from the editor’s desk

From the editor’s desk for March 14, 2013

March 13, 2013 

Murphy’s Law redemption

It was the best-laid plan of mice and faux Irishmen…

I’d seen the Irish Heritage 18-pack – Guinness, Harp and Smithwick’s, I believe – displayed prominently at Costco in Myrtle Beach for months.

I think I even put it in my shopping cart once, but then put it back.

I thought, heck, I’ll wait until closer to St. Patrick’s Day to purchase this because there’s no way an 18-pack of specialty brews is going to last until then in my house.

Well, St. Patrick’s Day is soon upon us (It’s Sunday if you’re Celtic-challenged), and last night after work I headed over to Costco on a quest to land me one of those Irish Heritage beer boxes.

Much to my chagrin, there were none to be found.

So, I did what any self-respecting beer-quester (that’s entirely different from the government’s sequester) would do: instead I bought the Samuel Adams Spring Thaw 24-pack which includes the Boston brewery’s take on an Irish Red. I’m a sucker for the variety packages of brews, but alas, an Irish brew is ultimately what I was after.

And now that I think about it, I’m kind of glad the Irish Heritage pack wasn’t available, because I’ve had plenty of those brands before, especially Guinness and Harp.

Meanwhile, a few weeks ago I began pondering St. Patrick’s Day story ideas – we’d previously taken a look at the spread of Irish culture along the Grand Strand, and we’d looked at the trend of Irish cuisine upping its gourmet game. What we’re not going to do – like other publications – is simply do a story on St. Patrick’s Day parties, events and festivals. That’s been done to death.

Besides corned beef and cabbage and Irish folk songs – what else is our Americanized version of St. Patrick’s Day associated with? Oh yes, that Godly combination of barley and hops we call beer.

And when we think of St. Patrick’s Day beer, most likely Guinness, and maybe Harp (both high quality choices), come to mind, along with the inevitable light lagers spiked with the green food dye.

The more discerning beer consumer probably knows about Smithwick’s, too (also good).

But what about some REAL Irish brews? What else is out there, and with the explosion of craft brew options along our little slice of Carolina coast, what’s available to the St. Paddy’s revelers who want to branch out and expand their beer portfolios?

Luckily, we have a resident libations expert on hand and I asked him if he’d be interested in exploring the under-the-radar options for Irish brews that we can get our hands on, and he took the challenge head-on, seeking and sampling an array of styles and tastes, tracking down local micro-brewers, and going the extra mile by also recommending Irish tunes to accompany your beverages as you pay respects to the Emerald Isle’s patron saint.

Colin “The Beerman” Burch reports in this week’s cover story (think of it is a greatly expanded version of his biweekly Beerman column) that it wasn’t as easy as it may sound – but you can read the results of his Celtic scavenger hunt on our homepage.

And then this weekend, if you’re out and about at the Irish Fest at the Market Common, the Downtown Myrtle Beach St. Patrick’s Day Celebration on Ocean Boulevard or the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival on Main Street in North Myrtle Beach – you can impress your friends with your knowledge of Irish beer choices that go beyond the ordinary.

Also, a thank you goes out to Michael Byrd, the general manager of The Piggly Wiggly at the Market Common which is a veritable craft brew playground, who let us goof around and shoot photos of Burch pillaging his store’s grog supply.

Erin go brew!

Kent Kimes, Editor

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