Yesterday, beer dinners were nonexistent. Today they're ever-present. When I moved to the Lowcountry in 2007, Palmetto Brewing Company and Southend Brewery were the only two craft breweries in the area, and the best places to get a craft beer fix were Mellow Mushroom King Street, Gene's Haufbrau, Charleston Beer Works, and Red Drum. Fast forward six years and we have four craft breweries, one brewpub, and dozens of craft beer-centric bars and bottle shops, with more to come.
In Summerville, homebrewer Caleb Taylor is opening a brewpub called Homegrown Brewhouse, where he plans to have 40 beers on tap, most of them from South Carolina, with the addition of some of his own brews. Word on the street is that a few of the taps will be dedicated to sour beers. I've sampled some of his beers, and I've got to tell you, we're in for a treat. In particular, his blood orange Berliner Weisse was a big hit at a beer festival in Mt. P just this past year. The Homegrown Brewhouse is still under construction, but we're expecting Taylor to be open for business within the next couple of months.
Recently, a shiny brewing system has appeared in the front window of Oak Barrel Tavern. Our favorite Avondale watering hole, which serves only craft beer, wine, and sake, will soon turn into a brewpub. They'll be brewing beers in-house and serving them alongside the rest of the craft beer selection.
There's also a lot of talk about several new breweries on the horizon. Say hello to Steve McCauley, Joey Siconolfi, and Michael Biondi of Frothy Beard Brewing Company, three longtime friends who have been brewing together for more than six years. They brewed their first beer, an American porter, in upstate S.C. Since then, they've brewed more than 100 batches together. After moving to Charleston in 2008, they decided to dedicate themselves to building their own brewery.
After looking at more than three dozen locations, the close-knit group signed a lease for a warehouse in North Charleston back in November. The next step was to design the brewery, detailing everything from equipment to square footage. This is a must before applying for federal and state licenses. Along the way, the guys got a lot of help from COAST, Holy City, and Palmetto. The design and process was approved by the feds in just 47 days, and they say state approval is just around the corner. Frothy Beard Brewing Company will be the fifth craft brewery in the Charleston area.
While the guys at Frothy Beard won't be unveiling any brews at Brewvival, they have two beers in the works for their launch. Beer one will be an American-style Peppermint Porter — think liquid Thin Mint. Beer two is an English-style IPA with magnum hops. This one will be lighter in color with a more subtle, earthy hop flavor and a moderate malt backbone.
Starting out, they'll be brewing five times a week on a one-and-a-half barrel system. The plan is to start with kegs distributed to a few local craft beer bars and shops around town and have some flagships and one-offs on tap in the brewery tasting room. They want to experiment with different flavors and styles, while allowing the community to sample their creations at the brewery.
This is all exciting news as we brace for the fourth Brewvival this weekend. We've come a long way in the past six years, and the future looks even sudsier.