Support the Stone Bill

Support the Stone Bill

Here is H. 5153 if you haven’t read it. The companion Senate bill is S. 1230.

If you’re unsure of who your representative is, use the Find Your Legislators search tool. Email addresses are available at Contact Your Legislators.

A HUGE thank you to Brook for keeping everyone informed!


On Gender and Beer: Do We Need Saving?

Fantastic piece exploring the role of women and beer. Be sure to follow the links for additional insight.

This Is Why I'm Drunk

When I first began thinking months ago about my recent series of posts on gender and beer, I centered them around this question:

Can women save beer?

That theme was inherently flawed, not only because the onus shouldn’t be on only women, but also because it wasn’t entirely clear if “beer” as an industry needed saving in the first place. However, I feel it’s impossible to overlook at least some of the shortcomings when it relates to beer and gender, so while “saving” may be a strong way to put it, a shift in cultural expectations within beer would still be advantageous.

While I’ve given my twocents on the topic, it would make no sense to approach this without the input of beer-minded women. So as part of my effort, I reached out to a few women via email to gauge their thoughts on the topic.

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Drinking San Francisco, Part 2

[My adventures in San Francisco begin here.]

~Day 3~

Saturday, the first day my friends were off work and could join in my adventures, began with downpours. Despite the murky weather, Erin, Evan and I set out for Marin County Humane Shelter to meet a dog they were considering adopting. We crossed the fog-shrouded Golden Metropolis LagerGate Bridge and traveled through misty Sausalito and Marin to spend a few hours with the adorable puppies awaiting their forever homes. The abysmal weather could not squelch our fun.

Over a dim sum lunch we made plans to tackle Toronado later that day. But first, we dropped into Chomp N’ Swig, a new bar and sandwich shop in the Richmond district, where I tried Speakeasy’s smooth Metropolis Lager. The bar itselfsmall but brightly decorated with graffiti and tall wood tableswas a winner alone, and this smooth, malty, local beer was an excellent mid-day sip.

This boozy fuel carried us through the wet 20140420-222420.jpgstreets of the Mission and down Valencia again, in search of boba (bubble tea), eclectic shops and authentic Mission tacos. Though the lack of parking near Toronado dashed our hopes of drinking there that evening, we were able to easily slip into Magnolia Brewery on Haight. I had the most impressive and largest flight ever here, and found the stout-dark, roasty Big Cypress Brown Ale my favorite. Could someone please ship me a keg?

~Day 4~

Sunday awoke to a city transformed: the previous day’s rain clouds subsided to reveal a sunny, slightly breezy and highly promising horizon. Today was wine country day. Don’t let my love of beer mislead you: I don’t discriminate when it comes to alcohol.

No matter how much I strove to not be an overbearing, gushing tourist, I couldn’t deny the majesty of the Golden Gate Bridge in the mid-day sunlight. And the eery, soaked hills of the previous day were now lush and glistening. We drove north from the city, stopping in charming Yountville for an absurdly delicious French lunch, before scouting out wineries along the way to St. Helena. Our return trip south brought us to a tasting at Grgich Hillswhere the kind, sweet French chap pouring our wine asked if I worked at a brewery since I was wearing my Highland shirtand a break at gorgeous Domain Carneros for sparkling wine and cheese.

Even if you aren’t a wine lover, I highly recommend a scenic drive through the valley.

~Day 5~

I awoke with eagerness on my final day, now feeling the weight of all the beer I had yet to drink and sights I had yet to explore. I wasted no time beginning my most touristy morning: a ride on a classic trolley to Fisherman’s Wharf for a bay cruise from Pier 39. Unfortunately, I chose the coldest, wettest day for my voyage beneath the Golden Gate and around Alcatraz.


As the sprinkling rain grew heavier, I made another spontaneous decision to stop at Fog Harbour restaurant for lunch. After many failed attempts to all Anchor Steam Brewing Company and schedule a tour, I finally had a chance to sip this iconic beer. I even spent some time searching for recipes to brew a California Common beer at home. As the rain grew heavier, I ordered a Lagunitas IPA. I guess it’s safe to say I’m a fan of this style now.

