Myrtle Beach craft brewer unveils White Pale Ale

For Weekly SurgeMay 28, 2013 

The new White Pale Ale from Myrtle Beach is going to be hit.

New South Brewing Co. of Myrtle Beach will release kegs of its newest beer to bars and restaurants within the next week or so.

At a recent private party at the brewery, New South owner Dave Epstein described the White Pale Ale as a blend of the American white ale and American pale ale styles.

For this recipe, he added a little more orange peel than what normally goes into New South’s signature White Ale, and he dry-hopped with Cascade hops for an added citrus taste.

This beer is about 5 percent alcohol by volume, said New South brewing chief Brock Kurtzman.

I thought the White Pale Ale tasted fantastic. The citrus flavors are just right, neither overbearing nor subtle. With low alcohol content, this will be a good one for drinking in the summer months.

The White Pale Ale probably won’t last all summer. Epstein said he made only one batch of this beer and doesn’t expect it to last through July. If it’s popular enough, it could even run out in June.

So keep your eyes open for New South’s White Pale Ale at your favorite craft-beer watering hole. You’ll want seconds. I did.

Meanwhile, New South is preparing for the arrival of a new 60-barrel tank. A barrel holds 31 gallons, or two full-sized kegs. Right now, one 80-barrel tank and a few 40-barrel tanks do the work of the brewery. Epstein said demand for beer last summer was high and consistent enough to necessitate the new tank.

Carolina breweries on Top 25 list

Three Carolina breweries have made the “25 Breweries to Watch in 2013” list at FirstWeFeast.com, a Web site for foodies.

Mother Earth Brewing of Kinston, N.C., was No. 24 on the list. “Get Mother Earth’s seasonal and limited releases any way you can,” FirstWeFeast.com said. “The barrel-aged Tripel Overhead is phenomenal, and Silent Night is one of the best imperial stouts in the country right now.”

Westbrook Brewing of Mount Pleasant was No. 11. The site encouraged readers to try Westbrook’s White Thai: “The White Thai lends a Belgian-style witbier some Southeast Asia flavor with the addition of fresh lemongrass, ginger root, and lemony Sorachi Ace hops.”

First-place on the list went to Wicked Weed Brewing of Asheville, N.C. Apparently, Henry VIII once called the hop plant a “wicked and pernicious weed,” thus, the brewery’s name. Wicked Weed’s must-try beer, the Web site said, is “The Freak, a marijuana-stinky double IPA in the West Coast tradition.”

Asheville. Go figure.

Give ‘em what they want?

What do you make of brewing experiments? New South is onto something delicious and relatively safe: the White Pale Ale blends two compatible styles.

But then other microbreweries, such as Rogue Brewing in Oregon, have tried outrageous concoctions like VooDoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale.

I think there’s an inherent contradiction within research and development efforts, even such efforts at a brewery.

If a business can’t give its customers what they want, the business cannot survive.

Customers know what they want – to a point.

One way to find out what customers want is to hold a focus group or to conduct a customer survey.

That’s great for refining what the business (and the related market) already provides, but not helpful when it comes to expanding a company’s product line.

For example, a focus group never would have created the iPod.

I mean, maybe, just maybe a focus group could have created the iPod, in the sense that a bunch of monkeys pounding on typewriters might just eventually produce the complete works of Shakespeare.

But most businesses don’t have an infinite amount of open-ended time – or an infinite amount of paper.

There’s no way a focus group could have invented the Harry Potter series or “The Lord of the Rings.” Those are works of individual imaginations.

So looking back on my time in a newspaper newsroom, I think focus groups might have helped with things like nationally syndicated columns and cartoons, but not so much with local news. After all, the local news experts ought to be the reporters and editors.

Oddly enough, this has everything to do with beer. I started thinking about the beer business and the risk of new recipes when I saw a photo of Rogue Brewing Co.’s Hazelnut Brown Nectar just before writing this column.

The weird flavors and the experimental brews might be risky, but the brewers are the ones who know how to experiment with flavors and how to take calculated, educated risks with grains, hops, yeast, and water.

Contact Colin Burch at beerpour@yahoo.com and visit his blog at http://maltyhops.blogspot.com.

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