Businesswoman plans on brewing 5 ales on site
Good news for beer lovers in Charleston: a new microbrewery, founded by a local businesswoman, is on tap to open within the year.
Reports the Charleston Daily Mail, the microbrewery and brewpub was approved to open downtown. Ann Saville, who owns the Taylor Bookstore downtown, is looking to expand her homebrewing experience and turn it into a storefront. "It's a great way to turn water into something a bit more palatable," Saville said of the brewing process.
What can beer lovers expect at the new bar? An English-style pub, with wooden trim and wainscotting, outdoor seating, and a bakery. And on tap? Five ales: a golden ale, a pale ale, and an IPA are definites, with either an amber or brown ale or a stout or porter, said Saville.
Updated: An earlier version of the story mistakenly said the new brewery was in Charleston, S.C.; the new brewery will be located in West Virginia.
On Tap: Downtown breweries get ready for SMaSH competition
Five downtown-area breweries are inviting you to get smashed, and live to vote about it.
Through August, special single-malt and single-hop (SMaSH) beers are on tap at Bellwether, Black Label, Mountain Lakes, Whistle Punk and Young Buck (the latter at The Steel Barrel). The winner in customer voting will received the fabled Lester Cup (more on that later).
Bellwether: The Vienna Jester, a farmhouse-style ale brewed with Vienna malt and British-bred Jester hops (5.9 percent alcohol by volume).
Black Label: Pullman Patio Crusher pale, with Lyon malt (from a barley variety recently developed by Washington State University) and Belma hops (5.6 percent ABV, 32 International Bitterness Units).
Mountain Lakes: Loral & Hearty session IPA, with locally produced Spokane Pilsner malt and Loral hops (5.3, 44).
Whistle Punk: Lyon Pale, with Lyon malt and Mosaic hop powder (5.2, 40).
Young Buck: Go Cougs! IPA, with British ESB malt and Glacier hops from WSU’s breeding program (7, 60).
Pick up a ballot at your first stop, have it stamped by each brewery along the way and choose your favorite at the end. If you want some company, and some exercise, Le Tour de Lester bicycle pub crawl starts at Bellwether at 1 p.m. on Aug. 19 and hits all five.
Voters will be invited to a private awards ceremony. As for the titular Lester: The official story is that he defeated time-traveling teen thugs trying to steal his Holy Grail-related cup by, um, smashing them. (Don’t worry, it will make more sense after the third or fourth beer.)
Ales for the Trail returns to Coeur d’Alene’s McEuen Park on Saturday bigger than ever, with 35 breweries and cideries set to pour.
The sixth annual event, from 2 to 8 p.m., benefits the North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation. Admission is $30, which includes six 5-ounce tasters (extras are $2 each) for advance tickets, go to alesforthetrail.org.
Designated drivers and minors accompanied by legal guardians can enter for free (but not drink, of course), and there’s a complimentary bike corral for anyone arriving on two wheels.
Participating breweries include Alaskan, Bale Breaker, Big Sky, Boise Brewing, Deschutes, Downdraft, Elysian, Fremont, Grand Teton, Ground Breaker (gluten-free), Hunga Dunga, Icicle, Iron Goat, Iron Horse, Kootenai River, Laughing Dog, Mad Bomber, Melvin, New Belgium, No-Li, Odell, Paradise Creek, Post Falls, Radio, Rants & Raves, River City, Roadhouse, Selkirk Abbey, 10 Barrel, Ten Pin and Trickster’s. Each will tap at least two different kegs.
Cider will come from Coeur d’Alene Cider, North Idaho Cider, Tieton and Trailbreaker. Also look for raffles of outdoor-themed and other prizes, a variety of food trucks and live music by The Rub.
No-Li again is selling “Spokane Has Heart” T-shirts to benefit a worthy cause, this time local youth nonprofits Teen & Kid Closet, Odyssey Youth Movement and Crosswalk. Get yours for $20 online at nolibrewhouse.com (in the “Store” section), or at the pub starting Aug. 15.
We’re sorry to report the South Hill Growler Guys has closed its doors after almost four years of operation. But on a brighter note, Steady Flow Growler House has set a Sept. 7 grand opening for its new outlet in the former River City taproom downtown (the original Spokane Valley location celebrates its third anniversary Oct. 6).
Distribution-only nanobrewery Four-Eyed Guys is preparing to launch limited releases in 12- and 16-ounce cans. Follow the brewery’s social media for more details.
Black Label is serving a summery Red Raspberry Sour (5 percent alcohol by volume, 20 International Bitterness Units).
V Twin launched a Small Batch Summer Series last week starting with a Mosaic IPA (6.7, 47), to be followed by a raspberry peach lager.
Daft Badger laughs in the face of summer with a Woodinville bourbon barrel-aged stout dubbed The Big Chill (12, 30).
The seasonal Ssssick & Rowdy imperial IPA (9, 85) has returned at Post Falls Brewing.
The Steam Plant is pouring a Honeymoon Hefeweizen (5.4) with a hint of banana.
