Beerman for Nov. 29, 2012

Beer Fest on the move

For Weekly SurgeNovember 26, 2012 

The 5th annual Myrtle Beach Beer Fest, scheduled for March 29-30, will take place at House of Blues in North Myrtle Beach.

The event is departing from Valor Park at The Market Common in Myrtle Beach, site to the first four Beer Fests.

Mike Shank of Festival Promotions, the fest organizer, said the House of Blues will offer at least three things.

First, HOB has a unique environment. Second, the festival can’t be rained out (some of the outdoor sections of the venue are covered, unlike Valor Park).

Third, HOB already has an integrated ticket system. That way, the fest can have a single ticket for general admission, Shank said.

“Having it at the House of Blues and selling tickets will allow me to know exactly how many people to expect and, in turn, help with quantities of beer,” Shank wrote me in an e-mail.

Along those lines, early ticket purchases have been incentivized. Tickets were scheduled to go on sale Tuesday (Nov. 27), and the earlier the purchase, the better the deal. Until Dec. 31, a general admission ticket will cost $35, with a T-shirt thrown in. Admission includes unlimited samples of more than 100 beers, plus live entertainment.

Ticket buyers will choose from one of three sessions: 5-9 p.m. on March 29, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on March 30, and 4-8 p.m. on March 30.

Ticket prices go to $40 Jan. 1-March 28, with no T-shirt. During the fest, general admission tickets will be $45 each.

Shank has also set up a VIP ticket, which will include exclusive beer samples, a buffet, preferred parking and a T-shirt.

Through Friday (Nov. 30), VIP tickets will be $60 each. During December, they go to $70, and after that, until Mach 28, $80. No VIP tickets will be sold on fest days.

Tapping Goose Island

Beers from the acclaimed Goose Island Beer Co. of Chicago will begin appearing on local taps any day now – and may already be at your favorite craft-beer bar.

Goose Island’s 312 Urban Wheat, Honker’s Ale, IPA, and Mild Winter will be available in draft, said Shank, who is also craft-beer guru at the local distributer Better Brands Inc.

For six-packs, however, we’ll have to wait until March 4, Shank said.

Engraved bottles at Owens

On Friday (Nov. 30), Owens Liquors is offering a chance for you to get someone a one-of-a-kind gift. Really.

From 3:30-7 p.m., Owens will offer free engraving on bottles of Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select bourbon ($56.99), Jack Daniel’s Gentleman Jack whiskey ($47.99), or Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel ($55.99).

The announcement from Owens included a photo with “The Smith Family” engraved on the front of a bottle of Woodford Reserve, and “Welcome to your new home!” on the back.

You can engrave mine, “To Colin – best drinker, ever.”

Miller Lite fails better

For craft-beer drinkers, this can be a challenging time of year.

One of two things will happen.

Situation 1: You will go to a relative’s house, and he or she proudly will offer a massive ice chest full of Natural Light. You will fake a smile and wonder how long the visit will last.

Situation 2: You will host a family gathering, but you know several family members will never, ever, go for a Samuel Adams Dark Depths Baltic IPA. They would gawk at the long title and tease you about it for hours.

Well, I recently discovered some compromises for circumstances similar to Situation 2. Many Burches and affiliated tribes gathered in an Atlanta suburb for Thanksgiving, and my responsibility was to bring the beer.

I hadn’t seen my people in a long time, so I wasn’t sure what they’d drink. I had to bring a mix of options. I didn’t want to force craft beer on people who wanted something mainstream and safe.

What to do?

I think my experience might be able to help you make a reasonable decision if you’re stuck in similar circumstances.

First, some of the bigger brewers have decent beers with mass-appeal market. Blue Moon Belgian White Ale, produced by Coors Brewing Co., has modest connoisseur respectability, and it was well-received at our Thanksgiving get-together.

Second, and can help you negotiate tough decisions by giving you tasting notes and opinions from experts as well as enthusiasts.

For example, I knew that some of my tribe probably would want to drink light beers. On, I compared ratings for Bud Light, Natural Light, and Miller Lite. All three received failing grades, but Miller Lite failed with the highest numerical score. So we added Miller Lite to the offerings, and it proved suitable for the occasion.

Contact Colin Burch at and visit his blog at

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