I’ll be honest: The wine was a nice change of pace.
We’re almost exactly halfway through Charleston Beer Week (which runs Sept. 7-14), and I’ve been trying to stick to my plan of attending two events per day, including one at a brewery or business I’ve never been to before. I’ve been somewhat successful! So far, I’ve gone to:
- Pawleys Island Brewing Co. for their second-anniversary bash.
- The Brew Cellar’s block party (which had to be held just down the block at EVO thanks to the fact that O'Hear Avenue is currently a mess of caution barriers and jackhammered asphalt).
- Ghost Monkey Brewery to get annihilated by a morning workout with Charleston Get Fit before grabbing a hard-earned kolsch.
- Edmund’s Oast Brewing for Pulling Nails, a tutorial in blending barrel-aged sour beers.
- Edmund’s Oast Exchange for Get The Funk Out, a side-by-side tasting of funky natural wines and some of those funky sour beers.
- Snafu Brewing Co. for drag trivia led by inimitable queen Patti O’Furniture.
The beers add up quickly, and I’ve only got so much space in my stomach. So sipping on a biodynamic cabernet sauvignon at Edmund's Oast Exchange, gloriously free of both carbonation and gluten, was a needed respite.
But! Now it’s back to beer. I’m girding my liver for the back half of CBW. I fully intend to finish strong (and, I’m sure, very full). By way of motivation, I’ve reviewed my notes from the field, and share them with you here in lightly edited form (mostly for coherence):
- Pawleys Island’s Oktoberfest is a solid example of the Marzen form. Really pleasant, slightly bready. It’s in cans now. Pawleys is about about 50/50 on cans vs. kegs right now, per head brewer Darren McLean.
- So tough for businesses like The Brew Cellar (and Commonhouse Aleworks right down the block) to contend with big, disruptive construction projects at their front doors. I thought the pivot to EVO worked all right.
- Been seeing Sycamore Brewing (out of Charlotte) served in more Lowcountry locales lately, including at the block party. Interestingly, their jockey box was under a Wicked Weed tent. Given how publicly contentious the latter brewery’s 2017 sale to Anheuser-Busch InBev got, I wonder how that adjacency affects newcomers in this market. (The two breweries have no apparent relation, but share a distributor in this area.)
- I don’t think I “get” the whole exercise-and-beer trend. I mean, I exercise, then I drink beer. I’ve been doing it for years, in fact! But the circuit training I suffered through at Ghost Monkey, while invigorating, didn’t make me want to drink — it made me want to keel over. Or at least, sleep.
- Edmund’s Oast’s logo for Pulling Nails is absolutely revolting. I mentioned this to owner Scott Shor; he cackled with apparent glee.
- Pretty rad to have access to EO’s barreled sours, and to get to blend them hands-on with direction from advanced Cicerone (Brandon Plyler). Just a really cool experience.
- Snafu’s drag trivia earned a remarkable turnout considering a) it was on a Tuesday night; b) it wasn't air-conditioned; and c) it was a joint CBW and Charleston Pride Week celebration. Queer beer culture is most certainly a thing nationally. Clearly, it is in the Lowcountry, as well.
That’s all I got for now. I’m getting back in the saddle this afternoon/evening, and will be running around like a madman for the rest of CBW. Follow along on Twitter or Instagram for coverage from the field, and as always, if you see me out there, say hello. Beer on three: one-two-three BEER!