Monday, December 21, 2009

Lemmy in Moscow!

British heavy metal band Motorhead come to Moscow

MOSCOW, RUSSIA. DECEMBER 21, 2009. Motorhead bassist Lemmy Kilmister performs at the Luzhniki Small Sports Arena during their tour of Russia. (Photo ITAR-TASS / Vladimir Astapkovich) Photo via Newscom / Content © 2009 Newscom All rights reserved.
British heavy metal band Motorhead come to Moscow

British heavy metal band Motorhead come to Moscow

Dressing -- and undressing -- in the display window

CNN had a feature on these live window-display models for XOXO in NYC. They really were changing their clothes in the window display, while an enraptured, mostly male, crowd looked on.


Models dress each other in the holiday window displays at XOXO Live in New York City. (Alan Behr/MCT) Photo via Newscom
Content © 2009 Newscom All rights reserved.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Last-minute gifts -- beer and pop culture

Gift suggestions for all budgets!
Norm Peterson from Cheers!

The "real" Michael Jackson!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

An expensive brew

It’s the 2009 edition of Samuel Adams Utopias, a dark blend of batches, aged in bourbon ca

The Boston Beer Co., makers of Samuel Adams, has taken beer to a new extreme.

Utopias, the company's biennial beer, has been upgraded: 27 percent alcohol by volume.

It comes in a 24-ounce bottle of ceramic and copper that looks like a brew kettle, at only $150 each.

But you probably won't find it in South Carolina.

In May 2007, the S.C. General Assembly passed a law allowing stronger beers to be sold in the state. Previously, the law allowed only beers that contained 6 percent alcohol by volume or less. The 2007 law raised the cap to 17.5 percent alcohol by volume, allowing numerous beer styles and imports to enter the state legally.

But at 27 percent, Utopias is illegal in South Carolina. Thanks a lot, Boston Beer Co.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009

After the age of 25, we become slowly rotting fruit...

After the age of 25, we pretty much become slowly rotting fruit -- and this is a good thing. Consider it the miracle of fermentation.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Australian Champagne Dash for Ladies

I'm not making this up. It's the GH Mumm Champagne Dash for Ladies during the Paspaley Polo In The City in Centennial Park on November 21, 2009 in Sydney, Australia.

Paspaley Polo In The City

Paspaley Polo In The City

Paspaley Polo In The City

(Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)
Content © 2009 Getty Images All rights reserved.

Strongly recommended: 2 Below by New Belgium

Yesterday, I picked up 2 Below Ale, the winter seasonal from New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Fantastic. It might be lighter than you would expect from a winter seasonal. It's a touch on the hoppy side, with a very pleasing malt character. The alcohol by volume is 6.6 percent.

I bought a sixer for $8.59 at Owens Liquors, 8000 North Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach.

Friday, November 20, 2009

New Moon on Monday

... is a song by Duran Duran, not a date at the movies, damn it!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Doesn't he get to see those ALL THE TIME?

The Blind Side New York Premiere

Faith Hill and Tim McGraw at the New York premiere of "The Blind Side" on Tuesday. McGraw plays a role in the movie.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Jogging with a cigar

Just to make sure I don't get too healthy.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Foothills "Sexual Chocolate" makes a stop at The Market Common

Foothills Brewing Co. of Winston-Salem will be selling growlers of its beers, including its "Sexual Chocolate" brew, at the Piggly Wiggly at The Market Common in Myrtle Beach, 4-7 p.m. today (Nov. 6).

Foothills Brewing makes some AMAZING beers -- don't miss this event!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Important Halloween Announcement

Colin Burch reminds you that a cute witch, by morning, usually becomes an ugly princess.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Red Stripe in a can?

In the U.S., have you ever seen Red Stripe in a can?

I haven't. I just saw an ad with canned Red Stripe on the site for Q magazine, a U.K. music publication.

Anyone know where you can find canned Red Stripe in the States?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Jon Bon Jovi performed at the New Giants Stadium today

Jon Bon Jovi Performs Live at the New Giant's Stadium

22 October 2009 - East Rutherford, New Jersey. Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora. Gearing up for the November 10th album release The Circle, Bon Jovi will return to their native New Jersey for an exclusive homecoming performance to open up the New Giants Stadium planned for 2010.

Jon Bon Jovi Performs Live at the New Giant's Stadium

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The boss in Pennsylvania!


Bruce Springsteen performs at the Wachovia Spectrum on Monday, October 20, 2009, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Elizabeth Robertson/Philadelphia Inquirer/MCT) Photo via Newscom Content © 2009 Newscom All rights reserved. Accessed via PicApp.