Whistle Punk’s Weizenhop (4.7) is hopped with late-addition Citra powder for tropical notes along with banana from the yeast.
Iron Goat has tapped both an Ach Du Lieber dunkel (dark) bock (6.4, 19) and a Dry Fly gin barrel-aged Citrus Fruited Imperial IPA (8.2, 90).
Save the date
Bellwether’s biweekly Year of the Sainted Brewers series continues Thursday with a wine barrel-fermented spelt beer, in conjunction with The Grain Shed, honoring St. Lawrence, patron saint of maltsters.
The “Sorry For Party Rocking” party at Post Falls Brewing on Friday and Saturday will include new beer releases, live music and food vendors.
Badass Backyard celebrates its third anniversary starting Sunday with seven days of beer releases and activities see the brewery’s Facebook page for details.
Silver Mountain’s 25th annual Brewsfest on Aug. 18 will feature 22 breweries, eight cideries and three bands. Tickets are $34.93 in advance at www.silvermt.com, $40.23 at the gate.
For more local craft beer event listings, see www.spokane7.com/ontap.
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Queen of the Food Age
Chucktown Tavern is my favorite bar in Charleston. Hands down. Where else in Charleston can you get a Trashcan? No where. So go order one. I’m not going to tell you what it is, this is something you need to learn for yourself. I know Chucktown Tavern’s not for everyone–it’s far from hipster, there’s karaoke every night, and they close early on Saturday nights–but it has its own special kind of charm that I hold dear to my heart. Sometimes I forget that most of the bars I frequent at night are actually restaurants during the day. I’ve been going to Chucktown Tavern for over 2 years now, and I’d never eaten there before this week. I honestly didn’t even realize they served food.
They do serve up some delicious karaoke, though.
When we arrived, we grabbed a menu clipboard and silverware from a stand at the door and seated ourselves at a booth with a nice view of the TV. The bartender came by to take our drink orders within 2 minutes of when we sat down, which was nice. The menu is very straightforward and unpretentious, nothing fancy or frou-frou about it, which is kind of refreshing for downtown Charleston. We started with an order of the black bean cakes, which were absolutely delicious. Ben was a little iffy at first, because they look like slabs of asphalt (I mean, it’s a black bean cake. It’s hard to make it look pretty), but he ended up loving them. They’re made with black beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, and peppers, and a little bit of flour, pan fried, and topped with a sour cream sauce and served with a side of pico de gallo and jalapeño pepper slices. This was my favorite dish out of everything we ordered–they were soooo good.
I know it doesn’t look it, but it is damn delicious.
Ben was feeling kind of boring, so instead of trying one of their signature stuffed burgers, he opted for an old fashioned 1/3 lb burger topped with cheddar cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onions, and mayo, served with a side of house cut fries and homemade coleslaw. As soon as he took a bite, he started making those noises people make when they really like the food they’re eating. He kept mumbling “this is so good,” but with his mouth full of burger, so it sounded more like “threfsj irskds srrrr grsiodbfdl.”
“ERMAHGERD THERS BERGER ERS DERLERCERS” -Ben
I’m more adventurous, so I ordered the Swamp Fox burger, a 1/2lb angus beef burger stuffed with chili, cheddar cheese, and bacon, topped with lettuce, tomato, mayo, and homemade coleslaw, served with a side of fries and even more coleslaw. It was divine. Seriously. I never end up finishing an entire burger at a restaurant, let alone a 1/2lb burger stuffed with chili and bacon, but I definitely finished this burger (even though it started to fall apart at the end and I had to finish eating it with a fork, like a barbarian). The chili definitely tasted homemade and had hints of chorizo sausage in it, which I really liked. The meat was really well seasoned and would have been tasty on its own. I think the coleslaw was a really great addition to the burger, as it was made with vinegar (rather than mayo), and gave the burger an extra level of freshness.
The only thing we weren’t really crazy about were the fries. They were definitely hand cut and fresh, but they seemed to me to be a bit overcooked and lacked the fluffy interior one has come to expect from this national staple. In the future, I’ll probably replace the fries with something else on their delicious list of side items, like the mac and cheese….which I totally ordered. (I mean, you had to have known I was going to order it. I order mac and cheese LITERALLY every time it’s on a menu. I’m a sucker) So I ordered the side of macaroni and cheese and I absolutely loved it. It was creamy (rather than baked), and tasted like they made it fresh the second I ordered it. You can definitely tell it’s made with real cheddar cheese and fresh cream. It was basic and extraordinary all at the same time. It’s probably my favorite mac and cheese in Charleston (other than KSG’s mac and cheese eggrolls which are something of a religious experience).
Cheesy nectar of the Gods
They didn’t really have a huge dessert selection (only 3 options), so we chose to skip dessert and opt for the check (which was relatively cheap considering all the food we got). I have to say I couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised with the entire experience. We had a delicious meal that made me feel like I was eating dinner at my friend’s grandmother’s house (I’d say my grandmother, but they’re both horrible cooks). Everything was fresh and delicious, and made with a certain amount of love and care, which I think is really makes a difference in the food.
