Saturday, April 13, 2019

3 New Breweries in Columbia, SC

Columbia was the site of some critical research yesterday as I try to keep pace with the number of breweries opening up here in the Upstate and Midstate (?). A GvlBrewcrew event as well, so the limit was three new breweries for first time visits.

First was Twisted Spur, chosen partly cause we started with lunch and their menu looked good. Pleased to report that they ranked high in both categories: food and beer. Among us we sampled at least 10 beers on tap. One group favorite was the Great White Buffalo, a white IPA, well hopped with notes of orange peel and coriander. Refreshing! 

Being a fan of the style, I liked their Boysenberry Gose; good fruit, slight tartness and crisp finish. This style rotates the fruit so who knows what will be available next time.

Oh, we enjoyed our lunch too. I can recommend the Twisted Rueben but make sure you're hungry, it's huge.

Next stop was Columbia Craft, a brewery just beginning to be known in the Upstate. Having already had their Acid Hop, a sour Pale, at Sidewall Pizza, I was anxious to try their other brews. One good beer followed another: the Famously Hop IPA lived up to its name, full of hoppy wonderfulness. I could have stopped here, but research demanded that I continue. So, I did, with their Vom Fass, a Helles Lager, which was classic in flavor, aroma and sessionability. Another group favorite. And the Hop Acid was just as good as I remembered. Yay!

On a recommendation from Jess, beer slinger extraordinaire, we headed across the river to Cayce and Steel Hand Brewing. Open only since early December 2018, this venue screams "winner" from the moment you enter. Spacious, modern, bright with windows galore and a huge patio and yard with a stage at the end. Beers were across the board well made and plenty of styles to like. I went to their IPAs right away (duh!); a Tropical and a New England. Both hazy and fruity and equally satisfying. The Irish Red was a good choice too, plenty of malt structure but not overbearing. A balanced dry finish would keep someone having a second one. A highlight, thanks to #RetiredBob's recommendation was the Lime Golden Ale, a session brew that would make any hot Summer day quite tolerable. Following copious amounts of water, time to hit the road back to GVegas.

A very rewarding day (rarely do I get to own the Untappd board like today!) and further proof that good beer can be had just about anywhere these days, you only have to go find it.
Thanks, Columbia.

I'm posting links to the breweries so you can check out their menus completely.


Sunday, March 31, 2019

Swamp Rabbit Brewery and Taproom Anniversary Party

Lots of folks enjoyed the 5th Anniversary party at Swamp Rabbit Brewery and Taproom on Saturday. Here's one of them, earning a beer by bicycling all the way from downtown Greenville.

Congrats to Ben and Andrew (and wives of course) for keeping all that excellent beer pouring for these past years and I urge them to keep up the good work and urge you to go help drink it! Cheers.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Big 5th Anniversary for Swamp Rabbit Brewery and Taproom

Weather seems to be cooperating so time to start researching weekend beer-related activities; and there are lots to choose from. Among them is an important anniversary, the 5th for Swamp Rabbit Brewery and Taproom, this Saturday. Details in the link below. I've been very fortunate to have moved to Greenville just in time to see three breweries open, all with a few months of each other; Quest, Brewery 85 and Swamp. And most of the time I had my camera with me so I have accumulated quite a collection of early day photos for these breweries, including these for Swamp:…/…/10100127739211886…

Enjoy the celebration and I'm eager to see what the next 5 years will bring them.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

It's A Holliday Beer!

A motivating factor in the world of writing a beer blog is the opportunity to visit newly opened breweries, sampling their lineup and being very pleased with each beer tasted. Such an event happened yesterday when Retired Bob and I journeyed to Holliday Brewing in Spartanburg. Fresh off their opening last Saturday, there were 11 house beers. We sampled two flights, 8 beers total and our reaction was basically, "these guys know what they're doing!" Stand outs for us included the Hazy, Mosaic and 9-0 IPAs; the Porter and Capt 502, a session imperial lager also made our list to recommend.