Monday, October 19, 2009

My public confession

Today, I made the following public confession in each of the classes I teach at CCU:

"I have a confession to make, and I need to go ahead and get this out of the way.

"It's difficult, but I will make this confession.

"N.C. State has no football team this year."

-Colin Foote Burch, English, NCSU, Class of 1995

Friday, October 9, 2009

Wine & beer tasting in Pawleys Island

Event: Wine and Beer tasting

Start Time: Thursday, October 15 at 5:00pm

End Time: Thursday, October 15 at 7:00pm

Where: Pawleys Wine & Spirits, 10135 Ocean Hwy, Pawleys Island, SC

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Good news, moderates!

TRONDHEIM, Norway, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Abstaining from alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of depression, researchers in Norway found.

Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and the University of Bergen said it has long been recognized that excessive alcohol consumption can lead to poor physical and mental health. The researchers -- using data from the Nord-Trondelag Health study that provided information on the drinking habits and mental health of more than 38,000 people -- showed those who reported drinking no alcohol during a two-week period were more likely than moderate drinkers to report symptoms of depression.

Read the full story here.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Oktoberfest tomorrow at The Market Common!

Get information on tomorrow's Oktoberfest, sponsored by the Weekly Surge, here and here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Oktoberfest tapping at TBonz!

At 4 p.m. tomorrow -- that's Sept. 17 -- TBonz will hold an early tapping of its Oktoberfest brew at the Barefoot Landing location, at the southern end of North Myrtle Beach.

The Oktoberfest will be on tap at the other TBonz locations on Friday (Sept. 18).

The beer is produced by New South Brewing Co. in Myrtle Beach.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Dr. House should prescribe Ritalin to Kanye

You know it's only right.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Magic Hat's Hallowen 12-pack

It's finally out there, now that Labor Day is gone: The Halloween/autumn edition of the Magic Hat seasonal 12-pack.

For $15.49 at my neighbhorhood Food Lion in Myrtle Beach, I can purchase three #9's, three Odd Notions, three Circus Boys, and three Roxy Rolles in a single package.

And I dig the package design. I always loved the skeletons for Halloween.

Friday, September 4, 2009

'Blind Faith' now available!

Hi everyone! That ridiculous-looking blindfolded guy on the cover of the Weekly Surge is -- wait for it -- me.

The cover story, "Blind Faith: Beerman's Local Brew Crew Taste-Tests Budget Beers," will let you know how to get the best possible cheap beers this Labor Day weekend.

Pick up your free copy of the Weekly Surge at area grocery stores and publication racks.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

It's in the (aluminum) cans

I finished my Weekly Surge cover story on the Cheap Beer Taste Test, featuring Dave Epstein and Brock Kurtzman of New South Brewing Co., Eric Lamb of Liberty Steakhouse and Brewery, and Pete Velez of Gordon Biersch.

The beers? The tasting notes? The results?

Look for all the answer in this coming Thursday's edition of the Weekly Surge.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tomorrow, I get shot, blindfolded

That's right -- I will be photographed for an upcoming cover of the Weekly Surge. Scott Smallin will do the shooting.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Coffee for dogs

I was on the back patio this morning, throwing the tennis ball into the yard so Lucy, a four-month-old black lab-great dane mix, could play fetch.

Mosquitoes began to accumulate on my legs, so I placed my cup of Cashua Coffee's Mocha Java on the bricks encircling a tree.

Lucy sniffed the cup, and then started lapping.

She even came back to it, and lapped it until the cup tipped over.

Oddly enough, she is still, at the present moment, taking her normal mid-morning nap.

Must not have made it strong enough.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

MB brewers try six cheap beers in taste test

I'm writing an upcoming cover story for the Weekly Surge which will feature the results of my Cheap Beer Taste Test.

Four local guys in the brewing business tasted six cheap beers from cups labeled only with A, B, C, D, E, and F.

They didn't know it, but those beers were: Pabst Blue Ribbon, Miller High Life, Steel Reserve, South Paw Light, Milwaukee's Best Ice, and Natural Light.

Who were the brewers, and what were their opinions of these beers? Look for upcoming editions of the Weekly Surge to find out.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cheap beer taste-test

I'm trying to gin-up a cheap beer taste-test among our local brewers, for a Weekly Surge cover story.

Any suggestions on which beers I should use in the taste test? Of course, I have some in mind already, but I'm open to suggestions. The beers must be cheaper than $5 per six pack.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Wearable beer dispenser?

