just want to experience a new, exciting place, dammit!!  A place you’ve intentionally put on your map to get away from your typical, you-know-what-you’re-gonna-get-and-who-you’re-gonna-see Friday/Saturday night. You just wanna get outta town!!!!

Look, before I continue…..I don’t need to be entertained when I go have a beer.  And I think bartenders appreciate the fact that they don’t have to babysit me and talk to me the entire time I’m there.  Let’s make that perfectly clear.  But…..

There is nothing worse than looking forward to checking out an unfamiliar place only to walk in and the handful of regulars all turn around to see if they know who opened the door and the bartender looks at you like you just busted up their private party.   The regulars turn away, the bartender barely says hey, what’s up.   He or she pulls themselves away from their friends (at this point you assume they’re all best friends) reluctantly so they can deal with you. 

I HATE THAT!!!!!   

There are a couple of places within an hour/ two hours of me where that’s happened…  Where I’ve intentionally put them on my map and planned that little road trip to experience something fresh,  new, and nice.   I’ve gone back for seconds, thirds, even, and still had the same feeling like I should apologize for walking in the door.  


Culprit #1: Goldsboro Brew Works.  EVERY SINGLE TIME.   Probably the worst.  Three chances.  Won’t go back.  

Culprit #2:  Bake Bottle & Brew.  This one surprised me the most.   Rave reviews.  Personal friends who adore the place.   So… maybe my babe and I looked really weird to them the last time we went.  Three chances.   Won’t go back.  

Culprit #3: Gizmo Brew Works.   I joked with the bartender about pouring flights (they do kinda suck) and apparently it wasn’t cool with him.   You write down what you want, which is great and saves the bartender from waiting for you to decide what you want while other customers patiently wait their turn.  But I was literally thrown a pen to write with.  Yes. It was thrown.  A regular said he was having a bad day.   What’s that got to do with me?  One chance.  Definitely won’t go back.  

You might have had the best experiences at these places.  That’s awesome!!!   These are just mine.  Trust me.  I was there.     

I sling suds.   I’m not 100% in the mood to be pleasant or have a conversation or entertain you 100% of the time.  But you know what?   You walk in my shop and you’re going to feel like I want you there!!!   You’re going to feel like you’re 100% welcome.  You won’t walk in my shop and feel like I’m miserable you’re there.   Believe that!!!!

Have you experienced this anywhere you’ve gone?     If not, then shit.  Maybe something IS wrong with me.  (Doubt it, though)😀

Check check. One two. Check 6!!!

Check check. One two. Check 6!!!

After entirely too many beers, a New Politics & 311 concert and getting lost (that would be me-again), we made the trek back to ENC from a beer-deprived Myrtle Beach.  Seriously, MB…. where’s all the good beer???   Don’t get me wrong.   We found beer there ’cause that’s what I do, but sheesh….  Need to step up your game, Myrtle. 

As usual, when traveling away from home, I want to squeeze in as many breweries or bottle shops I can along the way.  Check 6 was on the way!    

Dude.  Don’t miss the entrance into the plaza.   The road it’s on is ridic!!! At one point we had a near miss with a truck driving in our lane because clearly he was just as frustrated as we were missing turns and having to make a U-ee at the next light.   We did this at least 6 times.  When we landed in the Lowe’s parking lot, we finally got our shit together and managed to get to the brewery after one more U-turn.  God we laughed so damn hard.   Huge shout out to all of you who can laugh and not take things so seriously.  

We finally got to wet our whistles.  What a cool place.  Two of the three of us were hungover as hell (not me) and needed some Hair Of The Dogggg.   Perfect spot.  Poor new dude… it was his first day and he had to put up with our stupidity.   

The guys were so gracious though.  They even made us popcorn. Who doesn’t love some good ol’ salty popcorn with their beer?    We exchanged stories of sloppy popcorn eaters and how annoying they are.  Leave it to me to drop the first kernels on the floor, right?   

