SCBeerGuy/Thomas Creek Brewery Bottle Share - May 31

imageJust wanted to let everyone know about a really great SC Beer event in upstate this month.  May 31st there will be a bottle share from 5-8 PM.  Thomas Creek Brewery has been generous enough to host the event!

Ever been to a bottle share?  If not, it’s just what it sounds like.  A bunch of us craft beer lovers will be digging up bottles to bring and pass around.  There is no fee to attend.  Just bring at least one bottle of beer with you.

Just looking at what Jim (@fiveholeluck) and I have dug out our cellars, the event looks like it’s off to an amazing start.  Here’s what we’ve gathered so far:

3 Floyd’s 2013 Bourbon Muerte Dark Lord
3 Floyd’s 2011 Dark Lord
3 Floyd’s Conquistador de Muerte
3 Floyd’s Barrel-Aged Black Sun w/ Cherries
3 Floyd’s BA Behemoth
Cantilon Classic Gueuze
Cigar City/B. Nektar Ghost Stories
Cigar City Cedar Aged Jai Alai (Humidor Series)
Founder’s KBS Flight 2011-2013
Goose Island BCBS Flight
New Glarus R&D Gueuze
Troeg’s Nugget Nectar

How’s that sound?

There is one catch.  This will be limited to the first 75 folks who RSVP.  To do so, either hit me up on Twitter (@scbeerguy) or use this Facebook Event.  Below is the address for the event.

2054 Piedmont Hwy, Greenville, SC 29605

Let’s represent the SC beer scene well!  Help get the word out!

Cheers!

Conquest Brewing - Sacred Heartier

image

If you’re a craft beer fan in South Carolina, you’ve probably already heard of Columbia’s only production brewery, Conquest Brewing.  They’ve been a welcome new presence to the SC beer scene and have started putting out some really solid beers.

Before yesterday, I’d only tried the Medusa Stout and the Sacred Heart IPA.  Both are extremely well done.  From what I hear, I missed out on a monster of a beer, The Finisher (17.5% abv) that was tasted by a select few awhile back.  When I heard that Green’s in Columbia would be tapping the first imperial beer by a Columbia production brewery, I knew that I didn’t want to miss out this time!

Sacred Heartier is a 10.5% version of their Sacred Heart IPA.  First off, I want to say that this is a dangerously smooth beer.  In fact, the second and third glass were as smooth as the first, hence the danger factor. :-)  This beer had a beautiful, light copper color.  It poured with maybe one finger of head.  The body was lighter than expected for the abv and it left a nice lacing.  The aroma was definitely hop-forward as expected.  The taste caught me slightly off guard.  I got the tropical fruit and bitterness from the hops as expected, but this double IPA really had something that set it apart from most others that I have tried.  I can only describe as a spiciness. (Which is unfortunately a poor description)  It’s hard to put my finger on exactly what it is.  The only thing I can figure is that it’s from the blend of hops used. (Warrior, Centennial, Citra, Zythos, Columbus, and Belma)  Don’t read that as a bad thing.  I really like whatever it is that makes it different.  There are times in the craft beer industry where offerings of certain styles start to blend together.  You begin to form an expectation of exactly how a beer will taste before you ever pour it.  I went into this with a certain expectation and was extremely happy to be caught off guard.

Overall, this is another really solid offering from Conquest.  If you haven’t had their stuff, head up to Columbia and check them out soon!  Hopefully for you out-of-staters, we can get them bottling soon and I can send you some of South Carolina’s new craft beer goodness!

Cheers!

Anonymous said: If you get a chance you need to try Red Oak out of Whittset, NC. Great flavor and small craft company. Excellent color and taste.

Will do! Thanks for the recommendation!

Anonymous said: The question I had about how many taps for the tri-county area was for the Charleston County Tri-county area. James Island, Downtown Charleston, Mt Pleasant etc..

That makes more sense.  Charleston is a really good area of the state for craft beer.  As far as the number of taps?  That’s hard to say.  It would have to be fairly high.  Maybe in the thousands.  Now how many of those are quality craft beers being served?  That reduces the number greatly.  I would still bet that this area is higher than most of the rest of the state.

Anonymous said: I am traveling to South Carolina to celebrate a friend's 50TH. Her son-in-law owes me a case of "good local beer" on a football bet. Any suggestions for a bottled micro, available in the Bluffton; Hilton Head area?

First off, congrats on your football bet. It’s always nice to be on the winning side of those!

You’ll have a few options in that area. Your best bet would be go to Growler’s Bottle shop in Hilton Head. Once there, I’d go with Westbrook Brewing or Coast. Those are two of my favorites. Let me know how your trip goes!

Cheers!

Quick Review - Grumpy’s Sports Pub

Hey y’all! Just wanted to do a quick iPhone review of my first official trip to Grumpy’s Sports Pub in Aiken, SC. As you know, I was very intrigued and excited about the prospect of a real beer bar in my hometown. Well, we took a group over there for dinner tonight and here’s my first impression.

As I mentioned in my preview, the beer list is solid. I started with a Porterhouse Oyster Stout. I followed it up with a Victory Golden Monkey and a Bell’s Porter. My beautiful bride had a Fort Collins Pomegranate Wheat. My friends enjoyed the Allagash White. Very solid beers all around. Plenty more in bottles and on tap that we never made it to. They should be starting flights and growlers soon.