Apparently ... yes.

Click here to read about it, and see a pic.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Guinness really is good for you, new research suggests

According to the BBC:

The old advertising slogan "Guinness is Good for You" may be true after all, according to researchers.

A pint of the black stuff a day may work as well as a low dose aspirin to prevent heart clots that raise the risk of heart attacks.

Drinking lager does not yield the same benefits, experts from University of Wisconsin told a conference in the US.

Guinness were told to stop using the slogan decades ago - and the firm still makes no health claims for the drink.

The Wisconsin team tested the health-giving properties of stout against lager by giving it to dogs who had narrowed arteries similar to those in heart disease.

They found that those given the Guinness had reduced clotting activity in their blood, but not those given lager.

Read the full article here.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Miller High Life minis

"High Life" comes at a cheap price. I bought eight squat, little bottles for $3.69 at the local Food Lion.

These little half-size bottles are hilarious -- who drinks them? What's the appeal? Portability?

All kidding aside, for a cheap beer, Miller High Life has some roots. There's the long-standing name brand. There's the art deco-era symbol of a young woman sitting on a crescent moon.

I actually think I like the taste.

Did I just say that publicly?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

CNN's Ed Henry: Why not Sam Adams for Obama, Gates, Crowley summit?

CNN's Ed Henry had a good point: Samuel Adams is an all-American brew, the largest American-owned brewer. Why not pour some Boston Lager for the Obama, Gates, and Crowley summit this evening?

Apparently, the selection of the best beer is somewhat controversial.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Redhook Tripel Belgian Style Ale: Limited Edition

I found a Redhook Limited Edition Tripel at the store two days ago.

I hope it's not too limited -- I want to pick up another.

Redhook's Tripel has berry notes, and perhaps a more subtle flavor than some of its Belgian counterparts.

The one-pint, 6-ounce bottle was priced at $6 and change.

Very good -- buy a bottle while you can.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Casting out the estrogen with Rush and Iron Maiden

Kristi's in Chicago, Maggie's at camp in the N.C. mountains, Sadie's on a roadtrip with grandparents, and a friend took Audrey to spend last night.

For the first time since we moved, our new house became a bachelor pad.

Lucky me, the VH1 Classic channel was broadcasting full-length concerts of Rush and Iron Maiden yesterday evening -- both filmed in Rio de Janiero!

With no one else around, I could listen to the concerts at a suitable volume.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Beastie Boy MCA, Adam Yauch, has cancer

Sad news, but the type of cancer he has should be treatable. Watch the video below.

Fris vodka

I recently discovered Fris, a Danish vodka that is allegedly "freeze distilled," whatever that means. Either way, 750 ml for $13 and change (after tax) isn't a bad deal.

While my beloved Ketel One has a bit more of a mineral touch and a hint of marshmellow -- and while my equally beloved Firefly has that mellow muscadine touch -- Fris has a lighter body and more delicate flavors with a refreshing finish. I might add Fris to my favorites list.

Have you tried Fris? What do you think? Click the comment link and let us know.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Troops getting beer and pizza for July 4

Here’s some patriotism for you: Beer and pizza, born on the Fourth of July.

MillerCoors has decided to donate 8,000 cases of beer to U.S. troops in the Middle East, according to

The beers – all 192,000 of them – will be shipped in time for the troops to celebrate Independence Day. No word on whether those brewskies will remain chilled on the way over.

The donation is being made through Pizzas 4 Patriots, a nonprofit which will send 25,000 pizzas from Pizzeria Uno along with cases of Coors Light and Miller Lite.

The beer and pizza were scheduled to be loaded onto a DHL jet at John F. Kennedy International Airport last weekend. DHL, a shipping company, is another corporate sponsor of Pizzas 4 Patriots.

MillerCoors is a joint venture formed last year that combined U.S. brewing operations for Molson Coors Brewing Co. and SABMiller PLC, according to

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Coffee and beer

I think both coffee and the darker beers -- browns, porters, stouts -- should be full-bodied and hearty while staying far away from bitterness.

This can be a little tough for American tastes (not to offer a comparison with any other cultural-national identity).

I remember talking to a woman, while I was standing behind the counter at the dearly departed Living Room Coffee Bar & Used Books in Myrtle Beach. She did not like Starbucks's coffee. We carried on a mutually affirming rant against Starbucks's bitterness.

I assured her that a coffee from Timor, which I had fresh in the big Fetco air pots, would avoid bitterness. It was darker, and full-bodied, but not bitter. The label of the coffee, roasted by Larry's Beans, noted smoothness and a walnut tone.

