by Eric Doksa
The event may be called the Charleston Wine and Food Festival, but we can't look past the fact that craft beer pairs well with food too. A few hoppy, sud filled events debuted at the 2012 festival, and they were even more popular this year.
We led a tour of 68 eager beer drinkers to all four of the current local craft breweries with fellow craft beer enthusiast, Timmons Pettigrew. At each location, Caviar and Bananas set up food stations with tasty treats that complimented the hops and malt. Pimento cheese on a bacon biscuit pair well with Bourbon Barrel-Aged Pecan Dream at Holy City Brewing Company and the pretzels with beer cheese were a great compliment to the Palmetto Pale Ale.
Craft beer dinners were all the buzz too. On Friday, we made our way over to the 82 Queen for a beer-filled evening with Ben Dobler, Brewmaster of Widmer Brothers Brewing, and 82 Queen Executive Chef Steven Lusby. We laughed, we drank, and we ate, with the highlight of the night being a plate of venison short ribs, toasted grits, apple, Brussels sprouts, pine nuts, and cherry compote paired with the toasty, spice-filled South by Northwest dark ale.
We moved over to Craftsmen Kitchen and Tap House on Saturday night, where we got a glimpse at what the stunning new craft beer bar has to offer. Executive Chef Todd Garrigan teamed up with Josh Fruchtman from Dogfish Head Brewery for a night of big beers paired with big food. A delicate mountain trout with lemon spiked vegetables and pistachio hummus went well with the 90 minute IPA, but the best was saved for last — a warm sticky bun, Carolina gold rice pudding with caramel paired with the big, oak-aged Burton Baton. (Sorry, this one was gone before we could snap a picture.)