Everyone once in a while, a delayed flight is a fortuitous thing.

I was recently passing through Charlottesville, picking up a friend from the airport who’s flight kept getting pushed back an hour at a time. Sadly, Charlottesville airport has no bar. Luckily, Charlottesville has a growing brewery scene and Siri pointed me toward South Street Brewery, in downtown Charlottesville just off the edge of the mall. South Street is new to me, even though it’s been around since 1998. It’s one of those small gems that you can only discover while traveling. Europe is full of them–brewhouses that don’t distribute, so you can only get their beer by setting foot in their bar. Each small town has its own small brewery that makes just enough for locals and intrepid travelers.

Now the South is full of them too, as craft beer infiltrates every corner of the Southern Appalachians. There are probably a dozen breweries operating within 20 miles of my house that I’ve never had the pleasure of sampling because they don’t distribute beyond the four walls of their tasting rooms. Expand the radius to 100 miles, 200 miles, and the number of small batch beers I’ve yet to drink are practically endless.

Sipping a mellow Satan’s Pony Amber Ale at the bar inside South Street Brewery, it hit me that I rely too heavily on the beer store at the end of my street. It’s a good beer store that gets a wide variety of beer from all over the country, but there are so many good small-scale outfits that don’t even bottle their goodness. I gotta get out more.

You should get out to South Street, if you haven’t yet. If you have already hit up South Street, find another small-scale brewer and spend some time in their bar. It takes a little more work than relying on the options that show up at your favorite beer store, but it’ll probably be worth it.