This weekend I tagged along with my wife Nicole to Hilton Head Island to do some field work for an article she is writing for a Charleston-based food magazine. I was able to go as her travel companion and chauffeur, while reaping the benefits of some great food.
We were both very excited about this weekend, and Nicole did a lot of research to find just the right places for us to hit. Before beginning our food tour on Friday evening, she thought it would be a good way to begin for our first stop to be at only brewery on Hilton Head, the Hilton Head Brewing Company.
Once we were finally able to find the brewpub (and I use “pub” lightly), as it was hidden away in a maze of a 1980s-style shopping center, we came up to the door where they had the beers on tap written on a chalk board with a description of each beer. Their selections were a summer blonde, an IPA, an amber, and a porter. Seemed good, so we went in.
As soon as we walked in, I knew something wasn’t quite right. It screamed of “sports-bar”. When we sat down, I asked our waiter if they offered a flight so that I could sample their beers. He had no idea what a “flight” was, but he said he could bring a sample of each beer out. Not wanting to argue about semantics, I agreed to have the sampler.
The first beer we tried was the summer blonde. It wasn’t good, but it wasn’t too bad. No noticeable aroma, malt, or hoppy character, kind of like your standard light lager, except it did have an interesting tartness in the aftertaste. At this point I was still optimistic, because that style of beer is usually my least favorite, so I figured I would enjoy the other styles more. Unfortunately, it was all down-hill from there.
The next beer up was the IPA. I was surprised at the very creamy body of the IPA when I first tasted it. After that, I was just surprised at the lack of taste and the lack of hops. It kind of had the same finish as the blonde, a little tart, but not quite right.
The amber was where things really got interesting. I was amazed at first because this beer had no aroma. None. At all. The bar wasn’t smokey, and I wasn’t stuffed up. It just had no smell. It also had some really bad off flavors, including a very sour finish, and not the citrusy sour of casacade hops, just sour. It was so bad that we didn’t even finish the dixie cup sized sample we had.
At this point I was just praying that the porter would redeem our experience. After all, it looked like a nice, dark, chocolaty, stout. Nope. The aroma was that of dust. It tasted like they took our the uniform of our old CofC mascot, Dusty Clyde the Cougar, and dropped it in the brew casks. The after taste can only be described as “strange”. I renamed it the Dusty Clyde Porter.
After making our way through the sampler, we should have just cut our losses and left, but being the dedicated beer lovers that we are, we decided to each get a pint of the summer blonde, as it was the least offensive. I hoped it would get better as I acclimated myself to the beer, but I had no such luck. Somehow, I was able to persevere to the end, but it was not easy.
The purpose of my blogging is primarily to highlight great beer and share those beers and experiences with others. I don’t want to become a beer curmudgeon (although it is fun sometimes). However, it was obvious to me that the brewers at the Hilton Head Brewing Company really don’t care about their beer. They are in it for the late-night college crowd that shotguns their Michelob Ultra and downs shots of tequila. They should do us all a favor and just take out the brew kettles and use the floor space for something more productive, like a stage for the drunk college girls to dance on.
Oh, and the worst part? They charged us $2 for the sampler. Ugh…