This weekend, I was a fortunate tag-along on another of Nicole’s journalistic endeavors for the Southern Brew News, as she is writing an article for an upcoming issue about Brewer’s Brewing Company in Beaufort, South Carolina. We arrived Friday night at Brewer’s around 5:00, just in time to begin sampling this week’s cask-conditioned beer.
The Friday night tradition at Brewer’s is to serve a portion of their beer that has been set aside in a firkin and cask conditioned. Cask-conditioned beer is essentially beer that has been allowed to completely ferment, but has not been conditioned with carbon dioxide or nitrogen. It is also traditionally served at cool (but not cold) temperatures to allow most of the flavor of the beer to come out. Many people don’t enjoy beer served in this way because they perceive it as being flat and warm. This Friday they had a hopped-up version of their Albergottie Amber in the cask. While the regular amber was quite tasty, I really enjoyed the cask version. It was creamy and hoppy, just how I like it!
The rest of the beer menu was solid as well. The Port Royal Light was a traditional golden lager, but it had a nice dry, crisp feel and a better flavor than the mass-produced variety. The Paddlers Organic Pale Ale and the Brickyard IPA were moderately hopped ales, not over-the-top, but had a noticable hop character. My two favorites were the Whale Branch Wit and the Parris Island Oatmeal Porter. The wit was a much more flavorful version of Hoegaarden, similar color and body, but with much more pronounced orange and coriander flavor. The oatmeal porter had a very robust roasted chocolate flavor and was very tasty and easy drinking. It was not too thick or overpowering, so it could serve as more than a dessert beer.
In addition to having the chance to try some good, local beer, the coolest part of the evening was being able sit down and spend most of the night talking to the owner and brewer, Josh Brewer, and his wife Lexie. I’m not sure if they hung out with us so much because we were cool, or if they just wanted a reprieve from the insanity of running a brewpub, or maybe they just wanted to butter up the author (Nicole) to get some better PR. I’d like to think it was the former, but I wouldn’t blame them at all for the latter.
Josh in a brew tank
After spending several hours with Josh and Lexie (5, actually) what I took away was just how real and down-to-earth they were. They weren’t aloof beer elitists who thought that because they brewed beer more than 5 gallons at a time that their beer was superior to anyone else’s. Josh told us not only what he liked about certain of his beers, but also what he didn’t like about some of them. He even mentioned how surprised he was that the oatmeal porter actually turned out good, and that he doesn’t even drink his own Port Royal Light, but has it available for the patrons who prefer that style. How’s that for customer service!
I found it to be a very refreshing and encouraging experience. Here was a guy who started out as a homebrewer, fell in love with it, and after several years and a roundabout path is now brewing good beer that people are actually paying for. Only time will tell if Brewer’s survives in the long run, but the fact that they made it this far and have already established an impact in the community get my vote as a success. So if you are ever down in Beaufort, check them out. Oh, and the food is really good, too. (Thanks, Chef Dan!)