Now food. They have started with a limited menu. I had the Bacon Cheeseburger with the smoked Gouda and the pub chips. Very, very good. From what I understand, the wings are tasty too. They also currently have hot dogs, chicken fingers and sandwiches, and other normal bar food. They also have a Double IPA cheese dip that I plan to try next time.

Service was great. The waitress was very attentive and kept our beers full! Can’t ask for much more! The bartender was more than willing to discuss their many beers.

This is still in their soft opening period, but the place was packed. The staff seemed well prepared for what the grand opening will bring. So far, my “expert” opinion is that this is a great addition to Aiken. They have the chance to be a premier bar/pub in town!

Check it out!

Cheers!

"Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer."

— Dave Barry

Looking To Try Something New?

A few weeks ago, my wife and I made a trip to Charleston, SC (this was an educational trip to the aquarium with my kiddos) and detoured over to Mount Pleasant to check out a brewery that I was more than a little interested in.  Don’t you love how I take a totally non-beer related trip and turn it into research for the blog?  And don’t you love that my research involves drinking beer?  The sacrafices I make for the good of craft beer.

Westbrook

Over the last few months, I’ve developed a very strong interest in Westbrook Brewing.  I’m pretty sure that this started with tracking down their Mexican Cake.  This was a special release imperial stout that was aged on cocoa nibs, vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks, and fresh habanero peppers.  Um… Yes please…  I have to say that I throughly enjoyed it.  But, where to go from there.  At that time, they were yet to distribute to my area of SC.  Slowly, over the next couple of months I tracked down more of their beers to try.  Their canned IPA, canned White Thai, their series of Wine Barrel Aged Tripels (amazing), Covert Hops, Farmhouse IPA, Pacific Jade,  Lichtenhainer.  All really good.  They even shocked me at Brewvival and had the beer of the day (in my opinion).  For your sake, I hope that they bottle the wine barrel aged Quad at some point.

Westbrook is starting to get a really solid reputation in the craft beer community.  Not just in South Carolina, but nationwide.  What really surprises me is how long they’ve been around.  Co-founders Edward and Morgan Westbrook started the brewery in 2010.  In just this short time, it’s exploded.  Another thing that surprised me during my visit was the actual brewery.  It’s huge.  If I’m correct, it’s 18,000 square feet.  Gigantic for a young brewery!  And very aesthetically pleasing.  Absolutely gorgeous.  They also have an enormous barrel aging room with all kinds of goodness inside.

Here’s some more info for y’all:

510 Ridge Road
Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
(843) 654-9112

info@westbrookbrewing.com

http://westbrookbrewing.com


You can also find them on FB and Twitter.


This is a brewery that you need to check out.  If you live in SC, make the short drive.  If you live out of state, come visit Charleston.  It’s beautiful and has a good craft beer scene!  While you’re here, visit Coast as well!  Also, don’t forget that one of the best bottle shops in the world according to RateBeer.com, Charleston Beer Exchange is located downtown! In the meantime, if you have the opportunity to try some of their beers, don’t hesitate.  They’re worth it!


Cheers!

Grumpy’s Sports Pub - Aiken, SC

Grumpy's

Let me preface this with two remarks:

1) This entry is written mostly for my local readers.
2) I know that I don’t typically write about bars/pubs, but this could be very important for craft beer in Aiken.

While the craft beer scene in the CSRA has steadily improved, we are still seriously lacking a bar/pub that takes craft beer seriously.  I’ve seen a number of local places carry a few craft beers that they know nothing about.  That’s supposed to be enough to make me happy.  Right?  And here I’m talking about places where I can go to sit down and drink a beer.  Not a beer store.  We have a couple decent stores.  North Augusta Wine & Beverage  and Wine World stick out as two great examples.  Kroger in Aiken is now making a push to stock a much larger variety of craft beer. (check back there in a few weeks)  Don’t bother with Harvard’s.  Things have not gotten any better there since my review.  

But, I digress.

This is an article about a pub that isn’t even open yet.  I had the opportunity yesterday to sit down with Randy Eblen, the owner of Grumpy’s Sports Pub.  First off, he does know about good craft beer.  Secondly, they’re making it a focus.  When walking in, I’m greeted by approximately 30 taps that will be on a constant rotation.  The draft system is setup beautifully and there are enough interesting beers on tap to keep me interested.  To complement the draft selection, they are starting to get some pretty cool bottles in.  In just a few moments of looking, I noticed some good looking imperials and belgians.  It sounds like they plan to add in new stuff fairly regularly as well.  On top of that, they are very open to requests.  Their Facebook page is already alive with chatter and beer talk.

What if you want to take some beer home?  It sounds like they plan to do growler fills.  How long has Aiken needed that?

From my discussion yesterday, they are hoping to open this Saturday (April 21st).  If something comes up and they can’t meet that date, look for them soon after.

Let me finish by saying that this is full of potential.  Will they continue to push out some great beers?  Are the people of Aiken ready for great craft beer?  If so, will they go often enough to support it?  Hopefully we can look back in a year and see that all of those have been answered with a resounding yes!

Now the details:

Grumpy’s Sports Pub

216 East Gate Drive, Aiken, SC (Where Beef O’Brady’s used to be in the Publix shopping center)

803-226-9868

http://www.facebook.com/grumpyssportspub

Anonymous said: Any recommendations for a local SC beer?

Sure! Right now, my two favorites are both out of Charleston. Westbrook and Coast. Both are first class. Skullcoast and Thomas Creek are good too. You should try them all!

Cheers!