Warmed by beer and clam chowder, I headed for beatnik stomping grounds in North Beach area. I was cold and soaked and ecstatic when I found Jack Kerouac Alley and sauntered into Vesuvio Cafe. The kind, but distant bartender made me an Irish coffee at my request for something warm, and I sipped in a state of awe as I scanned the numerous posters, signs and stickers dotting these historic walls. It was easy to imagine the Beat poets balancing beers and books and clambering into boothsa brotherhood of bodhisattvas-in-training discussing politics and clandestine lyricsespecially as I watched the bartender light up and connect with the regulars who slid in beside me. I ordered Speakeasy’s Scarlett Red Rye and flipped through my pages of Kerouac as the rain continued to fall outside.


The weather was quickly crushing my adventurous spirit. My to-do list quickly dwindled, like my spicy beer, and I began the trek to my final destination: Rogue Ale’s Public House. Although choosing Rogue technically went against my desire to only drink California beers during my stay, the brewer is at least West Coast-based (Oregon) and was too convenient to pass up. I skipped the usuals I can easily drink in South Carolina and tried a few odd options I’d never heard of. Though this wasn’t my favorite beer stop and I wasn’t wowed by my flight choices, I was still happy to be out of the rain and tasting something new.

Though I’d intended to fit in more tastings and tours, I’m pleased with the outcome of this much needed escape. My MUNI mix-ups are proof enough that I probably shouldn’t explore the city in a booze-fueled haze. But, ultimately, I loved that this vacation was truly a time of relaxation and wandering. My taste buds are satisfied.

Until next time.

Drinking San Francisco, Part 1

I’m always in denial about the end of a vacation: I take a week to unpack my suitcase and longingly flip through my travel journal or photos every free moment, trying to make each quirky conversation or unique moment eternal.

I finally gave in to the many years of invitations to go stay with friends in San Francisco. With a list of musts from Marv Parker, a former San Francisco resident and the man behind Head for Beer, I boarded my plane for five days of unplanned, unmapped, unrivaled good times.

San Francisco Bay Bridge

My first glimpse of the Bay Bridge

~Day 1~

I wasted no time making my first of many incorrect bus choices: intending to go west to the Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant, I hopped on an east-bound bus. No worries. Spontaneity brought me to the Ferry Building, where I downed some of my favorite food, and then walked to the brilliantly named 21st Amendment Brewery. Jam packed before a Giants game began down the road at AT&T Park, 21st Amendment Brewery offered both indoor and outdoor serving areas and a long line of craft beers. Unfortunately, I could only find a small sliver of space at the indoor barjust enough room for me to reach through two strangers and sip from a flight until I spotted an empty table.

21st Amendment

My friends had raved about their watermelon beer, a popular summer seasonal, but I was one week too early for it and couldn’t sweet talk the bartender into procuring me a pre-launch sip. Instead, I enjoyed the spring seasonalSneak Attackalong with Gigantes IPA, MCA Stout, Dub Step and 5 South. Sneak Attack and the MCA Stout were my favorites

21st Amendment Brewery provided a valuable lesson: stay hydrated while drinking, especially if you’ve been walking for nearly 10 hours, it’s your first night in a new city and you still need to find the bus home in time for dinner. On the plus side, I got my best MUNI story from that night.

Warm sun, a gentle breeze, a cold beer and San Francisco laid out before me

Warm sun, a gentle breeze, a cold beer and San Francisco laid out before me

~Day 2~

Day two was a deluge of deliciousness, starting with a sandwich from Bi-Rite Market and a beer at Dolores Park. This was one of my favorite moments of the vacation: sitting in the sun at the park, listening to the chatter of passersby as I finally realized I was free from the stress of home and work. The citrusy bite of Headland’s Groupe G Belgian RyePA was an excellent companion to this breezy day (check out this review for a great photo of the can’s label).

