I’ve ridden with Bob Williams of Beer & Bike Tours in Colorado and he can outride me any day of the week, but he really enjoys the combination of riding, enjoying the company of his guests and drinking beer. I asked him to report on a recent trip to Charleston so you can get an idea of how much of a vacation riding with one of his tours can be. Enjoy!
Charleston to Savannah Trip Report by Bob Williams.
Another great trip from Charleston to Savannah has come and gone. This ride is always a lot of fun to guide and participate on as a guest. Here is a summary of our most recent adventure. Charleston and Savannah are both quickly growing beer and cycling cities. Our trip begins in Charleston.
Day 1 – On this trip we picked up one of our guests at the recently renovated Charleston airport.
I always like the smaller simpler airports. Charleston is one of these easy to fly into and sort out which way to go airports. After picking up Megan, we drove to Holy City Brewing to have a pint and catch up with the others.
To my surprise we also met an Old friend who helped out Beer & Bike when we were just starting out promoting our adventures in the Pacific Northwest. The Holy City Brewery is tucked away behind a couple motorcycle shops and reminds me of the old Avery Alley in Boulder, CO and how it is a bit of a hidden sanctuary.
Holy City has a large tap list and yummy food. I started out with a Pluff Mud Porter, Gold medal winning porter at GABF in 2012. Other beers of note are the Chucktown Follicle Brown and the Washout Wheat. Everything on the menu was on point and of nice quality.
After dropping off a couple’s car for the week, we made our way to the opening weekend at Frothy, Frothy Beard Brewing. This brewery has been around for a few years but just moved into a large new spot with an in house pizza company as well. The beer was good and the Pizza from Zombie Bob was wonderful. They do not mess about when it comes to the size of a slice!
After a taster flight and a slice we checked in to our hotel in Charleston, The charming Andrew Pinckney Inn. The Andrew Pinckney is our base in the Holy City, because of the wonderful rooms, staff and central location. Charleston was known as the Holy City because of its many church steeples that helped sailors navigate into the harbor. I love the roof top terrace where we sit and enjoy evening beers and the occasional whisky.
Day 2 – Ride to Sullivan’s Island
On day two we road over the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. This was the “climb” of our tour. Crossing the bridge gives you a great view of the city and also the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier, Fort Sumter and the ocean beyond. As we descended the bridge we cut over to get a closer look at the aircraft carrier. At Patriots Point there are some amazing bits of naval history.
After our visit to the carrier we over to the island for some BBQ and a visit to Fort Moultrie to see some of the batteries that combined with Fort Sumter were used all the way back to the revolutionary war. Ft. Moultrie
you can also see Fort Sumter which is where the first shots of the civil war were fired. The history in Charleston is really amazing and worthy of a trip of it’s own.
Riding back across the bridge we visited the Revelry Brewing Company and followed this with dinner at Edmunds Oast. the Oast has one of the best curated beer lists I have seen in a long time. Along with beers brewed in house they have a nice selection of beers from the area and special beers from further away. Our waiter did a great job pairing beers to our meals and suggesting the best stuff available, although I think you would be hard pressed to find a bad option here.
Day 3 – Forrest Gump country and the Tradesman Brewery
Forrest Gump said something about a box of chocolates. I think more about beer but you still sometimes do not know what you are going to get. On this ride we had mostly traffic free roads and beautiful plantation views. For this ride we had sandwiches from the Artesian Meat Share in Charleston. Wow is this place good!
We followed up today’s ride with a stop at Tradesman Brewery that always feels like visiting old friends and as if time has not passed. Sara Gayle, Scott and Chris are all wonderful people who make great beer and just honest good humans. While we were there the brewery was hosting an evening yoga group called Bendy Brewski. I could go on all day about the beers at Tradesman.
Similar to Holy City there is not a bad choice on the menu. Tradesman is moving to a new spot soon so visit the small brewhouse soon and learn about the story before you see the grand space they are planning. I have no doubt it will have a relaxed welcoming feel because that is what this place is all about. Hard work and well built beer made without attitude in a welcoming manner.
Day 4 – Wadamaw Island and on to Beaufort
The longest ride of the trip begin by saying goodbye to our hosts at the Andrew Pinckney and heading over to a small little breakfast spot called Three Little Birds. Three Little Birds is one of my happy spots. The restaurant is tucked away behind a strip mall in a little building.
After breakfast we set out on our ride through the low country on the island under ancient live oaks and past horse farms.
Gradually we made our way our to the Firefly Distillery to sample some moonshine and have a few laughs. After our whiskey we road over to see the only existing tea plantation in America before driving to Beaufort. Personally I will take whiskey over sweet tea every time but it was still fun!
Day 5 – The ride that was cut short
Our ride on day 5 began from the Beaufort Inn. The plan was to head out through Penn Station and on to Huntington Island State Park. Unfortunately the winds were so strong that the park was closed and the dust from the plantations limited visibility so we had to cut the ride short. It is always a hard decision to get off the bike but this was an easy one as it was just too hard to see. Instead we drove through the Savannah Wildlife Refuge and checked out the local residents, Alligators!
After an hour or so at the refuge we continued on to Savannah and visited Moon River and Service Brewing. As often happens when traveling with Beer & Bike Tours, we set up on the patio of the inn, President’s Quarters Inn, and shared beers with each other and enjoyed meeting many of the other guests staying at the inn.
Day 6- Wormsloe, Bonaventure Cemetery and the squares of Savannah.
Our last day riding took us out to the beautiful Wormsloe Plantation to ride under a stunning mile of live oak trees and learn about the history of how Savannah was settled.
From the plantation we cycled over to the Bonaventure Cemetery where many famous Savannah residents have been buried. This cemetery was made famous by the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and is the resting place to Johnny Mercer and Noble Jones.
We finished our ride with beer at The Distillery. I also had a wonderful Savannah take on a BLT sandwich. The addition of Fried Green Tomatoes and a little avocado made for a fitting end to our adventure. Not to be lazy, we decided to hit one more brewery and visited the Coastal Empire Brewing Company for a night cap.
In the end I always look back at my time in Charleston and Savannah with fondness and look forward to going back. The mix of nice people, great sites, tasty food and good beer will keep me coming back to cycle here for many years. I hope you all can join our next adventure in the area. Cheers to all the places we visited, slept, and drank and all of the friends new and old on this wonderful Beer & Bike Adventure.
Thanks for reading about our Charleston to Savannah adventure. This trip is a great example of how we do things. We keep our groups small, normally 4-8 people, and work within the framework of our tours to customize each adventure to give you the trip you are hoping for.
Our tours are ride at your pace. Our guides help the group stick together when needed and also support riders who are faster, slower or want a different length ride each day. It is important to us that you enjoy your cycling holiday and it is our job to give you that experience.
While some of our trips have longer days or more climbing, even these trips can be set up for everyone. With a little training, even our hardest trip can be done by most cyclists. Our support van is never far away and we will always shuttle you to the best part of the ride if you do not or cannot do the whole days ride.
While we do love our beer, cycling is our first love, I could ride a bike well before I liked the taste of beer. I say this because I want our guests to know that the beer is optional. We pick breweries that tell the local story in their craft and are fun to visit and experience even if you do not sample while there. Our guides are also mechanics, friends, storytellers and have a great time learning about our guests and sharing with them the things that make each area great.
Bob Williams, Beer & Bike Tours, Fort Collins, CO, 970-201-1085