Year after year, busloads of beer aficionados ascend on COAST Brewing Company for what’s considered one of the best beer festivals in the Southeast. And now, just like that, the fifth installment of Brewvival is in our rearview mirror.
Early reports called for rain and scattered thunderstorms, but, unlike last year, the sun shined on Saturday and it was a beautiful day. There was no need for rubber boots or raincoats, and there certainly wasn’t any reason to bundle up in multiple layers.
But like past years, the festival lived up to every bit of hype. COAST Brewing Company and The Charleston Beer Exchange somehow find a way to improve the layout and boost their ever-growing beer list every year.
The layout of the festival was the best yet — the more space, the better. It’s obviously tough to work with a limited amount of pavement available when a monsoon hits Charleston (Remember Brewvival 2013?), but pushing the food trucks towards the back of the brewery and centralizing all the sud- pouring taps really helped with the flow. It also helps that the beer was good. Very good.
Locals Frothy Beard Brewing Company and Freehouse Brewery made their Brewvival debut with creative, enjoyable brews like the Jalapeño Cilantro Pale Ale and the Lucky Oyster Stout randallized with steamed local oysters, respectively. Out of Greenville, newcomer Brewery 85 won over wheat fans with a bold medley of orange, bananas, and cloves in their 864 Weizen.
Veteran Charleston breweries brought their A-game, too. COAST Brewing Company busted out some of the first batch of the rich, bourbon filled Old Nuptial Barleywine, while Westbrook Brewing Company poured Bourbon Barrel-Aged Cap’n Skoon’s Ballistic Stout. Palmetto took the popular espresso porter and aged it in bourbon barrels, while Holy City Brewing brewed four brand-new beers with four different regional breweries.
New to the festival this year was Wicked Weed Brewing out of Asheville, N.C. They teamed up with Holy City to brew Holy Weed, a big double IPA made with green tea leaves from Charleston Tea Plantation. As expected, it was big, hoppy, floral, and truly outstanding. We can only hope there’s some left.
Out of Louisville, Against the Grain brought a complete lineup of winners. Brewed in collaboration with De Molen, Bo & Luke is a rich, chocolaty stout with a big bourbon profile that comes from Pappy Van Winkle barrels. The Brett the Hipman Hop yielded a funky IPA with big citrus notes.
Those lucky enough to find the Jester King booth within the first 40 minutes were able to get sample of the funky and tart raspberry Atrial Rubicite, poured by Jester King’s very own Ron Extract.
Also stepping it up this year was River Dog Brewing Company. They were pouring four outstanding beers right out the gate. From the cask, the Kreekside Kriek with dark cherries was fruity and tart without being over the top. The Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrel-Aged Quad was bold and beautiful.
It was surely an event to remember and we can only begin to count down the days unitl Brewvival 2015. Let us know what you were drinking.