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Festival highlights local wines, hand-crafted beer
The chardonnay vines at Yonah Mountain Vineyards, one of several local wineries to offer samples of their products at the White County Cork & Keg Festival on Saturday. - photo by For The Times

White County Cork
& Keg Festival

2-6 p.m. Saturday
Where: Helen Festhalle, 1074 Edelweiss Strasse, Helen
How much: $35
More info: 706-878-3300

Take a few minutes this weekend and have a cold one. Or two. Or three. Heck, try them all. You’ll have the chance Saturday at the inaugural White County Cork & Keg Festival in Helen.

The beer and wine celebration will highlight some of Northeast Georgia’s wineries while offering a sampling of the South’s best artisan brews.

And while the taste buds are getting a teaser, the Sautee Nacoochee Community Association will get a little help financially. The event benefits the SNCA, a nonprofit organization providing the protection and preservation of the area’s natural and historical resources.

Jerry Grillo, writer for Georgia Trend Magazine and member of the SNCA, describes the festivities as a chance for beer lovers to "come taste some craft-brewed American beers and maybe get out of their comfort zone a little bit when it comes to the liquid gold."

Focusing on independent businesses, the event features sponsors from several states throughout the South such as Terrapin Beer, Highland Brewing and Atlanta’s own Sweetwater Brewing. Each brewer will offer different samples of their own microbrews.

For those who may not stray too far from a can of Coors, microbrews are small-batch brews of artisan beer, as Grillo puts it, "with more distinct flavor and character."

Wine enthusiasts not to be forgotten, the Winegrowers of White will provide a free glass for tasting, with Yonah Mountain Vineyards, Sautee-Nacoochee Vineyards and Habersham Winery bringing the best off the vine.

The Nacoochee Grill, Nacoochee Tavern and Pizzeria and The Vines European Cuisine are cooking up grub to compliment the suds and vino.

And an afternoon of food and drink wouldn’t be complete without a few tunes. The Kip Dockery Jazz Trio will keep the air melodic while the rest of the senses are treated.

All the fun is just a few feet away from Helen’s hotels, shops, pubs and the start of the Chattahoochee River.

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