[UPDATE: I will not see you at the goat races, because they've been canceled.]
This time last year, I was humping cardboard boxes and awkwardly shaped pieces of furniture up a flight of stairs in Wagener Terrace. I needed a beer something fierce.
And yet, that impossibly heavy IKEA armoire wasn’t going to move itself. So back at it I went, enduring the painstaking-but-necessary move-in process at the tail-end of summer 2018 while the rest of you lot enjoyed the sixth annual Charleston Beer Week (or at least, the parts of it that weren't ruined by the Hurricane Florence evacuation.)
But new year, new me, folks. I just passed my one-year mark as a Charleston resident (despite actually moving again, within town last month, which was predictably miserable!) Please believe me when I say: I am looking forward to Charleston Beer Week 2019, running Sept. 7-14, with gumption and great zeal.
Great zeal, I tell you.
Now in its seventh year, CBW is a premier showcase of Lowcountry lagers and ales, and all the people who produce ‘em. There are around 30 breweries in the Charleston area (depending on what you define as “the Charleston area”), and even though it’s almost literally my job, I haven’t actually been to all of them.
I know, I know: I'm not terribly happy about, it either.
Well, that changes now, people! Or, more specifically, next week, when I’ll be doing my level-best to cover CBW in all its breathtaking, beery glory.
In my inaugural Charleston Beer Week outing, my goal is to attend no fewer than two events per day, and at least one at a brewery I’ve never been to. You may even see me out there. If you do, say hello: I’m the balding, pear-shaped fellow with the mustache. Can’t miss me (especially if you're following along on Twitter and Instagram.)
As for what awaits you out there (besides a balding, pear-shaped fellow with a mustache), there’s plenty, folks. Event producer and roving photographer Chrys Rynearson told me there are around 50 events over the course of seven days. "I tried not to go beyond (scheduling) seven or eight events per night," he told me.
Obviously, no one can hope to attend everything, least of all me. And unfortunately, some of the events are already sold out anyway. But never you fear: There’s a whole lot of CBW left for the rest of us.
As far as prices go, nothing reaches Charleston Wine+Food levels, but for the sake of all you beer-lovers on a budget out there, I've highlighted a few events I'm hoping to attend that are either pay-as-you-go (denoted as PAYG below), or just a few bucks. That's not to say this is the only stuff worth hitting next week, far from it. But hopefully it'll get you started.
Make your plans now, and get your beer bellies in order. Looking forward to sharing a pint (or several) with you next week, Charleston.
This recent-ish addition to the Mount Pleasant brewing community is holding a late-morning beer-and-workout session in the parking lot to begin CBW Day Two. My thought is to kick the week off with some mild exercise, then just coast for the next five days. Y’know? 522 Wando Lane, Mount Pleasant
If Edmund’s Oast Exchange (aka EOX) isn’t the best bottle shop on the peninsula, it’s up there. It recently redid the interior of this already-beautiful retail space, so it’s a terrific place to hang out. And getting to taste sour beers and natural wines with the guidance of advanced Cicerone Brandon Plyler and certified sommelier Sarah O’Kelley is not an experience soon repeated. 1081-B Morrison Drive, Charleston
For the uninitiated, Coney dogs or “conies” are a Rust Belt delicacy. I’ll be honest, I’m only familiar with the Detroit varietal, but apparently Cincinnati makes them, too. So shout out to the Queen City, I guess. 2079 Wambaw Creek, Charleston
Something that has stood out to me covering craft beer at a national level is the decrease in the industry’s once-vaunted collaborative, all-for-one spirit. So an event like this, wherein Frothy Beard has turned over its beer recipes to other area brewers to re-imagine, is a welcome reminder that there’s still plenty of community in the craft beer scene if you know where to look. 1401 Sam Rittenberg Blvd., Charleston
The James Island brewpub from the Famulari’s crew is hosting a “Mario Kart 64” showdown and releasing a beer inspired by the cult-classic video game. You’re encouraged to dress as your favorite Mario character, presumably to make the IRL games like turtle-shell shuffleboard feel that much more real. Your 10-buck ticket includes a pint, by the by. 1291 Folly Road, Charleston
If you haven’t had Charles Towne Fermentory’s beer yet, now is the time. I think this snug lil’ Avondale brewhouse goes pour-for-pour with any producer in the city, and it’s a go-to for growler fill-ups at the Infante abode. This event in particular is a charity case in the best possible sense: 100 percent of proceeds go to Brewing Funds the Cure, a beer vs. cancer initiative headed up by Charity Navigator’s top-rated U.S. cancer charity. 809 Savannah Highway, Charleston
YeeHaw Junction is playing a lot party at this relative newcomer on Savannah Highway near Main Road. Honestly, I don’t know much about Fat Pig, so I’m going to take this as an opportunity to get tuned in to what they’ve got going on out there. Plus, Johnny Popper’s Burger Truck will be parked in the yard, so, win-win. 3690 Old Charleston Road, Charleston
Nothing to see here, folks. Just your average, good ol’ fashioned oversized pong party. Toss balls in the five-gallon buckets, compete for a golden cup, and soak in some sun on the Common Grounds, which for my money is one of the better outdoor taproom set-ups in town. 4831 O'Hear Ave., North Charleston
This Saturday afternoon "farm party" aspires to "encapsulate the spirit of Johns Island." How? So glad you asked. The Maybank Highway outpost has partnered up with Burden Creek Dairy Goat Farm to host bona-fide running races between the adorable ungulates. It's something I didn't even know I was missing from my Saturday drinking routine. 2863 Maybank Highway, Johns Island