Lots of plane paraphernalia. This place reminded me a little of Aviator….except the beers were really really good!!!!!!  😉

I wish I got the names of the fellas working behind the bar.  Thanks guys!!!   Good dudes.  That Gee Bee Honey was on point!   Good enough that I needed a real pint after my flight. 

I would definitely make the two hour drive back to revisit for sure.   They’re on my radar now!!  You should definitely put them on your radar as well.  It’s worth it!   Just remember to pull into the plaza AFTER you pass Lowe’s!  

PFP (Points For Pursehooks): 10 🙂


Growler Howlers

Growler Howlers

Not naming names, but a local free beer magazine totally can’t get our story straight. Not in print and I see today, not on the internet either. So I’m here to tell it.   Me!!!

So on July 2, 2016…. a group of us were sitting around at The Brown Pelican in New Bern, NC. One of our friends said they wanted to join a motorcycle club. We got to talking about the rules, prospecting, etc… Our now president, Daniel Hand, said forget that, let’s just start our own. We all laughed a little bit, not really thinking seriously about it but it was a great conversation piece among us friends. We started throwing around names. Of course, we’re all beer geeks so it had to have something to do with beer. Everybody threw out some names I wish I could remember all of them because there were some really funny ones and some really stupid ones. Someone came up with the idea of a growler in the moon with a drop of beer falling into a wolf’s mouth. We were all like yeah!!!!! Yeyeah!!!!

By the end of September, nobody had really talked about it again until one night were all chatting over beers at Brutopia and we were all like, “No really let’s do this.”

So, we, The Growler Howlers originated in North Carolina where we have a passion for the craft beer and the industry itself.

We decided that, unlike other motorcycle clubs/associations/riders and groups, that the Growler Howlers would be open internationally to any individual that wants to join and who has the same passion for beer as we do.

Unlike other groups there are no “chapters” that typically require you to have at least 5 members before becoming part of them. There also will not be probationary time frames when joining.

The concept is that at any given time you can be riding and visiting a craft beer establishment and create a bond with like minded people who wear the same cut as you.

We currently have 16 members, have cumulatively ridden over 15,000 miles. Between all of us, we’ve visited close to 215 breweries, and tasted almost 4,700 beers 2,761 of which I’ve logged personally. We have ridden together to breweries in and out of the state, most of the time together, sometimes solo, or just a couple at a time. We’ve been to beer festivals, we’ve hung out right here, locally, in New Bern. We’ve made friends with other motorcycle clubs, created bonds, educated others about craft beer, been understanding when craft beer isn’t a priority… We get it. We’ve all been there.

We’ve built a plane together. A PLANE!!! It was both fun and stressful at the same time!! We launched said plane and watched it sail only a few feet. We groaned and at the same time laughed about it. Everything in moderation and good fun, right? Life.

We rode the Tail of the Dragon together. We recently attended The Smoke Out Rally out in Rockingham. I sort of wish I saved some vacation days and went out only on the weekend. When the wet t-shirt contest is the best part and you’re a dude-loving chick—-yeah. That’s saying something when that was the best part!!

We hosted a poker run on May 20th. It benefited Heartworks of Pamlico County. ( and we were excited as hell!!!! We had a small turnout, but we managed to donate around $1200 for the cause.  All the stops were beer related, naturally. Everyone was so supportive and we enjoyed introducing strangers to beer hot spots they may have never known about. The route started at BrÜtopia continuing on down to Promised Land Market, AB Bottle Co, Goose Creek Growler Company and Harrika’s Brew Haus. It ended right back at BrÜtopia where a food truck and live music awaited everyone. There was a raffle and the prizes are probably the best we’ve ever seen on any poker run. We still can’t express enough thanks to the breweries, the bottle shops, the local businesses and even businesses that aren’t local for their generous donations and their support!!!!

We have a lot of rides planned for the future. Hoping to meet new faces and getting out in the wide open road as much as possible!

And that, my friends, is our story.   MY story at least.  And it’s hella better than the other one that was barely told, and told incorrectly.


-Hop Ho (That’s my road name)