This reporter’s isolation porch beer
Charleston’s communal food and drinking culture has taken a hit in the past couple months, but with people holed up at home, two local Facebook groups have exploded with members seeking the shared experience of their favorite restaurant, bar or brewery.
The Facebook group Lowcountry Quarantine Take-Out + Delivery
has grown to over 22,000 members in just a few short weeks since it was created on March 18. Christine England, who initially formed the group, formed the group to keep a running list of which local restaurants were continuing to serve food for takeout or delivery. The initial goal was modest. England thought, "A couple of our foodie friends, we're going to get together and we're going to know the information."
England hoped to provide a spot where local people could find their next meal while supporting restaurants and employees that didn't know what was on the horizon. "Who can we support?" she asked. "Who needs our help? What can we do?"
England understands perhaps more than most what restaurant workers are facing, her husband Ray is the chef at Tavern & Table on Shem Creek.
But pretty quickly, the group morphed into folks throwing their craving questions into the group and getting a response damn near immediately. But with a guiding hand from England, who works in real estate when she's not maintaining the group, look for more posts about how members can continue helping local restaurants once they venture out.
After the pandemic, England hopes the group's massive following will get to know the people behind the scenes at local haunts and the challenges facing restaurants and their staff. Now, you can find the group renamed as Lowcountry Eat Out!
As the creator of the Isolation Porch Beers
group and the co-owner of Tradesman Brewing, Chris Winn knew the growlers of Circuit Breaker IPA and Brick Layer Red walking out his doors were destined for someone's quarantine happy hour. He heard it over and over: "I'm going to take this beer and I'm going to drink it on my porch."
"But ultimately, beer drinking is still sort of a communal team sport," Winn said. And that's pretty much the extent of the origin story of Isolation Porch Beers, now over 4,000 members strong.
Getting the attention of friends across the country, the group isn't technically local — plenty of 843 expats and porch beer enthusiasts post local brews from their corners of America — but you'll see plenty of familiar labels.
"If we can't drink together, we can drink alone together," Winn said.