I set out on foot from the Mission to Valencia Street, stopping for treats at Tartine, Dandelion Chocolate and Craftsman and Wolves as well as a copy of Kerouac’s Dharma Bums from Dog Eared Books before cozying up with a beer at Monk’s Kettle. This was one of the first musts Marv mentioned, so I settled in for Moonlight Brewing Company’s Death & Taxes and a bit of reading. This rich malty beer would prove to be one of my favorites. I also tried Cellarmaker Brewing Company’s Batch 1 Porter, another favorite from the trip, before scurrying to my next adventure: Off the Grid.

Monk's Kettle

Death & Taxes

You may recall my adoration of food trucks, so imagine how downright ecstatic I was to visit one of the city’s established food truck gatherings. Off the Grid at Fort Mason boasted an exciting collaboration of beer tents, trucks and live music: a dream come true! With Magnolia Brewery’s Blue Bell Bitter in hand, we joined the long lines of eager diners encircling every truck. The somewhat earthy, malty ESB went well with the rich Asian Fusion cuisine from KoJa Kitchen and Chairman Bao’s remarkable steamed buns.

Can you imagine having local beer tents at more Upstate events? This night left my full of great food and ideas.

[Continue reading for Part 2]



A new bill is on the way that could change the beer landscape in SC. See what’s being proposed in Brook Bristow’s excellent write-up. When more information becomes available about how to support this bill, I’ll be sure to share.



You might remember not long ago that we looked at what it would take to land either Stone Brewing or Deschutes Brewery as both look to expand to the east coast. ( Now, most laugh this off and think that there is no way that South Carolina could ever hope to land either of these breweries or any other large brewery looking to expand east. And in the past, that has certainly been true. However, that is not the case any longer. Or at least it won’t be soon. Hope is on the horizon for South Carolina.

A team from the Department of Commerce and the South Carolina Brewers Association has been working extremely hard to open the doors for Stone, Deschutes, and any other brewery looking to move east (as well as to improve the existing laws for South Carolina breweries and brewpubs). Now, whether this hard…

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Community Tap Craft Beer Festival

Let’s get straight to the point: never miss the Community Tap Craft Beer Festival!

From the location to the organization to the selection of beers, this was a spectacular festival. The food was so-soand items unfortunately ran out too soonbut I was there for the beer anyway.

I started the event at a familiar table, Brewery 85, with a sip of Sweet Tea Sour and quick conversation with Will. This was the start of one of my favorite aspects of the festival: the social spirit. I saw a lot of acquaintances, from old co-workers to friends to some of my favorite people I first met when I poured them Anderson Valley’s Winter Solstice at Greenville’s Craft Beer Festival last year. The vast majority of the tables were manned by actual brewery representatives, all friendly and knowledgeable. An inescapable, convivial atmosphere filled the venue.

I made it through 39 different brews, and here are a few of my favorites:

  • Anderson Valley’s Huge Arker Barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout – Be forewarned: this is a “call a cab before you drink” beer. A boozy option, Huge Arker doesn’t hide that it’s been aged in Wild Turkey 101 barrels. This bourbon-loving beer drinking thoroughly enjoyed this one.
  • Wetten Imports’ Gouden Carolus Tripel  – This smooth sip with simple, fruity highlights is begging to be added to your summer repertoire.
  • Dogfish Head’s Positive Contact
  • Avery Brewing’s Tweak – To all of the coffee lovers: this one tastes like someone accidentally poured a little beer into an espresso. The coffee flavor is intense.
  • Highland’s BriBar ESB
  • Coast’s Saison Du Fus – I enjoyed this slightly tart optionand not just because drinking it meant I got to meet one of my beer idols, Jaime, founder of SC Brewer’s Association.
  • Stillwater Omnipollo Remix of Premium
  • Windy Hill’s ciders – This was the surprise of the afternoon because many of my beer loving friends who dismissed the joy of a good cider break fell in love this local spot. The chap behind the tap recommended mixing the Ginger Gold with a favorite beer; I’ll have to try that some time.

I really cannot express how perfect this event was. Don’t miss getting your tickets next year!