Beerman for Aug. 9, 2012

For Weekly SurgeAugust 6, 2012 

Let’s all give a round of applause to the higher-ups at Green’s Discount Beverage.

The regional chain’s management has allowed our local branch, 2850 North Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach, to try a growler station. The Columbia store has had one for a while.

Typically, a growler is a re-usable 64-ounce jug filled with beer and sealed for transport, although Green’s has offered an additional option.

I had no clue about the growler station or additional option when I went to the store on July 27 to purchase some liquor.

As I was browsing, I realized someone was hollering at me. I spotted Tommy Johnson, beer manager at Green’s, who motioned for me to visit the brew side of the store.

After I bought the liquor (more on that in a minute), I walked around to the beer entrance where I found a brand-new growler station, not even 24-hours-old.

Johnson said the growler station had been installed on the previous evening, and as of the following afternoon, 10 growlers had already been sold.

The growler station is a fine, four-tap, shining, stainless-steel system, ready to pour.

Unless I’ve missed something, this is the third growler station in the area. Sure, you could get a growler filled at our local brewpubs, but the four-tap growler stations at Beach Discount Beverage, 2204 North Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach, and Piggly Wiggly, at The Market Common on the former Air Force base, provided beers from famous craft breweries outside our area. Often, one of the options have come from Myrtle Beach’s very own New South Brewing Co.

As Johnson showed me the whiteboard menu leaning against the growler station, I noticed something I hadn’t seen before: two prices for growlers. Each beer had a 64-ounce price, typical for growlers, but then there was a 32-ounce price, too. Green’s had growlers in both sizes.

Although this lineup could have changed by now, when I visited, the station had a 64-ounce growler of Founders IPA for $8.99 and a 32-ounce growler for $4.99. New South’s White Ale was on for $5.99 and $3.49. Bells Oberon Ale was $7.99 and $4.49. Victory Pils, $7.99 and $4.49.

Sure, I had just spent $70 next door in the liquor section, but this was research. I bought a 32-ounce Victory Pils. When I got home and poured it, I seemed to get a little more than two pints.

I liked the flexibility of buying a 32-ounce growler. Usually, my wife and daughters won’t help me polish off a 64-ounce growler, and drinking an entire one of that size by myself would create a special problem in my marriage: snoring. Thunderous, thunderous snoring.

Drinkin’ whiskey and rye

Before I was summoned to the Green’s growler station, I was hunting for some good liquor for my wife, who likes the flavor of bourbon but doesn’t agree so well with corn-based food and beverages.

A little Android-enabled research on Bushmills Irish Whiskey uncovered good news: It’s made from barley. No corn, and a cash price of $21.98 for 750 milliliters. Sold.

However, I wasn’t sure how much Kristi (my wife) would like Bushmills. So I thought about another option, Bulleit Rye American Whiskey, which a friend had shared with me not long ago.

Bulleit Rye boasts a 95-percent rye mash. This exceeds the American rye whiskey standards, which requires the mash to consist of at least 51 percent rye. Presumably, the balance could be corn, but in Bulleit’s case, it would be no more than 5 percent. Sold – a 750-milliliter bottle at a cash price of $26.98.

Kristi and I like both Bushmills and Bulleit, but all Irish jokes aside, the rye has more character.

I also picked up new-favorite vodka that day. More on that next time.

Westbrook hops again

I’ve previously written about White Thai from Westbrook Brewing Co. in Mount Pleasant. White Thai’s recipe depends upon an exotic hop called Sorachi Ace.

Now, Westbrook is brewing with another exotic hop, this one a “relatively new” varietal from New Zealand called Pacific Jade, according to the packaging.

Westbrook’s Pacific Jade brew is a rye pale ale with Pacific Jade hops. I agree with Westbrook’s label on this beer: The Pacific Jade hop “exhibits a bold citrus and black pepper aroma with a soft bitterness.” Not too peppery, though. Actually, the beer’s rye base makes it fairly mild and drinkable. Foodies who like craft beer will want to take note.

I found a one-pint, six-ounce bottle of Pacific Jade for $6.49 at Piggly Wiggly at The Market Common.

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