I thought I was about to make a convert.

But when she tried it, her response was, "No. No." She looked disappointed. My beautiful Timor coffee did not surpass Starbucks, not to her tastes anyway.

So she left, and while I might be confusing her with someone else, I think she wanted directions to Dunkin' Donuts.

So the difficulty in communicating -- darker beers as well as full-bodied coffees -- continues on.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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Monday, June 8, 2009

Unusual vodka flavors

From one of the sidebars with my Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka cover story in the Weekly Surge.

Sweet tea flavored vodka makes sense to most of the folks we know.

But some flavored vodkas don't sound like such great ideas – peculiar at best.

We dug up a few unusual flavored vodkas and gave them thoughtful consideration.

Bakon Vodka: Comedian Jim Gaffigan once said, “To improve other food, they wrap it in bacon.” Now he must be weeping with joy. A product of Seattle-based Black Rock Spirits, the bacon-flavored vodka is only available in Washington state – so far. “This is the only vodka you’ll ever want to use to make a Bloody Mary,” the Bakon Web site boasts.

Charbay Green Tea Vodka: Everyone knows that green tea provides outstanding health benefits, and Napa Valley distillery Charbay offers just what you’d expect from California: The right to get smashed under the pretense that drinking Green Tea Vodka is really good for you. No word on how much better you'll feel in the morning if you go with a non-green-tea vodka.

DoubleEspresso Vodka: Maybe this will help if you’re tired – tired of relying on that same old Red Bull and vodka pick-me-up. Apparently concerned that its own Espresso Vodka won’t do the trick, the Van Gogh Vodka company also offers a Double Espresso Vodka, complete with “double caffeine,” to make sure we can party all night and at least 'til noon.

Three Olives Grape Vodka: If you want to spike grape Kool-Aid, why not just add Everclear?

Rehorst Citrus & Honey Vodka: The classic home remedy for sore throats with a new twist: vodka instead of whiskey. Rehorst has taken the two dominant flavors in TheraFlu Nighttime Severe Cold & Cough and added them to the potentially antiseptic flavor of vodka. Rehorst Citrus & Honey Vodka is now available in the cold & flu section of your local drug store.

-Colin Foote Burch


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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Do you like FireFly Sweet Tea Vodka?

June is National Iced Tea Month, so I'm writing an article on FireFly Sweet Tea Vodka for the Weekly Surge.

If you're in the restaurant business and like FireFly Sweet Tea Vodka, let me know! Click the "comments" link below.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Hysterical: Jeremiah Weed So. Style Sweet Tea Vodka to sponsor tire air in racing cars

Must see:

Growing hops in the Carolinas

Recently I had dinner with some Myrtle Beach-area homebrewing enthusiasts who said they grow their own hops.

Dave Epstein of New South Brewing in Myrtle Beach recently purchased some hop rhizomes, but didn't sound too optimistic about their prospects. He said they don't tend to grow well in the Carolinas.

Have you tried to grow hops in the Carolinas? Any luck? Tips?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

New South's canning machine once belonged to Dale's Pale Ale

Last night, New South Brewing Co. in Myrtle Beach was hosting a customer appreciation night. I asked owner Dave Epstein, "Where's the canning machine?"

I was expecting something with conveyer belts, but instead, the canning machine was merely a stainless steel countertop with three no-so-large machines attached to it.

Basically, this machine fills two cans at a time. "Very labor intensive," Epstein said.

(In the image immediately above, Epstein stands beside the part of the machine that fills two cans at a time, with sensors for an automatic shut-off.)

The cool thing? That very machine used to belong to Dale's Pale Ale, which has grown into a larger canning operation and partnered with Paste magazine for some free downloads.

New South has been held up by several tiny details on their can label. The division formerly known at ATF (can't remember the new name) has been asking New South to tweak parts of the White Ale label, and then tweak other parts of the label, for months now.

The image immediately above is the final stage in the canning process, when six cans become a six-pack. Epstein was told the machine could produce 25 cases per hour.

P.S. -- Paste is the coolest magazine ever, and it happens to need your help.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Looking for votes: What's your favorite spring seasonal beer?

TBonz Gill & Grill recently released its American Pale Ale (produced by New South Brewing Co.) at Myrtle Beach area locations. It's the perfect spring seasonal.

But it's also very local.

What are your choices for favorite spring seasonal, in your town, or nationwide?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Another reaction to the Myrtle Beach helmet law

At least one local church knows how to reach out during Bike Week.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Dale's Pale Ale, Paste magazine offer free downloads

Even though Paste magazine is struggling, they're still one of the best magazines on music, film, books, and culture.

