Friday, May 5, 2017

Providence Canyon and Omaha Brewing

One weekend, it was decided that we needed to take a trip down to Omaha brewing. While it doesn't usually take much for us to get in the car and go, this was quite a ways away from the Decatur holdup, and we needed some persuasion. Looking at a map, we found that a destination, Providence Canyon, we had previously discussed was within range, along with a few additional brewpubs in Columbus. Here is the breakdown:

Providence Canyon State Park

About 45 miles directly south of Columbus Georgia, Providence Canyon (or Omaha Brewing in our case) is probably the only thing that will bring you to the area. Known as Georgia's "Little Grand Canyon," it is exactly as it sounds. Unlike the actual Grand Canyon, this state park was created by man, and the poor farming practices of the 19th century. This, and the erosion thereafter, led to extremely deep gullies, and has inadvertently established a beautiful scene worth establishing as a state park. We started by hiking the perimeter of the canyons, enjoying the views from above the sharp drop-offs. The hike was only slightly strenuous due to one sharp decline into the gully and then a sharp incline back up, and was about 2.5 - 3 miles long in total. From here we were able to see many picturesque views and enjoy the airplane-style perspectives. We then decided that watching from afar was not enough, and that we wanted to do some climbing. Entering into the canyon itself, you walk on top of a thin layer of water. The red Georgia clay is so porous that you might as well be walking on stone. Several canyons are to be found within reach, some of which help you can climb very high up for further enjoyable viewing. We climbed for a few more hours, and then the mosquitoes, humidity, and heat approaching 90 degrees,  let us know that we needed to move on and investigate the beer that Omaha had to offer.

A very enjoyable trip with lots of pictures and fun canyoning. As with most things in Georgia, the challenge will always be picking the right time to go; we visited in the morning during mid-April, and enjoyed the beautiful blooming flowers, and a few hours of low heat. We then encountered the constant buzz of countless mosquitoes and crippling humidity+heat combo. It was still worth the visit and next time we'll choose to start even earlier.

Omaha Brewing

Image result for omaha brewingBefore you are even out of the state park, you see the Omaha Brewing Company signs leading you down the road; It's a good thing too, as you'll likely realize that you no longer have cell service and you're stuck without Waze to rely on. Luckily, we were able to follow the Omaha signs (and that we filled up on gas earlier that morning). We saw the buildings at a distance in the middle of a small field, and were shocked to find that the parking lot already had a number of visitors. As we confirmed that this was a Friday afternoon at about 1pm, we made the assumption that we would be seeing many of the same people that we had previously seen visiting the nearby state park. With only a post office and a dentist in the entire town, where else would these guest be from?
We were pleasantly surprised upon thirstily stumbling through the front doors; nice looking people happily greeted us, gave us wrist bands, and then a beer. As we took in all that was around us, we saw a large amount of space, with many tables and chairs, plenty of in door and outdoor games, and a tremendously large list of beers to try! If I was allowed to sample each of the beers they had available, I likely would have been found engaging in a conversation with the Omaha mascot: a large taxidermied alligator wearing a 3 piece suit. I'm not sure if it was the heat, something in the AC pumping through the brewery, or if the beer they had was really that good; but I certainly found myself still wanting more after the reaching my limit. From a 4% ABV berliner weisse, to an 11% barrel aged stout, Omaha was not timid at all, and certainly wasn't limiting themselves to a specific genre. All in all, the majority of the beers were excellent, especially those that leaned towards the German styles. It was then no shock, when I later discovered that the head brewer had been to brewing school at Doemens Academy in Germany.

The tour was a good one, that hit all of the major points of which your standard brewery tour usually comprises. They discussed the small town, the short history of the brewery, and the poaching of their head brewer from Red Brick's Brewery. By the time we were deciding to leave, we found the place packed with people. We stood out from the crowd with our sweat-laden hiking attire, surrounded by sun dresses and button up polo shirts. While we never found out for sure, we eventually decided that due to the lack of any other activity within dozens of miles, as a nearby local this was the place to be. After our visit, I can honestly say that I understand why.

My Rating:

Facility Rating
Location Rating
Beer Rating
Beer Notes
Lots of choices; there's a good chance you'll find one that you like

Best Beer: Nada-Banana American Weiss Beer - This is an extremely drinkable beer without any one flavor overpowering another. While distinct banana flavors are present, they seems to only accentuate the existing balance of clove and the lightly sweet and bready malt profile. Plan on having more than one.