159 Market Street
Charleston, SC 29401
Brewing will take place in the building’s former boiler room, which is down the hall from the brewery. The space is a bit different from the typical brewery layout, but Grosse, a resident of the building, said he and his friends were committed to making it work, even if it meant spreading the operation into three spaces. (A third room will house a cooler for their kegs.)
The brewers promise a wide variety of beer, from English to American to Belgian styles. They said there will be a matrix of styles available at all times, but that specific beers will rotate frequently.
“We want to be that brewery where every time you come in there are one or two beers on tap that you haven’t had yet,” Grosse said.
The partners, who are all firmly in their mid-20s, said their brewing equipment should arrive sometime in March, which would easily facilitate a summer opening.
3. Frothy Beard BrewingFrothy Beard Brewing
Three good buddies started Frothy Beard Brewing in 2013, and haven’t looked back since. Relocating to a bigger, more capable facility in 2017 they have gained quite a bit of press and attention from the locals.
Their beers have a nice variety from light to dark, something for every type of beer drinker. Anything from a good sour beer, to a dark porter for the fall. And of course, everything in between! If you’re brave enough, try their Sweater Weather on Nitro, it is the perfect pumpkin spice blend to spice up your fall day.
With Zombie Bob’s Pizza thrown in the mix, this taproom is sure to leave your belly full and satisfied. They even use a beer: Back From the Dead Porter from Frothy Beard Brewing in their super top-secret sourdough recipe for the crust of the pizzas. This is all the information I could find about this pizza dough, so they’re doing a good job at keeping the recipe top-secret.
This group of friends knows how to serve great beer and pizza, at an affordable price. What more could you ask for from a hometown brew!
SC on Tap: Brewpubs Serve Up Tasty Suds and GrubThe biggest thing brewing across the state these days is the explosion of brewpubs.
Known as a pioneer in the craft-brewery phenomenon sweeping across the United States, South Carolina features more than 60 breweries&mdashwith more on the way. But the innovation doesn&rsquot stop at great beer. The biggest thing brewing across the state these days is the explosion of brewpubs. Serving up in-house suds along with dishes that range from wood-fired pizza to Southern specialties, these packed houses roll brewery, bar and restaurant into one.
Southern Barrel Brewing Co., BlufftonWhat sets Southern Barrel apart is the tavern’s bar and decor, meticulously crafted with reclaimed wood from a Pennsylvania barn dating back to 1700.
The folks at SBB have won medals for their lager, milk stout, Belgian-style wheat and saison beers. Also tasty are their flagship Damn Yankee IPA, weekly small-batch launches, and killer burgers and wings. But what sets Southern Barrel apart is the tavern&rsquos bar and decor, meticulously crafted with reclaimed wood from a Pennsylvania barn dating back to 1700.
Edmund&rsquos Oast Brewing Co., CharlestonThe brewpub offers a dozen signature beers on tap.
This popular brewer produces beers in cans, bottles and kegs in its 20,000-square-foot brewery, and the brewpub offers a dozen signature beers on tap. However, the shining star may be the food. House-made charcuterie and smoked hot dogs and bacon, creative wood-fired pizzas, homemade ice cream and a robust Sunday brunch set the culinary bar for brewpub grub.
Quigley&rsquos Pint & Plate, Pawleys IslandVeteran brewmaster (and co-owner) Josh Quigley stands behind his traditional beers.
While trendy beers and flavor extremes seem to be the norm, veteran brewmaster (and co-owner) Josh Quigley stands behind his traditional beers. Among the six staples on tap all the time and several rotating seasonals, visitors won&rsquot find avant-garde sours or hard-core IPAs. What they will find is Lowcountry comfort food along with freshly brewed ales and lagers in an English pub atmosphere.
Southern Hops Brewing Company, FlorenceSouthern Hops is now a playground for adults, with six house craft brews, limited-release one-offs and 16 craft beer guest taps.
Situated on family land that was converted into a children&rsquos playground in the 1960s, the beer garden at Southern Hops Brewing Company is now a playground for adults, with six house craft brews, limited-release one-offs and 16 craft beer guest taps. The beers are paired with menu items highlighting local ingredients, like honey in the pizza and South Carolina shrimp in the blackened po&rsquo boy and Lowcountry burrito.
Hunter-Gatherer Brewery, Columbia
One of the oldest and most authentic brewpubs in the state, Hunter-Gatherer makes beer with classic English yeast strains and maltings, fermented in wooden casks made by the only master cooper in the UK, and handcrafted by the original brewmaster since it opened in 1995. Serving up a full menu at the downtown location and a smaller selection at the historic and hip Curtiss-Wright Hangar, HG remains the godfather of South Carolina brewpubs.
Old Mill Brewpub, LexingtonOld Mill Brewpub has a menu of classic brewpub grub.
