Home beer-brewing competitions heating up in Myrtle Beach area

June 26, 2014 

A group of 17 local homebrewers got together on June 21 at the Homebrewer’s Pantry in Conway for the June meeting of the Myrtle Beach Area Society of Homebrewers (MASH). Besides tasting and critiquing several homebrews, the agenda included announcements about several upcoming homebrew competitions – the Iron Brew competition – sponsored by Holy City Brewing in North Charleston, the Liberty Brewery & Grill competition “Wanna Get Tapped?” at Broadway at the Beach and the announcement of the “Clone Wars” commercial beer recipe cloning competition sponsored by the Piggly Wiggly at the Market Common.

The Iron Brew competition pits homebrewers against each other using one similar “secret” ingredient – a la the cooking show “Iron Chef.” The brewers at Holy City announce the secret ingredient and give homebrewers a few months to perfect their recipe. The entries are judged and then the homebrewers meet at Holy City Brewing and pour their entries for the public to vote.

A brand new competition, the “Clone Wars,” sponsored by the Piggly Wiggly, will ask homebrewers to pick one of their favorite commercial beers sold at the Piggly Wiggly and craft a copycat homebrew version. The entries will then be judged side-by-side with their commercial counterpart, with the one closest in similarity taking home the top prize. All the details haven’t been ironed out just yet, but expect an announcement in early July, with entries being due sometime in November.

Newly-elected MASH club president, Joe Novak, announced some big changes coming to the club’s annual learn-how-to-homebrew event, Brewing at the Beach, which takes place each November at New South Brewing in Myrtle Beach. This year’s event will include a brewing competition with event-goers able to cast their votes for the People’s Choice award. The competition will pair local craft beer bars, stores and restaurants with local homebrewers in order to craft a recipe that best represents their business. The competition will be judged prior to the day of the event with winners and People’s Choice awards being announced that day.

The results of the Homebrewer’s Pantry’s inaugural blind draw homebrew competition were revealed at the end of the meeting. Steven Riddei placed third with his Black IPA, Kristen West took second place with her American IPA and Novak scored a first place award with his robust porter. Winners received gift certificates to the Homebrewer’s Pantry, along with bragging rights. Novak’s winning recipe will be made into a kit that will be sold in the store.

Many homebrews were opened and tasted during the meeting – as always. But a new component of meetings include a chance for brewers to introduce their beers and receive feedback if they choose. The next meeting will be held July 19 at the Homebrewer’s Pantry and is open to the public. If you are curious about homebrewing or craft beer in general, or just looking for some feedback on your latest batch, come join us and meet some like-minded local folks. For more details on upcoming events and meetings, follow me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/myrtlebeachcraftbeer.

Stone Law’s brew pub impact

Now that the Stone Law is in effect in South Carolina, we are still getting a feel for what it means for brewers across the state. Some breweries such as Thomas Creek in Greenville have already expressed that they are eager to take advantage of the new law and start serving food immediately. They are looking to boost their on-site consumption and the increased revenue that will come with it. Other breweries, such as Quest Brewing in Greenville and local brewery New South Brewing, aren’t jumping into serving food right away, instead carefully reviewing their options and continuing to pour great beer for locals and tourists alike.

But what about the brewpubs that operate in the Palmetto State? Many of the benefits of the new legislation are aimed at loosening the regulations that they must abide by. Josh Quigley, owner and Brewmaster at Quigleys Pint and Plate in Pawleys Island thinks the new law is a great step for South Carolina in revamping our antiquated beer laws, but isn’t considering packaging his ales and lagers for retail distribution at this time.

“One thing about most brewpubs, is our breweries are all sized for the volume we produce. And I actually have a hard enough time keeping up with the beer I need for the restaurant, much less enough to keg for distribution. I think it’s a great idea to give brewpubs and breweries more freedom – especially those looking to grow and expand, and I think there will be those that will come along and be able to take advantage of the new law, but don’t look for Quigley’s to start packaging our beers anytime soon,” he said.

Another aspect of the new law allows brewpubs the ability to pour their beer at local beer festivals – a freedom that S.C. brewpubs have never had - making for a missed opportunity for Gordon Biersch at The Market Common when the annual Myrtle Beach Beer Fest was held caddy corner to the brew pub in Valor Park. Michael Grossman, Brewmaster at the local Gordon Biersch outlet, says that pouring at festivals is something his brewpub may consider.

“We don’t have the ability to package beer here. The main brewery in California would do that. We are two separate companies. But we may do fests,” said Grossman.

Upcoming Events

The Crafty Rooster in downtown Conway is planning a tap takeover with Spartanburg’s brewery, RJ Rockers tonight. All 14 taps will be dedicated to pouring the Upstate brewery’s beers. Beers on tap will include the always popular Son of a Peach, Peachy King, Witty Twister, Bell Ringer, Trainwreck, Hop Quake, Belgian India Brown, Bobby’s Brew (homebrew competition winner), Black Perle and much more. The takeover begins at 5 p.m. The Crafty Rooster is at 1125 3rd Avenue, Conway.

Contact JOHN GARNER at MBCraftBeer@gmail.com.

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