A crowd of more than 100 home brewers and craft beer enthusiasts made its way through the doors at Myrtle Beach’s New South Brewing Co. on Nov. 16 for the third annual Brewing at the Beach. The yearly homebrew expo brought out those new to the hobby, a few more experienced home brewers looking for tips – and tons of other folks who came to enjoy the company, the food, conversation and of course – the beer.
Five different brew rigs were set up in the brew house in the shadow of the mammoth gleaming fermentation tanks. Most brewers brewed batches using just grain (all-grain), while Royce Green, Myrtle Beach Area Society of Homebrewers (MASH) club president, demonstrated brewing a batch using dried malt extract.
“Extract kits are the quickest and easiest way for someone to get started in home brewing,” said Green. “The recipe and all the ingredients come in a box and with minimal investment in equipment, you can be drinking great beer you made yourself in about three weeks.”
The all-grain brew rigs that were set up varied in complexity – from a gravity-fed mashtun on a forklift, to a 10-gallon igloo cooler, hand-pouring pitchers of wort, to a two-keg, one pump system – all the way to a fully-automated electric brew system that used some serious electrical hardware.
As event-goers began to trickle in, there was plenty to see, drink and eat. The Piggly Wiggly at Market Common provided the food and the delicious deli wraps and sides were the perfect complement to the variety of homebrewed beers being sampled and passed around.
In the tasting room, Henry Hilliard was pouring a saison brewed with the New Zealand hop variety Nelson Sauvin, a Bell’s Two-Hearted IPA clone and a German-style lager. Inside the brewery, individual brewers brought their brews to share. At Joe Novak, Kristen West, Roger Reinhardt and Ana-Hayley Jacob’s table, the group (also known as Barley Pop Brewing) was pouring a hopped-up pale ale, an American wheat and a pumpkin pie-spiced saison. MASH member Andy Kennedy was serving up some strawberry mead that was refreshingly tart and distinctive. Other home brewers brought bottles and growlers of their brews to share.
The beers being brewed at the event were just as varied as the rigs they were being brewed on. Piggly Wiggly’s Michael Byrd and I were brewing a double IPA on my system. We used copious amounts of Galaxy, Summit and Simcoe hops. The Barley Pop Brewers next door were cooking up a Belgian Golden Strong Ale that used mostly pilsner malt with some white table sugar added to boost alcohol content and dry out the finish. Green’s extract batch was a “Moose Drool” brown ale clone recipe. The original “Moose Drool” from Big Sky Brewing in Montana is a delicious malty brown ale.
Brock Kurtzman, Head Brewer at New South was brewing a smoked porter on his forklift brew rig. He used a malt bill that included 30 percent smoked malt that he had smoked on his grill/smoker at home using mesquite and hickory chips. I got to smell the mash and the rich smokiness wafting off the grain bed reminded me of a cooking a big, juicy steak. The guys brewing on the enormous electric brew rig had a few hiccups early on in the day, but finished strong with their pecan saison that they plan on aging on bourbon-soaked oak spirals.
Jaeson Moore also had a table set up inside the brewery introducing guests to his spicy beef jerky – Nugz. Marinated in New South brews, the dried lean beef pairs great with craft beer and event-goers were gobbling it up and buying multiple packs to take home.
After thanking the crowd for coming, David Epstein, Brewmaster and owner of New South, invited everyone to join Operations Manager, Roddy Graham for a guided tour of the brewery. Always a captivating tour guide, Graham showed off the different tanks and tuns, as well as the new equipment – all while explaining the process in depth. The tour ended differently than the usual weekly tours – with MASH member and resident engineer, Mike Nagle, explaining the history, science and chemistry behind beer making.
“Brewing at the Beach is an exciting platform for the local brewing community. It is absolutely the best opportunity for both someone interested in wanting to brew their first homebrew and the advanced home brewer wanting to see other techniques,” said Kurtzman.
Founders Brewing has a fall seasonal that reminds me of Thanksgiving. Not only does it come out around Thanksgiving, but I have fond memories of enjoying this beer paired with succulent roast turkey, stuffing and all the trimmings. A bourbon barrel-aged scotch ale, Backwoods Bastard is a big, boozy, slightly smoky, caramel-rich sipping beer. And at a hefty 10.2 percent ABV (alcohol by volume), you best make sure you stick to sipping this one. Even though your tongue may be telling you otherwise.
With the holidays upon us, craft beer events may be a little scarcer in the coming month, but there is still plenty of great beer to drink and a few new breweries to try. Hurricane Maggie’s is featuring Lone Rider beers this month and Charleston’s Holy City beers have debuted in tap takeovers around town. Definitely try these two Carolina breweries if you haven’t had a chance yet. Check myrtlebeachcraftbeer.com/events for upcoming events and connect with me on Facebook for the latest brews news.
Contact John Garner at MBCraftBeer@gmail.com and follow him at www.facebook.com/TheNewBeerman.