Located in the original 1890 mill that housed the Lexington Manufacturing Company until the 1960s, Old Mill Brewpub is now part of a revitalized shopping and dining hub. Featuring a half-dozen of its own handcrafted beers, upwards of 20 guest beers on draft, dozens of bottled beers from around the world and a menu of classic brewpub grub, Old Mill keeps Lexington history alive.
Aiken Brewing Company, Aiken
Located in Aiken&rsquos circa-1800 feed-and-seed market, ABC is a perennial award-winner for brewed beers, tying for first among South Carolina beer producers. The two-pound, four-patty Big Daddy burger (served with a half-pound of beer-brined fries) and Carolina Q baby-back ribs, along with the convivial patio and beer garden, are notable favorites at this local gathering spot.
Good Times Brewing, GreenwoodGood Times lives up to its namesake with good pizza, good beer and good company.
What started with a love of brick ovens&mdashincluding building one from scratch&mdashhas morphed into a pizza restaurant focusing on build-your-own and specialty pies, and a brewery sidecar of more than a dozen traditional, sea sonal and local-ingredient brews. Now occupying three historic buildings in down town Greenwood, Good Times lives up to its namesake with good pizza, good beer and good company.
Legal Remedy Brewing Co., Rock HillLegal Remedy Brewing Co. has tap list of more than 20 beers brewed in-house.
Despite a tap list of more than 20 beers brewed in-house &mdashthey even brew their own root beer&mdashand a menu of meats smoked on-site, this converted car dealership wows visitors even more with its architecture. Three solar arrays on the front patio shade the outdoor communal space while providing alternative power for the brewpub&mdashturning sunshine into beer.
Ciclops Cyderi & Brewery, SpartanburgThe food menu at Ciclops is paired to each pint.
The state&rsquos first brewery, cidery and winery, Ciclops is all about &ldquomaking absurd the norm&rdquo by brewing classic German beers, dry-hopping brews with waffles and baseball bats, fashioning flavors using local ingredients (think coffee roasters and lavender farms), and creating ciders with flavors from around the world. Add a food menu paired to each pint, and the absurd starts making sense.
A Beer Drinker’s Guide to Charleston
Even if you’re looking for it, it’s easy to miss House of Brews . The converted former house in Mount Pleasant, east of downtown Charleston just before the bridge to Sullivan’s Island, doesn’t exactly look like a beer-drinker’s paradise—but that’s kind of on purpose. “We always liked the idea of a house party with good beer,” says Rob Davis, who opened House of Brews in 2011 with his wife, Bree, after they converted the home’s kitchen into a small bar and the bedrooms into dry storage for a selection of bottles and cans for sale. Today visitors to House of Brews can peruse more than seven hundred bottles, or relax in the backyard with a pint of one of the eight beers on draft. Soon, the Davises will open a second location in the West Ashley neighborhood, west of downtown across the Ashley River, their success mirroring the explosion of craft beer in Charleston at large. “When I opened, there were four local breweries,” Davis says. “We’ve got more than thirty now.” Here, Davis expands on six stops to get newcomers started on a sudsy tour of the Holy City.
1250 2nd Street N, North Charleston
Coast Brewing , located on a former naval base in North Charleston just minutes from downtown, reigns as one of the area’s longest-running locally owned beer operations and tops Davis’s must-visit list.
Davis’s Picks: “Coast’s kolsch, the 32°/50°, is the beach beer—light, clean, and easy-drinking.” Davis also recommends the Dead Arm pale ale and Coast’s new Hefeweizen, which is so popular he can hardly keep it in stock. “They’re refreshing, with a little bit lower ABV so you can drink more than a couple.” Coast brews their Bull’s Bay Oyster Stout, a standout Davis recommends trying any time it’s on tap, with local oyster clusters. “They’ll throw ‘em right in the tank—shell and oyster. It helps keep it a little bit lighter and a little bit thinner, and you get that nice Charleston salt mixed in with that roasty chocolate flavor.”
Carolina Chicken and Rice Porridge
Edmund’s Oast could have been a very good beer garden. Owners Rich Carley and Scott Shor are the knowledgeable duo behind Charleston, South Carolina’s beloved Charleston Beer Exchange, and early reports suggested that their new establishment might become the Holy City’s go-to spot for craft brews on tap.
Then, new information began to trickle out from behind the double doors of the old car dealership on Morrison Drive. Carley and Shor hired Jayce McConnell, an award-winning bartender who had overseen a library of tinctures, bitters, and infusions at Oxford, Mississippi restaurant Snackbar. They brought in chef Andy Henderson, who had earned his reputation working with Mike Lata at Charleston’s FIG and burnished it with a stint as chef de cuisine at Local Mission Eatery, a farm-to-table spot in San Francisco.
Yes, Edmund’s offers forty-some beers on tap, many exotic and hard-to-find. But add small-batch sodas from the local Cannonborough Beverage Company, cheese plates curated by downtown shop goat.sheep.cow, an on-site brewery stocked with state-of-the-art equipment, and an ambitious charcuterie program, and the result is an all-things-to-all-people culinary hub that feels like a summation of Charleston’s flourishing food scene.
