I found out about the U.S. National Whitewater Center’s Microbrews Cruise a little late in the summer last year, so I didn’t want to wait until the last minute to mention the tour series this year. Put on by the U.S. National Whitewater Center, the Microbrews Cruises happen every Wednesday and alternating Fridays from April through October and are the perfect combination for people who like their craft beer with a little Mother Nature on the side for good measure. Yes, it’s technically an event located in Charlotte, but it would really make for a perfect little afternoon to evening road trip. Each cruise starts out at 6:15 p.m. with a check-in at the USNWC Kayak Center, where you’re set up with your own kayak (tandem kayaks are available, if you want to make a date out of it) and then taken on a guided flatwater paddle along the Catawba River. When the sun starts to go down, everyone heads inland and enjoys a fireside dinner on Hawk Island along with a tasting from that tour’s craft brewery of choice. Representatives from the breweries will be on hand also to lead you through the tastings. The highlighted brewery changes with every tour, and upcoming highlights include everything from the well known and readily available (Sierra Nevada, Left Hand and Dogfish Head) to the lesser known and generally unavailable in South Carolina (Heavy Seas, Mother Earth, Boulevard, Olde Hickory). One that I would be particularly keen to check out is coming up this Friday, May 16, when the featured brewery is Charlotte’s own Birdsong Brewing Company, whose brews I have enjoyed quite a bit whenever I’ve been able to get my hands on them. Tickets to the Microbrews Cruise are $55 per person and can be purchased at usnwc.org/microbrews-cruise-2014-schedule. You can also check out the full schedule there. If you’ve wanted to step up your river-drinking game, this is the way to go.
Total Wine Hosts Beer Tastings
As for tastings a little closer to home, this week kicked off the Total Beer Experience at Total Wine & More. The discount beverage store will be running beer specials as well as hosting beer tastings every day from now until May 18. Times and breweries change with the day, of course, but a couple that will definitely be featured are Terrapin, Founders Brewing, Anderson Valley and Oskar Blues. Check out the Columbia store page at totalwine.com for the whole schedule.
Happy Hour and Sushi Specials All Week
Red Bowl in Lexington now has great early bird and late night sushi specials 7 days a week, as well as 99-cent kids meals on Saturdays! Click here for special information and hours.
Relaxation, Pain Management, and Stress Relief
Licensed massage therapist Allison Morris of AMR Massage is offering 50% off your first session and every 5th session free of charge. Click here for location, hours, and more information.
A Healthy Happy Hour
4-7 p.m at Good Life Cafe on Main St. Try our $4 local draft beers, $4 organic wine, 1/2 off select bottles of house wine and $5 handcrafted house cocktails with juices cold pressed and made daily. Click here for more info.
New Downtown Dessert and Coffee Bar!
Tony’s Italian Eatery has teamed up with Southern Charm Sweets to bring you the highest quality dessert selection in the downtown area. 1120 Washington St., Suite 2. Find us on Facebook!
Trustus Theatre Presents Evil Dead, The Musical
This musical version of Sam Raimi’s cult classic films promises to serve up more humor than horror. You can read more and purchase your tickets here.
SEARCH FREE TIMES
Local restaurants serving locally grown food during Palmetto Tasty Tomato Restaurant Feast, July 11-18:
U.S. Security Associates
Now hiring immediately for armed and unarmed security officers. WE TRAIN YOU! Columbia & surrounding areas. ussecurityassociates.com
Real Estate Spotlight
Concord Park From the $150’s. Off 12th St. Extension. 803.419.2227. mungo.com
Click here for more real estate.
ST. ANDREWS COMMONS APARTMENTS 1 & 2 BR’s available with many amenities. Close to everywhere YOU WANT TO BE! 1200 St. Andrews Rd., Columbia, SC. Click here for more info.
GABLE HILL APARTMENTS 1, 2 & 3 BR’s available with many amenities. Surround yourself with Southern comforts at Gable Hill Apartments! Bring in our ad in Free Times for $50 off your application fee. 310 Ross Rd, Columbia, SC. Click here for more info.
WATERFORD APARTMENTS 1 & 2 BR’s available with many amenities. Prime location, and plenty of space. Live large at Waterford Apartments. Bring in our ad in Free Times for $50 off your application fee. 1340 Longcreek Dr., Columbia, SC. Click here for more info.
Donate Plasma Today & Be Somebody’s Hero For Life. You could earn up to $400 a month! Program and fees vary per location. Contact your local center today. 803-736-5888. Click here for more info