Meet Myrtle Beach’s new Beerman

For Weekly SurgeJuly 22, 2013 

So, Myrtle Beach, there's a new Beerman in town. Actually, I'm not that new at all - I’m a familiar face to many of you who have met me around town at beer dinners, beer fests, homebrew meetings, Brewing at the Beach - pretty much anywhere good beer is being poured you'll find me. My name is John "Jilly" Garner and I plan to bring you the good news of craft beer in Myrtle Beach. 

In my college days of the early ‘90s, I discovered a taste for flavorful beers such as Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Anchor Steam and Pete's Wicked Ale – a tiny selection compared with what's available today. A homebrew store opened in Raleigh and my roommate and I brewed several batches that ranged from mediocre to terrible. In 2009, I rediscovered craft beer and started homebrewing again.

The world of craft beer has changed dramatically since those early days - not only are there a ton of great beers available, but there’s also the staggering wealth of information that can be found online. During the 1990s and 2000s, homebrew forums such as HomebrewTalk.com and craft beer sites including BeerAdvocate.com and RateBeer.com popped up - bringing together a community of homebrewers and beer enthusiasts.  

I launched MyrtleBeachCraftBeer.com in 2009 in an effort to find other like-minded people in Myrtle Beach who were tired of having little to no choice when reaching for a beer in a local store, bar or restaurant. Local homebrewers were some of the first responders and the homebrew group MASH was formed. 

The state of craft beer in Myrtle Beach and South Carolina as a whole is getting better with each passing month. We have the most variety that we've ever enjoyed and the crowds who show up for beer dinners and festivals is the highest it's ever been - and continues to grow with each event. I'm excited to be able to bring you the good news - and hope you'll join me for the ride.

Brews-a-Palooza II

The Myrtle Beach Beer Fest folks brought us their summer event - the 2nd Annual Brews-a-Palooza on Saturday (July 20) at the House of Blues. Beer tables were set up on the back patio (The Deck) offering 4-ounce pours for $1 & $2 tickets from regional and national craft breweries. Live music, comfortable surroundings and mild weather made this a great afternoon for local beer enthusiasts.

After getting my tasting glass and tickets, I checked out the selection and opted for the Sweetwater Exodus Porter – a tasty, roasty porter that went down smoothly. I then made my way over to the high gravity table, manned by festival organizer, Mike Shank of Festival Promotions. He poured me a Green Flash Grand Cru, a Belgian Strong Dark Ale clocking in at 9.1 percent ABV. I followed that up with a favorite of mine – Sublimely Self-Righteous from Stone Brewing – a big, dark, hoppy black ale. The samples were priced so festival-goers could taste the majority of the beers being poured without breaking the bank. Other standouts were Timber Beast Double IPA from Lazy Magnolia and Wilco Tango Foxtrot from Lagunitas.

Jacki Giardina, Booking and Promotions Director at HOB and The Deck said, “We are excited to be a part of the craft beer scene in Myrtle Beach. By hosting Brews-a-Palooza and the Myrtle Beach Beer Fest, we’ve been able to bring the craft beer crowd to HOB and now we keep good beer on hand at all times in our Beer Lagoon – festival or not.”

We can definitely look forward to more craft beer-related events at the House of Blues in the future.

Greenville brewery opening has Myrtle Beach ties

Quest Brewing's Don Richardson and Andrew Watts opened their doors on July 13 and poured their flagship beers to the crowd gathered for the brewery’s Grand Opening. Quest Brewing is the first new brewery to open in Greenville in 15 years. And while the brewery may be new, Brewmaster Richardson has been in the craft beer business for 20 years and has brewed for established breweries such as Boulder Brewing of Colorado and Cottonwood Brewing of North Carolina. 

Quest may be smaller than its cross-town competitors Thomas Creek Brewing, but what it lacks in size is easily made up for with the brewery’s beautiful space, delicious beer and polished image. Taking full advantage of the benefits of the new S.C. Pint Law, Richardson and Watts have built a beautiful tasting room adorned with modern furnishings and decor.

On tap for the grand opening were four outstanding beers - Kaldi Imperial Coffee Stout, Smoking Mirror Smoked Porter, Ellida IPA and Golden Fleece Belgian Pale Ale. A special keg of Bourbon Barrel-Aged Ellida IPA was also poured for the event. The Kaldi is an amazing coffee stout with almost no bitterness and a smooth mocha aftertaste that I couldn’t get enough of. I tried all Quests beers and purchased a few growlers - hustling them out to my waiting cooler before the crowd surged in the tasting room. 

Brewmaster Richardson has ties to Myrtle Beach. He is a close friend and former colleague of New South Brewing’s owner Dave Epstein. The two brewed together at Boulder Brewing of Boulder, Colo. The brew house at Quest also contains a stainless steel fermentation 10-barrel tank purchased from New South.

“Don and I go back a long way. He’s a great guy and I’m very happy for him. He’s definitely a brewer at heart and I know he’s got the skills to succeed,” said David Epstein of New South Brewing.

Quest Brewing's beers are available on draft in select spots in Greenville and hopefully we'll see some here at the beach in the near future. If you find yourself in the Upstate, you should definitely go on a quest for Quest. For more info, go to QuestBrewing.com.

Contact John Garner at MBCraftBeer@gmail.com and visit him www.facebook.com/TheNewBeerman

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