And despite the growing buzz around the restaurant, the obsessives in charge intend to keep it gimmick-free. Henderson, for example, helped to design the wide-open kitchen, where diners can observe every cut, sauté, and simmer. “That’s no accident,” he says. “We don’t want to hide anything.” Dishes such as his dead-simple chicken porridge, made with Carolina Gold rice, local poultry, and a topping of crab or shrimp, showcase an unselfconscious approach to farm-to-table food that’s surprisingly easy to replicate at home.
Waterville building owner envisions microbrewery, nightclub
A Boston man is looking for a partner to help him develop the former Ken-A-Set building.
WATERVILLE — A Massachusetts man who has traveled to Waterville for 15 years as part of his Boston business says he hopes to transform the former Ken-A-Set building downtown into a microbrewery, sports bar and restaurant on the first floor and a nightclub on the second floor.
Mark McLeod, 49, of Wilmington, Massachusetts, owner of Boston Eye Design, bought the building at 1 College Ave. several weeks ago and is looking for a partner on the project. The two-story brick building, which is next to the Central Fire Station, has been empty for more than a year.
“I hope to find a partner who is already operating a microbrewery and looking to expand,” McLeod said Wednesday in a phone interview. “With the town doing all the renovation with Colby College, I think it’s an ideal time and an ideal place to make this happen. I think the time has come for Waterville to be revamped. Hopefully, I can be part of it.”
McLeod visits Waterville frequently and has attended meetings with those planning the city’s downtown revitalization. He is working with Garvan Donegan, senior economic development specialist for Central Maine Growth Council, on his plans. Donegan said Wednesday that McLeod is energetic, enthusiastic and determined.
“We’re working with him very closely and I think he’s going to be a wonderful community member,” Donegan said. “He is quite excited about contributing to downtown revitalization.”
Mayor Nick Isgro said Thursday that he has met McLeod and said his plans are a sign of the effects of Colby College’s plans for downtown. The college has bought several buildings and has extensive plans for retail and residential space.
“Having talked to Mark, he is one of the best examples we have of somebody who truly comes from outside of Waterville and has seen what’s going on and has realized the potential of what’s happening right now in our downtown,” Isgro said. “And I think this also reiterates just how far-reaching Colby’s investments are in attracting other investment in the city. There’s a lot of people who are investing right now and if you talk to any of them, what has spurred it is this incredible partnership going on and Colby’s investments.”
City public safety officials said Thursday they hadn’t heard about the project, but said they’d expect issues of parking, traffic and fire codes related to having a nightclub and pub addressed.
‘AN IDEAL PLACE’
McLeod manufactures and designs his own brand of eyewear, travels around New England as part of his work and has field representatives in Georgia, Alabama and the Carolinas, he said. He fell in love with Waterville and its people long ago and had his eye on the Ken-A-Set building. When the price was right, he bought it.
Ken-A-Set housed a thrift store in the building for many years before closing it in February 2015 and moving it to Pittsfield. Run by Skills Inc. of St. Albans, Ken-A-Set is a nonprofit organization that helps adults with intellectual disabilities and other challenges. The Ervin Center day program that was at the site also moved last year to the former Social Security Administration building on Front Street in Waterville.
Built in 1900, the building formerly housed a Studebaker car sales business and at one time had a bowling alley on the second floor. The building has about 8,000 square feet on the first floor, 5,000 square feet on the second and about 7,000 square feet in the basement, according to Donegan.
McLeod said he plans to move with his family to the area, his business is growing and expanding, and he also wants to start a construction company in Maine.
“I think it’s an ideal place,” he said, adding that he lives outside Boston and is tired of the daily rush of traffic and harried atmosphere.
“I love that old small-town feel and you have the lakes region and Sugarloaf,” he said.
PARKING, PROXIMITY TO FIRE STATION
Donegan said he doesn’t see an problem with parking for the project, or its proximity to the fire station. There are parking spaces and space for a small truck delivery in back of the building, and downtown is expected to have a street parking management system in place as part of revitalization, Donegan said.
Officials have been working on a downtown traffic study and are expected to release findings and a plan soon. The goal, Donegan said, is to get people parking in designated spots and walking. The area of the Ken-A-Set building may be seen as the entrance or exit to downtown, depending on how traffic would flow, with Hathaway Creative Center on Water Street the other exit or entrance, he said.
“One of the good things about Waterville’s downtown, which we do discuss often, is scale,” he said. “It’s a great scale, not just to walk, but to effect change. I think when we look at other cities and urban centers and downtown areas, it’s not uncommon to have a fire or police department right next to food or accommodations. Portland has essential city services next to, in some cases, abutting restaurants and bars and retail and commercial.”
Waterville Fire Chief David LaFountain said Thursday that he had not heard about McLeod’s plans, but he believes parking would be an issue and the building would have to have a sprinkler system if more than 100 people were to assemble there, and that would represent a pretty sizable investment.
