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Saving puppies, promoting cycling, and stuffing faces

Bikes and Breweries

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We accepted the invitation to the Palmetto Brewery open house with great trepidation. The event boasted two of our greatest weaknesses: local craft beer and puppies. Homeless pets from the Charleston Animal Society were scheduled to be at the brewery, and we reminded ourselves to only throw back a few drinks so we wouldn’t be faced with the temptation to take home all the creatures.

Beer taps were set up all around the premises so guests could tour the warehouse while sampling the selections. Live music played quietly and the crowd was rather mellow as they wandered through South Carolina’s oldest brewery. Outside, a few patrons brought their own adopted pups and everyone politely played with the kittens up for adoption. We managed to resist the urge to adopt, and the only animal we exited with that evening was a pork sandwich from Hello My Name is BBQ.

After supporting our four-legged friends on Tuesday, we decided to support the two-wheeled variety on Saturday. The third annual RIDEdwin: Bike Breakfast and Ride celebrated the legacy of late bicycling advocate Edwin Gardner. Cyclists from all around the Charleston area came to Cannon Park to fuel up on free breakfast donated by Jamie Westendorf, Whole Foods, Piggly Wiggly, and Costco. The crowd ranged from smiling children on tricycles to spandex-clad road warriors. Bike Law founder and attorney Peter Wilborn spoke to the crowd about all the magnificent accomplishments South Carolina has achieved in making our roads safer for cyclists. The announcement of a dedicated bike lane in Hampton Park, titled “Gardner’s Way,” was a source of great applause.

After everyone had their fill of breakfast pastries and sausages, we hopped on our bikes for a three-mile, police-guided tour of Charleston to show cyclist solidarity. Gardner’s ghost bike was along the route and served as a reminder to all the importance of supporting bicycle rights. The large congregation of citizens on two wheels was a spectacular reminder of our presence in the community.

The slow three-mile ride probably didn’t make a dent in burning off the calories from our doughnut-filled breakfast, but that didn’t stop us from using it as an excuse to indulge in Sunday night’s 100th Anniversary Guerrilla Cuisine dinner. Executive Chef Todd Garrigan of the soon-to-open Craftsmen Kitchen & Tap House teamed up with Jimihatt and Westbrook Brewery to execute a special six-course tasting menu with beer pairings.

The event was hosted at the brewery and the early crowd happily sipped the $1 samples of the latest craft creations while waiting for the doors to open. Jalopy Crop Duster seemed to be a favorite with its hoppy Belgian flavor and 9.5 percent ABV. This was the first Guerrilla Cuisine event to feature pairings, so the crowd was in an extra jovial mood as each course was presented. Neighbors shared the extra wine they brought to the event and it was perfectly acceptable to ask a stranger if they were finished with their Brussels sprouts if you wanted to poach an extra one for yourself. Diners applauded the team at the end of the evening for a job well done and for our extra-full bellies.

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