Greenville Craft Beer Week

Greenville Craft Beer Week

Don’t miss the city’s first Craft Beer Week. Designed by local beer geniuses, these seven days do a great job of highlighting the exceptional beers available locally. Here’s where I plan to be each night:

Monday: Greenville Hop House’s Meet and Greet with Ben Pierson from Swamp Rabbit Brewery (I’ll still be in SF during thus, but I highly recommend you go in my place!)

Tuesday: Thomas Creek’s Cask Night

Wednesday: Game Night at Brewery 85

Thursday: Quest + Terrapin’s Collaboration release

Friday: Homebrew Competition at Grapes & Grain

Saturday: Community Tap’s Beer FESTIVAL!

Sunday: Beer Brunch at The Bohemian

Brewery 85’s First Cask

Brewery 85 began hard hours today! Start planning your visits for Thurs-Fri 4-7 and Sat noon-4.

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They started this monumental day with a special cask of Quittin Time with strawberry and peppercorns. I moved from this spicy, slightly sweet version to the latest batch of Quittin Time, brewed with a different yeast. Despite a lower ABV, it still had a head-swimming kick.

Brewery 85 is dog-friendly, prepare to be greeted by the bar-height great dane, Scout, and an energetic English boxer, Buddy.

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Milk Stout Risotto

Step aside white wine: beer is my new favorite risotto ingredient.

As much as I love beer, I’m always reluctant to cook with it. All I can think is, I could be drinking that instead of taking a chance on cooking!

After purchasing a growler of Westbrook’s Udderly Milk Stout from Greenville Hop House, I knew I’d have a few ounces of beer to spare. I searched “milk stout recipes” on Pinterest, expecting cake and cookie concoctions. Instead, I found a risotto, one of my favorite things to cook.

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You can see many of the ingredients in action or soon to take the stage: Arborio rice, beer, onions, garlic and thyme simmer, while sautéed mushrooms, roasted butternut squash and Parmesan cheese await the final flourish.

The finished product isn’t the prettiest risotto I’ve ever made, but it’s certainly one of the tastiest!

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I’ve baked beer bread a few times, but this is the first real cooking experience I’ve had with beer. Have you ever cooked with beer? Please share the recipe!

Meet Brewery 85’s 864 Weizen

Brewery 85's 864 Weizen

Guess who got a little excited and drank 75% of her beer before taking a picture.

The first batch of 864 Weizen graced Brewery 85’s taps this evening with all it’s wheaty glory. Let’s not beat around the bush: it’s pretty damn good. Yeoman’s Brown Ale is still my favorite, but 864 takes a very, very close second.

And what’s up with the 864 name? With the help of Riverbend Malt House and SouthYeast Labs, Brewery 85 has produced a beer made entirely of locally sourced ingredients. It’s a taste of the Upstate!

I had a great time at the bar, chatting with a variety of Proterra employees, Meredith McCameron and Jeremy. Everyone at this brewery is so friendly; don’t be afraid to pop in alone for a pint.

Remember that lemony, one-off beer I wrote about tasting during the tour? Turns out it’ll be available at Brewvival this weekend as Sweet Tea Sour. Don’t miss this last chance to sip a unique beer!

Don’t miss another beer release from the talented Will McCameron and his new brewmaster, who starts next month. You can follow Brewery 85 on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Untapped.

Swamp Rabbit Brewery Takes Shape

After the excitement of the World Beer Festival Saturday night, I woke up Sunday to more good times ahead: Swamp Rabbit Brewery & Taproom put out a call on Facebook volunteers and watchers to join them Monday morning as their tanks arrived and were installed.

Tanks awaiting their new home

Tanks awaiting their new home

I set out early Monday morning from Columbia, thankful for the work holiday, and arrived shortly after the trucks were unloaded and local news had packed up. These top o’ the line tanks traveled all the way from JV Northwest in Portland, OR. Although the third truck broke down in Idaho with the brewer’s platform, the team wasted no time setting up everything possible, bringing the brewery one step closer to opening day.

I spent about an hour on the sidewalk, learning about every nook and cranny of this future brewery. The interior boasts a warm, industrial style, with metalwork and a rich wood pattern drawing the eye to the bar. The large sidewalk has patio-seating potential. It was exciting to begin picturing the length of tanks that will be placed right out in the open behind the bar, to imagine the jovial conversations and brew-filled glasses clinking.

Teresa Pierson, General Manager and wife of Brew Master, Ben, was warm and enthusiastic. She answered all my questions and then some. I was beyond impressed with Ben’s brewing resume; there isn’t enough room in this blog to fit all of his accomplishments, from training in Germany to brewing at Asheville’s Green Man and LAB, to even winning a bronze GABF award. And now Traveler’s Rest has the privilege of him brewing in town.

Ben took a short break to chat, too. Dressed in his black “Godfather of Beer” shirt, he shared his plans for the brewery and talked about the beers he has in store. He’s a classical brewer, which shows in his opening day line-up: an IPA, an APA and a witbier. They also have plans for a marzen, and during my visit, a box of chocolate flavor arrived for a chocolate stout.

Ben also talked about the importance of using American-made products, and I was impressed by the local touches—fixtures, artwork and various building elements—within the brewery.20140125-212150.jpg

TR could not ask for a kinder and more experienced brewer to set up shop. This good-natured family proved keen to not only see the brewery succeed, but to make it a valuable asset of the TR community.

I look forward to sharing a beer with this passionate crew again soon, and I’ll be sure to share the official March opening date as soon as I hear.

Follow Swamp Rabbit on Facebook and Twitter for (significantly better than mine) photos of the tank arrival as well as news about this TR brewery.