“I think it’s certainly unexpected to hear that,” LaFountain said of the proposal. “We would do everything we can to help the project, but out of the starting gate without knowing too much about it, he’s going to have issues with parking and he may have issues with code. Besides that, I’d say, ‘Welcome to the neighborhood.’ ”
Police Chief Joseph Massey said that while the intersection is busy, before he could comment on traffic or vehicle issues as they would relate to the project, he would have to know the project’s full scope, including whether the city makes any changes in traffic patterns. The city has been looking at possibly making Main Street two-way.
Colby College bought five buildings downtown and plans to tear down four starting in the next few weeks. They include the former Levine’s clothing store at 9 Main St., the former Waterville Hardware buildings at 14-20 Main and the former Elks building at 13-15 Appleton St., which would be replaced by parking. The former Hains building at 173 Main St. is slated to be redeveloped and the technology firm, Collaborative Consulting, will occupy the upper floors.
Colby also plans to build housing at the northeast corner of The Concourse downtown. A retail store would be on the ground floor of that building.
Colby officials are planning to partner with investors to develop various entities downtown including a possible boutique hotel, offices and retail businesses.
Along with Colby’s efforts, others have also made an investment in downtown buildings in the past year or so.
Bill Mitchell, who owns GHM Insurance, bought two historic buildings at 14-24 Common St. a year ago, and recently partnered with the Last Unicorn owners Fred and Amy Ouellette to open The Proper Pig in one of the buildings.
Next to the Hains building on Main Street, the former Atkins Printing buildings at 155-165 Main St., were bought recently by Thomas DePre and his sons, Thomas Jr. and Justin, who are renovating the buildings with plans for retail and offices.
In Charleston, Beer Gets Its Own Neighborhood
On tap in the city’s Brewery District: stouts, I.P.A.s, stewed oxtails, collard pizza — and a skatepark.
Charleston is nice — “the jewel of the Lowcountry,” a travel writer recently proclaimed. But can a place so nice become too precious? There’s a point on the third or fourth visit when the perfection and elegance of the “Holy City’s” streetscapes, its meticulously restored and uniformly classical houses, begin to close in on your brain’s right hemisphere.
You may find yourself craving a moment of weirdness, modernism or merengue. And with the real estate stakes so high — the median sale price of a home on the lower peninsula was over $850,000 in January — whimsy, experimentation and indolence seem to struggle for a foothold. The dazzling restaurant scene is so competitive, dining out on a Friday or Saturday can be as premeditated as a trip to the moon .
Those of us who live here may feel these limitations most acutely. Some recall a time in the last century when things were a little less battened-down, almost beachy, the pace decidedly slower. True, Charleston may have been even more formal and less sophisticated in many ways then — a Heineken and a platter of fried shrimp was the best you could hope for in the average restaurant — but Charleston fundamentally lived up to its billing as a hub of Southern adventure.
Fortunately, anyone — local or visitor alike — who chafes at Charleston’s stateliness and decorum today can find an instant remedy: its beer, served fresh from the tank in a largely industrial neighborhood two miles north of the city’s tourist center.
Here in “The Neck,” where seven breweries have opened within a short bike ride of each other in just the last three years, serendipity is celebrated, dogs and children are welcome, and you can come as you are. Rust, gravel and the occasional puddle of hydraulic fluid are all part of the scenery, and the soundtrack is guaranteed to be esoteric. The head brewer himself (yes, alas, they are all men currently ) is typically just a wolf-whistle away.
We recently set out to survey all seven new breweries, most of the food options, and a few of the entertainments in Charleston’s Brewery District, and can report that time spent here is refreshing in every sense of the word.
A perfect elevation for surveying the area is the observation deck at Sk8 Charleston, a $4.8 million, three-quarter-acre skatepark that the city opened in 2017, offering sweeping marsh and Ashley River views to those who aren’t dropping into the park’s two polished-concrete bowls. Employee-selected beats compete with the sound of skateboards chuck-clack-ing and the whoosh of Interstate 26 just to the east.
While Matt’s boys let out some excess energy at ground level, we sipped water on the deck and spotted ospreys and ibises working the huge expanse of spartina grass to the west. Alas, adult beverages are prohibited (sodas and snacks are sold, along with all manner of skate gear and apparel, in the store), but a spectator’s wrist band ($1) entitles you to come and go all day.
As a post-skate reward, Cooper River Brewing, a short walk away, is typical of the new Charleston brewery model, retrofitted into a charmless steel warehouse building, but with enough Adirondack chairs, picnic tables and string lights in the parking lot to say “beer garden.” Indoors, tanks and brewing activity are on full display, separated from the taproom by a wall of windows.
The bar (it’s technically a beer, wine and cider-only “taproom” a full liquor license requires another level of paperwork) has a sporty feel, with three TV screens blazing. Matt’s boys petted an old hound dog while we ordered pints from a list that aims to please every taste — a stout, porter, ESB (extra special bitter), India Pale Ale, a golden ale — without flourish or gimmick, except for their (delicious) Watermelon Wheat.
