Hopping around at Myrtle Beach area craft beer bonanzas

For Weekly SurgeNovember 12, 2013 

John “Jilly” Garner. Courtesy photo.

After spending the afternoon at a parenting class with my very pregnant wife and several pregnant women and their significant others, I was definitely ready for a beer. Besides mother’s milk, there’s no other beverage that has impacted human existence quite like beer has. So, we embarked on an evening of beer events that I had been looking forward to all week. First up we hit the Craftyfest 2013, followed by the 15th anniversary party for New South Brewing Co., both going down on Saturday (Nov. 9).

This year, the Crafty Rooster moved the location of the festival from the farmer’s market behind the bar and grill to the Lower River Warehouse on the Waccamaw River. The larger space and picturesque river setting definitely added to the enjoyment of the event. At the front of the building, Steven Riddei and Joshua Austin from MASH were giving a homebrew demonstration. I got to enjoy a mug of Riddei’s vanilla oatmeal porter and check out the band, Mill House. I made my way inside and started checking out the more than 90 beers that were being offered. I found Thomas Lucas from the Crafty Rooster who introduced me to Buddy Everhart from Aviator Brewing. Everhart poured me a glass of his Hogwild IPA – a very balanced IPA with a nice citrusy hop profile – and told me of the North Carolina brewery’s recent expansion.

Next, I headed over to the table that was pouring Goose Island to try some of their beers that have recently become available at the beach. First, I first tried Matilda, a light-bodied Belgian pale ale with a tart finish. Matilda is definitely a well-crafted and delicious beer that easily hides its 7 percent ABV (alcohol by volume). I then tried Sofie, a Belgian farmhouse ale with a refreshing and slightly sour taste. Then I sampled Dogfish Head’s new pale ale, American Beauty. Named after a Grateful Dead album, the beer is brewed with granola and has a hoppy taste that is somewhat overpowered by the sweet malt – giving it an almost a honey flavor.

I then made my way over to the Sierra Nevada table, where I tried DevESTATEtion Ale, a black IPA that was brewed instead of the regular Estate Ale this year because the company’s on-premises barley crop was heavily damaged by high winds and flooding rain. It was a very good brew – and would have been the best black IPA of the night, if I hadn’t been pointed in the direction of the River Dog table. River Dog, from Ridgeland, was pouring its Cascadian Dark – a complex, roasty black IPA that seemed to have more flavor and kick than the Sierra Nevada beer. It was a great offering by our neighbors to the south, and I highly recommend seeking it out.

So, I had a few beer tickets left and I was being gently reminded that we needed to make the trip back to Myrtle Beach in time for the New South party. So, I stopped back by the Sierra Nevada table one last time for a pour of the imperial stout, Narwhal. It pours a thick, opaque blackness with a taste that matches. But, I had a date with another stout – one recently liberated from 11-months inside a bourbon barrel.

The night’s festivities at New South’s Myrtle Beach brewery marked not only its 15th anniversary, but also the tapping of the much-anticipated Bourbon Barrel-Aged Lily the Great. After being brewed last December, the guys at New South filled a Woodford Reserve barrel and let it sit for 11 months. The result is incredible. This is one beer that I could just drink the smell with my nose for several minutes before finally taking a sip. The barrel-aging enhances all of the great qualities of the original Lily the Great. The sharp hoppiness of the fresh beer has given way to a beer that’s much smoother. So smooth, in fact, that I could drink it all night – which I almost did. But no worries – New South will release Bourbon Barrel-Aged Lily the Great for pints and growlers on Friday (Nov. 15) during the brewery’s tasting hours. So, if you want to try this one, you’re going to need to get there quick – there’s not very much of it and it will go fast.

Also, while you’re at New South, you may notice some new snacks available for sale in the tasting room – these are Nugz – gourmet beef jerky chunks that have been marinated in different New South beers. I purchased a pack that had used the New South IPA as a marinade and it is fantastic. I also met Jaeson Moore (lead singer of local rock act The Izm), the creator of Nugz and he said that he is excited about the response he has gotten and is enjoying all the positive feedback from folks who have tried it. I got another pack – this one using the Nut Brown ale and I can’t wait to get into it.

Brewing at the Beach

Don’t forget – Saturday is the day for the third annual Brewing at the Beach – held from 1-5 p.m. at New South Brewing at 1109 Campbell St., in Myrtle Beach. Join me and other members of MASH, as we brew a bunch of beer and share our passion with anyone who wants to come. There will be homebrew samples and food provided by the Piggly Wiggly at the Market Common. Admission is free, but please bring tip money in support of MASH, our local homebrew club. We hope to see you there.

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

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