Saturday was the second revival of Brewvival. 34 breweries bringing out their best. It remains in my top spot of favorite beer festivals. This is one of those rare festivals where a brewery needs to bring out its best, or it need not come out.
Put on by Coast Brewing Company and the Charleston Beer Exchange, this is the ultimate playground for the beer geek. However, you don’t have to know the difference between a Berliner Weisse and a Lichenhainer Weisse to enjoy yourself.
Nicole and I were accompanied by my long-time friend, The Beave, and his new bride Meredith. Meredith is a self-proclaimed Corona Light aficionado, yet she made her way around to at least 20 breweries and enjoyed all but a handful of samples. See, there is reason to believe!
I managed to sample 35 beers, most of which I had never tried before. Despite my best efforts, there were still six or so beers that I desperately wanted to try, but didn’t get to before they ran out. So many beers, so little time (and blood alcohol capacity).
The logistics of the festival were greatly improved over last year. The wait to get in still took longer than it should have, but we got inside within 20 minutes. The food and bathroom lines were never bad. Even during the peak beer drinking time between 2 and 3, the beer lines were mostly managable. I never felt too crowded, and there was plenty of space to spread out away from the beer tents.
My favorite beer-related moment was getting to briefly chat with Lauren Salazar, the brewer of the New Belgium sour lineup, as she paired Le Terrior with a lime goat cheese. It was a delicious pairing, and really highlighted the tart, sour aspects of the beer.
Le Terrior was a nicely balanced, tasty sour, but I enjoyed the mouth puckering tart kick in the teeth from Tart Lychee even more. New Belgium’s sour beers are top notch, and while the normal lineup of beers are good, the sours are the Cadillac to their Chevy.
While there were so many delicious rare beers to be had, if I were forced to pick one as my favorite of the day, I would have to pick Heavy Seas Below Decks Barleywine on cask. It’s an English-style barleywine, so it’s not very hoppy. On cask it was amazingly smooth and malty. Maybe it also had something to do with the fact that it was my second-to-last beer of the day, but I was seriously impressed.
After two years of crushing it, Brewvival is poised to take off as word of this hidden jewel continues to spread among the beer world. At $50, the price is not cheap, but if you love beer, it’s worth every penny. I’ll certainly be here every year the good folks at Coast and the CBX keep inviting us back!
My Favorite Beers of the Day
- Brooklyn Blast Double IPA – winner of best overall use of hops
- Coast Old Nuptual Barleywine – best hoppy barleywine
- Foothills Sexual Chocolate on cask – best stout
- New Belgium Tart Lychee – best sour
- Heavy Seas Below Decks Barleywine – best overall barleywine
- Thomas Creek Up the Creek on Spanish cedar – best use of wood
- Cigar City Oatmeal Raisin Cookie – most realistic impersonation of a cookie
- Westbrook Uberbier #3 – best beer over 17% ABV
Beers I Will Go To My Grave Regretting Missing Out On
- Smuttynose Breakfast Stout
- Dogfish Head Chicory Stout randalized through Tootsie Rolls
- Sierra Nevada/Dogfish Head barrel aged Life and Limb
- Stillwater/Mikkeller Two Gypsies
- Thomas Creek Banana Split Chocolate Stout over vanilla ice cream