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NORTH GEORGIA DAY TRIP: JASPER, TALKING ROCK, FAINTING GOATS

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 1/2/22

Join us for our North Georgia day trip to Jasper, Talking Rock, and Fainting Goats.

In front of you, the golden mountains point to the bright blue sky that’s dotted with puffy white clouds. As you weave through the hills, mountain streams bob and weave, cutting through the green grass and creating a beautiful, relaxing view from the road. Close to the mountain majesty, there’s a cozy downtown filled with warm red brick buildings that line the quaint two-lane street. Jasper has come into its own with cute shops, coffee houses, several good restaurants, and even a brewery. It is quickly becoming a hot day trip for Atlantans that want to get away for a day. Being only about an hour, we ventured up to Jasper to try Old Mulehouse for brunch, then meandered our way through the beautiful mountains to Talking Rock and Talking Rock Brewery, and our final destination at North Georgia winery, Fainting Goats.

On the corner heading into Jasper is Old Mulehouse, with a tea-light patio, and beautiful, old brick building that’s breathtaking inside! Rustic, yet industrial, the Old Mulehouse is a spacious, open-air restaurant with exposed brick and a sprawling bar area. They had transformed into The Old Yulehouse with stockings hung with care, multiple Christmas trees, and a gorgeous lounge area behind a pair barn doors. Outside, the patio is large, dotted with patio furniture and covered in case of rain. We sat near the end of the patio where you can sit and stare at the mountain views all day. There, we tried several brunch items like the salmon hash, the brunch burger, and the steak and eggs. We also opted for some unique items, the Greek hush puppies and egg nog cheesecake, as well as some of their featured Christmas cocktails.

Kicking off our brunch with a Christmas cocktail of the day, the Peppermint Martini. The one has a bit of everything from creaminess to minty to sweetness from the sugar rim and then a good hint of booze on the back. It’s definitely a cool Christmas cocktail! The other cocktail we tried is the Hayman’s Law, which is their take on a slow gin fizz, but with elderflower! It comes off refreshing, light, tangy, and a good sippable brunch drink. We know why it’s a customer favorite.

Our brunch meal was a mix of seriously good salmon hash, a hearty brunch burger, festively seasoned fries, and a savory steak and eggs. Starting with the Salmon Hash, which combined smoky, salty, tender salmon perfectly paired with earthy cooked spinach, crunchy potatoes, and a fantastic bright lime hollandaise on top. It was a spectrum of flavors that came together well. Beyond the hash, we also opted for the Brunch burger that is well-seasoned and perfectly cooked. On top, hearty pork belly adds a ton of savor, as well as sharp cheddar cheese on some nicely buttered buns. This beautiful burger came with the best seasoned fries! The seasoning is phenomenal and a good mix of crunch and potato. John loves a good steak, so he picked the steak and eggs. Now that’s one perfectly cooked and seasoned steak! It is paired with fluffy eggs and the same amazing fries.

Not only is the brunch fantastic, so are some unique apps and desserts they offer. Starting with the Greek Hush Puppies, these little numbers are house-made falafel that’s grainy and earthy just like you’d expect it with mellow chickpeas. Whatever you do, you must eat it with the sauce! It is spicy and creamy at the same time! Then, the best surprise of the whole meal was the Egg Nog Cheesecake! They have a new pastry chef, and her cheesecake of the day was this one, which was simply stellar! Creamy and thick with a mellow, sweet, and savory egg nog juxtaposing the delicate cheesecake for a fantastic flavor. The best part though must be the ooey, gooey sweet sugar cookie crust that melted in your mouth and was the icing on the cake for this dessert.

After our big meal, we took the mountainous road up to Talking Rock, GA, a quaint little town with only about 6 buildings downtown. Then, right on the railroad tracks, the main attraction, Talking Rock Brewery. Nestled in a train car, Talking Rock Brewery is not only cute and eclectic, but its beer also brings people together in this small town to watch the game or just to play some cornhole. We pretty much tried all of their beers, so here’s our take on them.

They have a little bit of everything for everyone, like the Caboose Georgia red that’s mellow up front with a good hoppy bit on the back, yet smooth. My favorite is the Pumpkin Express Pumpkin ale that’s soft, mellow with a hint of pumpkin but not overbearing. Another good option is the Pullman Pub Ale that is a little thicker with a creamy head and mellow malt balancing the hop on the back. If you like dry Irish Stouts, you’ll enjoy the Dart that had a range of toasty, smoky, and a slight back of the throat bitterness. John’s favorite is the Party Like It’s 95 Blonde Ale that is very drinkable, light, and refreshing. He also really enjoyed the Just the Ticket Pilsner that is also light, but with slightly more flavor on the back. If you like IPAs you can’t go wrong with either the Run 8 IPA or the Polar Express Double IPA, both hoppy, while the Double IPA is hazy and juicy.

The flight empty, we headed to our final destination even further up in the mountains, Fainting Goat Winery. The second you arrive, the vineyard sprawls in front of a large chateau perched high on a hill. Below, there is a pin with several goats that are as friendly as you can imagine coming up to the gates and smiling. The day was warmer than usual, so we sat on the lawn, tasting in hand, overlooking the gorgeous view of the vineyard, watched the goats play, and enjoyed the best mountain views! The best spot is on the porch above the lawn where you can watch the sunset! This winery has been on our list for a long time! This day we both got a wine tasting, John got The White Album and I got the Crowd Pleaser. Here are our thoughts! Pro tip: get the Wednesday Night Sauvignon Blanc! We know why it’s award winning.

Of the crowd pleaser tasting, I substituted the Revere Blanc du Bois for the Sauvignon Blanc. This one is floral and hearty, a sweetness up front that finishes dry. The second was a rose called the Summer Quartz. It tastes like roses, a slight sweet peach, and finishes dry. It’s mellow and great for sipping! For the red wine, Harvesting Homes Malbec smells like plum and tastes like a light red wine with a little bit of sweetness of that plum and a little bit of chocolate. Of the White Album tasting, the Amber Fields Chardonnay is very good, smooth and buttery with a good sweetness that comes out near the end. Didn’t get any oak on this one, even though it is oak barreled. The favorite was the Wednesday Night Sauvignon Blanc. It wasn’t what we expected; it’s lemony, citrusy and dry. I typically stay away from these as I don’t like grapefruit in my wine and this one didn’t have that at all! All around a great selection of wines and a beautiful view.

We round through the mountain roads back towards Jasper and the orange, blue, and purple sun set over the cozy little downtown. A beautiful day filled with great memories.

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