And those guys who know what they doing are Jim and John Holliday, owners, with John handling the brewing part. Originally from San Diego where John developed his home brewing skills, he also worked for White Labs, San Diego, engineering their brewing and fermentation systems. In the small world department, he was responsible for the systems installations at the While Labs facility in Asheville, known locally as White Labs Kitchen and Tap. Regulars readers of this blog will remember my recent visits there where I enjoyed both the excellent food and informative beer/yeast menu.

The Holliday venue is spacious, comfortable and conducive to sitting around, sipping beer or wine from a respectable menu as well. I was impressed with the selection of art works on the old brick walls as well. A welcome addition to our Upstate brewing community. Welcome and Cheers!

You can get more info about them using the link above. And you can get visually inspired by the pix below.
Bob Muller
White Labs Kitchen & Tap

Friday, March 8, 2019

Interview With Hannah Morris, First Female Head Brewer

International Women's Day! 
Which conveniently leads me to today's subject: the first female Head Brewer in Greenville (and only second in the state), Hannah Morris at Quest Brewing Company. She recently took time out from a busy cleaning and canning day to chat about what the position means to her and the path that led to this appointment.

I first met Hannah when she was pouring at Upstate Craft Beer Co. (now Eighth State Brewing) back in 2014. She pointed out that by 2011 she was already exposed to craft beer, pouring at Nose Dive.
By 2013 she had already started as a home brewer, like so many others now working in breweries, brewing with her friend Sean Lally. She confessed that their first effort went right into the drain. Her first all-grain effort was an imperial stout with rum soaked raisins, cinnamon and vanilla. She describes it as "pretty tasty."

Her entry into the real brewing world at Quest began as Production Assistant and Brand Ambassador, using skills fostered at a local distillery where she was the Director of Customer Relations. But her actual first introduction to Quest was as a volunteer, coming in couple days a week to help out with canning. That exposure led to her being hired. Yes, boy and girls, hard work does pay off.

Last October (2018) she was promoted to Assistant Brewer, working with Sean and since then has brewed three original beers; first was a Green Tea IPA, then a Raspberry Porter (which I really liked, dark chocolate and raspberry flavors beautifully balanced) and now her latest creation, a Lemon-Lavender IPA, also well balanced. Fans of the Sun-WuKong, their New England IPA (and there are many, including me and the #GVLBrewCrew) will be very pleased to learn that among next month's releases will be the latest iteration of this IPA, Hannah's first as head brewer. She wants it to do justice to Sean's introductory version which was eagerly accepted by craft beer enthusiasts.

When I asked her about future brewing releases, she revealed her like of Belgian styles which she admit first drew her to Quest. She also likes lagers and hopes to do more funky beers using the barrel-aging facility across the street from the brewery.

Finally I asked her about any advice she might give to anyone trying to break into the craft beer field, male or female, her response was, "don't give up and be willing to take any position... and bring as much as you can to the table,... keep your options open, a jack/jill of all trades."

It certainly worked for her. Brewing creative new beers, keeping the Quest role in the local community a very active one and expanding the future possibilities.

I say, well done, Hannah, well done.
A few action shots of her displaying the varied activities that her role involves:

Hannah Morris First Female Head Brewer In Greenville, Quest Brewing

Big news! SC now has two women head brewers, one of whom is right here in GVille. Quest Brewing has appointed Hannah Morris as Head Brewer, replacing Sean Lally who headed north to brew at Haw River Farmhouse Ales in NC. Quest just released her latest beer, a Lemon Lavender IPA, today. It's a big bodied, lemon-lavender balanced, dry style, with good structure and lingering finish.

Congrats Hannah! Keep those imaginative beers coming!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Happy 5th Anniversary to Brewery 85

Noticing that the 28th is rapidly approaching, I did a quick review of this fast-paced month's activities and, gasp, I discovered an omission. Drat!!
Feb 2 was the 5th Anniversary of our Fishin Time brewery, Brewery 85! And quite a party was had on a rare sunny day. Good sized crowd with families and pets in abundance and of course, special beers for the occasion. Will McCameron and Thomas Westmoreland and the rest of the 85 crew (Hi, Shelby, James, Dave!) worked hard to make this the best one yet.

Did I mention that the beers were excellent too?

So, proving that it's never too late to be prompt, some party snaps follow: