Friday, March 16, 2012

Cruisin’ For A Brewsin’: Charleston, S.C.!


I love this city! 

Kickin' it with my homeys from Palmetto Brewing, one of the awesome breweries in the state of South Carolina, during the Charleston Wine + Food Festival.
Whaddup!

It seemed like yesterday when I was rolling to Charleston, S.C., one of my favorite cities in the U.S., to cover their annual BB&T Charleston Wine +Food Festival along with the burgeoning food writer, Andrea Janise. Man, I had a blast thanks to so many people who live and brew in that city. They showed your homey much love and rolled out the red carpet. With so many places to hit up in so little time, I didn't get a chance to make it to all of the stops I had on my list like tours of Coast, Holy City, and Palmetto breweries, but I still got a chance to kick it with some of their reps and sip some fantastic suds they produce.
Anyway, here are some cool spots you don’t want to miss when hitting up the coastline city of C-Town if you are Cruisin’ For A Brewsin’:

The Charleston Beer Exchange

Whenever I get to Charleston, I make sure to make my visit to the Beer Exchange a priority. One of the pioneers of craft beer retail in the South, these gents have done so well slinging some of the hardest beers to find including constantly rotating growler taps, they are setting up shop in Greenville, another great South Carolina destination. Get your allowance money saved up because it is virtually impossible to leave this shop empty handed.

Closed For Business

All my fellow beer geeks in Atlanta swore by this place (Whaddup, Beer-Talk!), so I had to go. Yep, as usual, they were on point. After his book signing, I  joined Timmons Pettigrew, the author of the wonderful book, Charleston Beer, and chilled out at a spot called Closed For Business right on the main strip, King Street. Closed had me open with a fusion of contemporary décor and some cozy furniture you’d find in Bruce Wayne’s study. 
My main man and author
extraordinaire Timmons P.!
The impressive tap selection allowed me to select the delicious American IPA/Belgian Trippel-style hybrid, the Green Flash Le Freak, out of San Diego County, California. Awesomeness! We had to bounce after a few glasses, though. They were setting up for a Victory beer dinner and we had a wine event to cover. (Shhhhh…I snuck in a Wild Heaven Ode to Mercy Imperial Brown Ale for Timmons to try and he loved it!) Definitely check out Closed for Biz.


Kudu Coffee and Craft Beer
Sippin' a breakfast for champions, the Ertvelds Wit out of Belgium, with Kudu head honcho Josh looking on. The coffee is kickass too!
I also discovered a cozy spot that would be my morning stop everyday if I could:  Just off of King Street (and two block from Closed) is a hipster destination that explores every meaning of the word “brew,” specializing in selling coffee and craft beer called Kudu Coffee and Craft Beer. Sure, there’s a similar coffee house in Atlanta called Octane, but Kudu had an awesome patio and their fresh pastries looked damn good! It was ten o’clock and I still was able to get a Weyerbacher Old Heathen Imperial Stout on tap! Talk about good morning! Co-founder Josh did a great job setting this place up. Stop by when you need a shot of java…or hops!

Mount Pleasant, S.C.
Seared Sea Scallops with Charred Corn and Shrimp Salsa, and Jalapeno Beurre Blanc at Red Drum in Mount Pleasant. Hungry yet?
Oh yeah, and don’t sleep on Mount Pleasant, which is another section that is a hop and a skip from Downtown Charleston. It was easy to make myself at home with the open arms I received from the restaurateur Charlie Chance. I had dinner at his Red Drum gastropub which was fantastic, and the next night, I covered the New Belgium Beer Dinner at his bistro restaurant next door called, well, Next Door

I was joined by All About Beer's Publisher Daniel Bradford, and a table full of media all-stars and beer distributors as we indulged in top-notch fare prepared by some of the best chefs in the business including Ben Berryhill (Red Drum), Robert Carter (Carter’s Kitchen), Donald Barickman (Culinary Institute of Charleston), and Brett McKee (Eli’s Table). For a flawless breakdown of what we had, check out Charleston City Paper food scribe Erik Doksa here. The beer standouts NewBelgium hit us with included the spicy Biere de Mars (6.2%) form the Lips of Faith Series; the La Folie sour brown ale (6.0%); and the rich Cocoa Mole ale (9.0%).

Coleman Public House
I also managed to find time to sip a flight (about four or more beer samples) at the ColemanPublic House a few miles down the road from Next Door for a nightcap. I met Eric there and I suggest if you ever venture outside the Charleston city limits, make it over there to sip some liquid hard-to-finds on tap. Just keep an eye on the ever-changing chalkboard announcing what liquid deliciousness is served by the second.

All in all, Charleston is consistently a great time whenever I go and with burgeoning breweries like the aforementioned Holy City, verteran Palmetto, Westbrook (the Thai and SaisonPiggly Wiggly's Pig Swig blowing up (contract brewed by Thomas Creek), this city will continue to be a force to reckon. 

Pig Swig is kickin' pigtail
at Piggly Wiggly!
From the southern charm, to palm trees, friendliness, rich history, esteemed culinary scene,  and, of course, appreciation for beer, This is undoubtedly one of my favorite U.S. cities.
Cheers!
Ale

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