Like most breweries in the area, Cooper River offers a range of volumetric options, including the humane, sample-enabling, five-ounce pour for $2, but this time we claimed full pints of the I.P.A. and the Session Ale, and retreated to the outdoor picnic tables, closer to the barbecue. In the open loading dock of the brewery, facing the beer garden, Pat Nelson stood behind a card table with a banner proclaiming “Big Boned Barbecue,” and we ordered smoky-tender brisket evocative of West Texas ($11) and sausage ($5), with mac and cheese, cornbread and the fixings (onion, pickle slices, white bread).
Mr. Nelson, who moved here from Minnesota, offered that he could easily make more money setting up outside an office building at lunch time. “But I like the atmosphere and the pace better here, and there’s beer,” he said.
The earthy smell of low tide crept into the parking lot, reminding us that The Neck is named for the point where the peninsula narrows to only a mile’s width of dry land between the Ashley and Cooper Rivers. Inside the marsh-grass limits, the landscape is a burly hodgepodge of uses: The residential Rosemont, Four Mile and Silver Hill neighborhoods float like islands among rug cleaners, stone cutters, a cola bottler, auto repair shops and tattoo parlors, as well as the last vestiges of Charleston’s downtown seaport: the International Longshoreman’s union hall and marine rigging suppliers.
The salt-swept Magnolia Cemetery (dedicated 1850), its curving paths on the romantic, Frederick Law Olmsted model , is to the east. Cooper River Brewing, which shares the warehouse complex with a heating contractor, sits between a pretty cluster of houses, a small cemetery and a highway off-ramp.
The next day, we began our beer crawl with a hearty lunch at Martha Lou’s Kitchen, which has fed Charlestonians and tourists alike for over 30 years from its pink cinder-block building on Morrison Drive, well north of the city center but toward the south end of our focus.
To step into the restaurant is to enter a southern grandmother’s kitchen, with the pots in full view, bubbling at the back of the stove. After greetings — hugs all around with sisters Ruth Gadsden and Debra Worthy (the restaurant’s namesake, their mother, was home that day) — we placed our orders from the menu, which rotates slightly throughout the week. Ted paired fried, salty pork chops with lima beans and cabbage, studded with neck bone for Matt, red-pepper-spiked chitlins with yams and collards.
After lunch we stopped a few blocks away on Conroy Street, at Revelry Brewing, the southernmost brewery on our trail and one of the oldest (opened in late 2014). Here was the jolt of architectural eccentricity we craved, an improvised structure that looks like a few shipping containers crash-landed on top of a warehouse.
In the high-ceilinged taproom, which shares floor space with the tanks, a broken spinet piano is incorporated into the bar. And a wacky approach prevails on the beer bill, at least where the names are concerned: Funkmaster Brett (a Belgian I.P.A.), Poke the Bear (an American Pale Ale) and Peculiar Paradise (a golden saison) seem to hint at creative risks taken with yeasts and malts, though the extensive liner notes on each offering are beer-wonk reassuring. We took a swig or two for courage, because a two-story exterior iron staircase beckoned, leading to the rooftop bar.
When we finished the climb, we felt like we had crashed a college party, but were rewarded with a scene that felt like an open-air living room, with a propane fireplace roaring, a beer and wine bar with two bartenders (a couple of golden labradors, too) and a sweet view of the city’s bridges and steeples. For all the florid naming, the beers themselves seemed restrained, even polite, on the palate.
Turning back north up Morrison Drive, past Santi’s Mexican restaurant — another fixture of this neighborhood and a source for child-friendly enchiladas and quesadillas — we made our way to Munkle Brewing, among the few new-construction breweries on our list. Its windowless exterior says funeral home more than fun house, but inside, a man-cave atmosphere prevailed: small clusters of people playing pool or stroking their dogs behind the ears. Strangely, tanks are hidden from view.
Another quirk: beer is dispensed into 14-ounce thistle-shaped glasses, a nod to the brewery’s inspiration, Belgium. Our bartender pulled a Gully Washer Wit and a Pout House Pale Ale ($5 each) from the white porcelain tower and we settled into rocking chairs on the outdoor porch, with a view of the train tracks and the sunset. A mobile, wood-fired pizza oven, Amanda Click’s First Name Basis, was parked nearby, and we split a thin, appealingly crisp “Collard Pie” (topped with Cheddar, red onion, mustard oil, and pancetta, $17).
Our glasses were half empty when a man in a baseball cap and fleece vest came over and introduced himself — he was Palmer Quimby, the owner. He’d worked in the bar business in Charleston for years, but eventually followed his dream into beer-making, opening Munkle (long story, but his uncle was once a monk) in late 2017. We asked him why Charleston was in the throes of a brewing renaissance.
