Blue Ridge Brewmaster Jay
Blue Ridge Brewing Company was perhaps the first brewpub I ever visited when I was old enough to partake of the sweet elixir way back in the day. They first opened their doors in 1995 and have since seen other brew pubs come and go, but they remain a staple on Main Street in Greenville. I remember visiting when I was in college, up from Charleston to see my beloved C of C Cougars battle Furman in those epic Southern Conference basketball battles. Those were the days…
One of the highlights of moving to downtown Greenville has been to be in walking distance of Blue Ridge. On Saturday, the Big Gnome and I took advantage of our prime real estate and went to Blue Ridge to sample two of their brand new seasonals, the Rye Patch Pale Ale and the Black Honey Imperial Stout.
We had the Rye Patch Pale first. This was a great beer to start us off, tantalizing us with its deep golden color. The hop aroma was apparent right from the get-go. The flavor was dry and crisp with an intense tart bitter hop finish. Make no mistake about it, this beer is all about the hops. There is not much in the way of malt sweetness to balance the hops, but I did not find it overbearing or overpowering at all. It’s like it revved the engine, but brought it back down before it hit the red line. I could probably have about two pints of this before my taste buds would call for mercy. I really liked it.
For “dessert” we were able to partake of the Black Honey Imperial Stout. Brewmaster Jay can correct me if my facts are mistaken, but I believe this is the highest gravity beer that Blue Ridge has done, coming in at a whopping 10.5% ABV. Served in a 12 oz. globe, this beer as black as well… black. The aroma screamed of smokey roasted malt and the flavor followed right in line. This beer was very full-bodied and sweet, as you would expect from such a high gravity brew. It was a very intense beer that you could sip on for some time over some good conversation or chocolate dessert. Very enjoyable.
I give high marks to Blue Ridge’s latest creations. I’m glad that after all these years they still have their creative juices flowing and aren’t afraid to experiment with new beers. South Carolina isn’t exactly known for it’s craft beer, but Blue Ridge represents well, and hopefully they will inspire some other locals to strike out on their own. More, I say, we need more!