The craft beer scene in Myrtle Beach is definitely coming into its own. During the last year, we’ve seen the expansion of regional and local breweries and enjoyed being able to buy and drink a greater variety of their beers. Our weekends are packed with seasonal beer releases, events and beer dinners. And on Saturday comes the biggest event on our local beer calendar – the 6th Annual Myrtle Beach Beer Fest at the House of Blues.
The format has changed from last year - there are only two sessions – 2-5 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. Saturday. And if you haven’t bought your tickets yet, they are still available for both sessions. You can purchase your tickets online at www.MyrtleBeachBeerFest.com for $35 in advance or you can purchase tickets at the House of Blues on the day of the event for $45. The ticket price includes a sampling glass and a wristband good for unlimited pours. Beer-by-the-bottle-or-can is not available as this is a sampling event.
If you haven’t been before or are on the fence about going – this year’s fest promises to be the biggest and best one yet. There will be more than 100 beers available, including the addition of several highly sought-after brews that saw limited release in the area. Representatives from more than 15 breweries will be on hand pouring their beer and answering any questions event-goers may have about them. A new component of the festival will be a series of craft beer-related educational seminars. Local home brewers and brewery representatives will cover topics such as home brewing; hops; and beer and food pairing. I plan on sitting on the home brewing panel if you want to come and pick my brain about my favorite obsession.
The festival will sprawl out around the Barefoot Landing venue, and provides a safeguard in case it rains.
“We are excited to expand beer fest into Crossroads Restaurant in addition to the courtyard and The Deck, which we have made several great additions to for 2014. We have also opened the gallery for beer education courses and have a great music line up in the three locations throughout the day. This is a great event for us and helps to showcase that we carry a variety of craft beers year round,” said Jacki Giardina, Booking and Promotions Manager for HOB.
Myrtle Beach Beer Fest organizer, Mike Shank, says the beer list is still growing and that a few surprises will await festival-goers on the day of the event. So, from the current beer list, I have compiled my top ten beers that I will definitely be seeking out:
No. 10 – Barrel-Aged New Year’s Resolution – Holy City – A huge 11 percent ABV (alcohol by volume) bourbon barrel-aged Doppelbock from our friends in North Charleston. Reviews on Beer Advocate describe the doppelbock as rich and boozy with vanilla, raison and oak flavors dominating.
No. 9 - Railhouse Brewing Red Wine Barrel-Aged KA-BAR Brown Ale – I haven’t had much from Railhouse Brewery out of Aberdeen (near Southern Pines), N.C. but a red wine barrel treatment of any beer will be sure to impart an interesting taste. I’m always down for trying something new and this is definitely piquing my interest.
No. 8 - Goose Island Bourbon County Stout – A big, rich imperial stout aged perfectly in bourbon barrels. One of my favorite beers of all time that I never get tired of drinking and expensive and rare enough that it is always considered a treat any time it hits my lips.
No. 7 - Founders Sweet Repute – A 12.6 percent ABV wheat wine that aged in maple syrup bourbon barrels for 16 months and was released as part of Founder’s Backstage series of big, special release beers. You had me at “maple syrup.”
No. 6 - Terrapin White Chocolate Moo Hoo – I still haven’t tried this special release of the delicious milk/sweet stout and am looking forward to finally getting the chance.
No. 5 - Oskar Blues Bourbon-barrel Old Chub – Old Chub is a Scotch Ale (Wee Heavy) that is malty, but not cloying, with a tiny hint of smoke. I can’t wait to try the barrel treatment.
No. 4 - Highland Ashevilliner Weisse – The Berlinerweisse is a style we don’t see much of in Myrtle Beach. It’s a tart German wheat beer that is usually pretty low in ABV. I missed the chance to try this beer at Brewvival in North Charleston, and am happy I’m getting another chance to give this a try.
No. 3 - Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout Cask – I’ve had the Cappuccino Stout and am a fan. However, I’m more interested in the cask treatment of this beer. Naturally carbonated in the firkin (small keg), the cask will be tapped and will flow without the addition of CO2. The result should be creamy and delicious.
No. 2 - Terrapin Cinnamon Roll’d Wake n’ Bake – This variant of the extremely popular (and scrumptious) Wake n’ Bake has eluded me thus far. This breakfast-in-a-bottle scores a 99 on RateBeer.com and sounds amazing.
No. 1 - Goose Island Backyard Rye Bourbon County Stout – The fact that this beer is No. 1 on my list AND that I’ve had it before should tell you something. Rich and smooth Bourbon County Stout that has been aged in Templeton Rye Whiskey barrels with large amounts of fresh mulberries, boysenberries and marionberries.
If the M.B. Beer Fest leaves you thirsty for more – don’t worry, the local beer calendar is being replenished. Tuesday, April 1 is the Red Hare Brewing beer dinner at the Mellow Mushroom in Myrtle Beach; April 5 is the grand opening party at the Homebrewers Pantry in Conway; and April 19 is the inaugural Beer, BBQ and Bluegrass at the Market Common. A new event has been announced in Conway – the Rivertown Music & Craft Beer Festival on May 3. For a full calendar of events and more information, check www.MyrtleBeachCraftBeer.com.
Contact John Garner at MBCraftBeer@gmail.com and follow him at www.facebook.com/TheNewBeerman.