Two major legislative changes, he explained . A bill passed in 2014 permitted beer to be sold alongside food and in virtually any format: kegs, cans, bottles, pint glasses. Seven years before that, it was the “Pop the Cap” law, which was championed by the Coast Brewing Co. co-owner Jaime Tenney, and fundamentally changed the business model for beer here. Before 2007, brewers had to keep alcohol levels at or below 6.3 percent (duh?!) and no one could imbibe on the premises.
“Everyone who has a beer bar, taproom or brewery in the entire state of South Carolina has Jaime to thank,” he said. (Coast Brewing and Holy City Brewing are first-wave microbreweries located in North Charleston, just north of the Brewery District Palmetto Brewing Co., the first in the region, is the southernmost site in the district.)
Less than 100 yards back down Meeting Street was Fatty’s Beer Works, which backs up to a cemetery. Fatty’s is pretty much any uncle’s dream: a two-door garage with an L-shaped bar, a drum kit and a bunch of tanks, next door to a tattoo parlor (Blu Gorilla). The five-ounce beers are $2.50, but the $10 flight of four makes a lot of sense, allowing you to survey almost everything on offer — a French saison, a porter, an I.P.A. and an ESB, all crisp and quaffable but with surprisingly subtle differences between the styles (well, the porter we could pick out of a lineup). Were our powers of discernment suffering from overexposure? We closed out and headed home.
The next afternoon, we headed up the King Street Extension, just north of the skate park, to Tradesman Brewing, the place with the broadest gravel parking lot and the homeliest affect: an unmarked steel big-box with a refrigerated trailer and four porta-potties parked outside. We spied a rusty fridge with tap handles fitted to it through the open roll-gate of the warehouse. At a card-table, a trio of 20-somethings were deep in a game of Clue.
We soon learned: Do not judge a brewery by its appearance the beers poured here — a double I.P.A. and a Boatwright (American pale), among five others — were riveting, with the heft and tropical curves we expected from a Charleston-made beer. Tradesman, it turns out, has been in the business since 2014, but moved to The Neck recently from James Island, a southern suburb.
Not all breweries we visited felt jury-rigged: Edmund’s Oast Brewing Co., the most ambitious brewery in the area, opened in September 2017 on a xeriscaped courtyard in a gleaming new office development that includes The Workshop, billed as Charleston’s first food hall (a pork belly banh mi from Pink Bellies, and the thali assortment at Sambar, are the choice options there.) Edmund’s, which is gearing up to ship its beers nationwide, has almost a half acre of production space, including a barrel-aging room exclusively for its sour, wild-fermented beers that is larger than most apartments in town.
The brewery’s full restaurant kitchen plays down as “pub fare” the excellent work they do, leaning heavily on their wood oven to bake veggie-forward flatbreads, fish, chicken wings and even gyros. With 20 taps, the beers run the full spectrum from sour to serious, and Edmund’s is hosting the first attempt at a collaboration among the different brewers in the district.
The next Thursday we passed through the lunch line at Bertha’s Kitchen , at the far northern end of The Neck, for meltingly tender platters of stewed oxtails and turkey wings served over rice, before heading to Lo-Fi Brewing nearby . We saved Lo-Fi for last. Embedded in a long-term construction zone for a new highway interchange, it shares its lot with a muddy tow pound. A vinyl sign the size of a cafeteria tray, flapping against a chain-link fence and a pallet of beer cans in the loading bay were the only indication we were in the right place.
When we walked into the open-sided hangar just before happy hour, Frank Zappa’s free-form “Andy” was blasting on large performance speakers, and Jason Caughman, the owner, puttered around looking for his phone. A rack of wooden barrels and a drum kit separated the tanks and equipment from an area of cement floor furnished with two long picnic tables. “Sorry, we just finished canning today,” he shouted, explaining the volume level. A woman in sparkly eye shadow was changing out tap handles behind the smallest beer bar we’d ever seen.
Over the next hour, we’d nurse a totally O.K. Mexican lager and a fruity New England I.P.A. called Jacuzzi, and watch as a party slowly engulfed us. Two sacks of oysters materialized, then some people with dogs, then more dogs and people, and Mr. Caughman took the wheel of the forklift to move pallets of kegs around, to create a wind break. Once the steamed oysters started hitting the table, we recharged our glasses, grabbed oyster knives and joined in.
Eventually Mr. Caughman, whose shoulder-length hair and gray-speckled beard suggests Jeff Bridges’s “The Dude,” gave up his labors and approached the shucking table, can of Jacuzzi in hand. We asked Mr. Caughman about his graphic design philosophy — the electric pinks and yellows, as well as the unicorns printed on his cans and kegs, that feel like a brazen retort to the muted greens and browns, the palmettos and Spanish moss of the classic Lowcountry landscape.
“Breweries are inherently laid back,” he said, pausing to take a swig. “What do you feel when you see a unicorn? It’s playful. That’s what Lo-Fi is shouting: relax and have fun.”
Matt Lee and Ted Lee’s latest project is a remastered edition of the 1966 “Graham Kerr Cookbook, by The Galloping Gourmet,” being published in May by Rizzoli.