I’m probably a little biased about my selection for the Untamed Beer 2008 Brewery of the Year award, Coast Brewing Company from North Charleston, South Carolina, but I don’t care. It’s my blog. I had the good fortune of living in Charleston when Coast opened its doors in the fall of 2007. Lucky for me, my wife had the idea to write a feature story about the new brewery for the Southern Brew News, so we were invited to the Coast grand opening party. It was there we first met brewmaster David Merritt and co-heir to the throne, Jaime Tenny. Because we felt like we were there from the beginning, Coast will always have a special place in our hearts.
However, it would be one thing if it were like, “Aw, it’s such a cute little brewery, and they’re organic!” But my sentimentality only goes so far. Their beer is damn good. I would be so bold as to say it’s the best beer brewed in South Carolina and holds its own against any beer I’ve had from the Southeast. It is reminiscent of the beers I had on the Oregon Beer Trail back in ’07.
David & Jaime, where the magic happens.
Coast tries to use organic ingredients whenever they can and they don’t filter or pasteurize their beer, so it comes out tasting very fresh. David is also not afraid to be a little adventurous, so the flavor and aroma of his beer is always intense and vibrant. I also like that since Coast is still small and nimble, they can take a lot of liberties and experiment with new seasonals and recipes all the time. It seems like they always have something new on the horizon.
Coast’s staple brews are the HopArt IPA and Kolsch 32/50. The HopArt is a hoppy, but well-balanced IPA. The hop flavor and aroma is intense and fresh, but not overpowering. It goes down so smooth, it’s like drinking juice. (Which at 7.7% ABV can sneak up on you. I once had three pints of this at a Leon Russell show at the Charleston Pour House, and let’s just say I felt like I was transported back to the Concert for Bangladesh.)
For those that aren’t into hops, the Kolsch 32/50 is a light-colored, medium bodied beer with a smooth finish. Kolsch is a lager/ale hybrid style, so it brings you the best of both worlds. It’s easy drinking like a lager, but in my opinion tastes a little better and brings a little more to the party.
My favorite Coast seasonal has to be the Blackbeerd Imperial Stout brewed in the winter months. I haven’t had it in a while, but I remember it being an intensely roasted, bitter (in a good way, like dark chocolate), slap-your-mama good stout. The Rye Knot Brown Ale has made its way to Barley’s Tap Room here in Greenville for the fall, so I’ve been enjoying that one lately. It is a full bodied, hoppy brown ale with a nice coffee flavor.
Proof I was there.
While Coast doesn’t bottle their beer yet, they have already taken Charleston restaurants and bars by storm on draft. Be on the lookout as they continue to grow. Greenville was their first stop out of Charleston, so I’m sure they have plans to take over the world, or as far as their brew tanks will take them. So if you’re ever out and happen to see their beer on the list, order one. You won’t be disappointed.