They've hooked up with Dale's Pale Ale to offer free downloads. Visit the "Dale's Pale Ale Paste Downlow'd Club" here.

And look for the banner on this blog or click here to help save Paste.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Good deals at the Myrtle Beach Pelicans game

On tap: Shock Top white ale and Budweiser American Ale.

Twenty-four ounce cups of draft or 24-ounce cans of Bud, Bud Light, and Bud Select: $6 each.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

TBonz's American Pale Ale

Good news, everyone -- TBonz's new American Pale Ale is outstanding.

It's just what we need in these times: quality worth getting excited about.

American Pale Ale is Brock Kurtzman's first recipe for New South Brewing Co., which brews TBonz's signature beers. Kurtzman helps New South owner Dave Epstein while also keeping the bar at Mellow Mushroom, home of an extensive beer collection.

Like many pale ales, this beer has a strong citrus-like flavor. I definitely thought about grapefruit juice during my first sips of American Pale Ale.

Check out TBonz's Grand Strand locations here.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Beer yawns

Does anyone else get the yawns when drinking beer?

I mean, beer as opposed to other adult beverages.

Friday, May 1, 2009

RJ Rockers' Son of a Peach

The RJ Rockers guys told me Son of a Peach would be on the Grand Strand about now -- I had met them at the inaugural Myrtle Beach Beer Fest sponsored by the Weekly Surge.

I tried Son of a Peach earlier this evening at Longbeard's, which is one of my favorite restaurants on the Grand Strand.

Longbeard's had draft pints of Son of a Peach for $4.

I'm going to keep my opinion of this peach-flavored beer to myself temporarily. I'll eventually say what I think, but have you tried it? What's your opinion? Use the comment link to let sound off.

Liberty Steakhouse and Brewery to hold Brewmaster Dinners

I went to the first Brewmaster Dinner at Liberty Steakhouse & Brewery in Myrtle Beach, SC, this past Wednesday evening, and another will likely take place in late May.

In fact, the Liberty folks might even make it a monthly event.

The $35 dinner began with a pint of anything on tap, followed by a tour of the brewing facility conducted by Eric Lamb, the brew chief at Liberty.

Then the dinner included pairings with four courses: appetizer, soup-and-salad, entree, and dessert. I will write about the full experience in my next column for The Weekly Surge.

And stay tuned for more information on the next Brewmaster Dinner.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday brunch beers

Personally, I think the best choices are lighter beers with no added fruit flavors.

Try Pilsner Urquell, Maisel's Weisse Kristall, or Duvel. Blonde ales might pass with brunch fare, too, but I think big domestic light beers probably will not offer a real flavor profile.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Dark beers in warm weather?

A recent Anheuser-Busch press release made a compelling case for keeping dark beers – especially the company’s Michelob Dunkel Weisse and Beck’s Dark – in the refrigerator during the spring and summer months.

“Explore how Michelob Dunkel Weisse’s toasted caramel malt complements smoked Gouda or contrasts the salty and milky flavors of feta,” the release said. “Save Beck’s Dark for dessert – on its own or as part of a vanilla ice cream float.”

After trying New South Brewing Co.’s Irish Stout with cheese cake during the Myrtle Beach Beer Fest’s Brewmaster Dinner last month, I have to say the Anheuser-Busch marketing folks have a fair point.

But it’s not likely to change the habits of beer drinkers. When Josh Quigley, of Quigley's Pint & Plate in Pawleys Island, was brewing at Liberty Steakhouse and Brewery in Myrtle Beach years ago, he could put a stout on in May and it might last all the way until September.

The inverse is true of lighter beers. “My lager sales definitely slow down in the winter and pick up in the summer,” Quigley said.

“This will be the last dark beer I’ll put on until September,” Quigley said of the Angels Share stout.
Contact Colin Burch - the Beerman - at

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Call for YOUR beer-drinking playlist

Beer-drinking needs the proper accompaniment.

Country-Western or classic rock, pop or heavy metal, there are some tunes that fit and some that don't.

What goes with classical? Heineken? What goes with rap? What's Ad-Rock's fav?

Anyway, hit the COMMENTS link below and paste in YOUR favorite beer-drinking playlist.

We'll pick the coolest and share it with readers.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Beer beats wine on Earth Day

I can imagine some guys mocking this hippie Earth Day stuff, but let's face it: nothing honors Mother Earth quite like beer drinking.

Beer is made from water, yeast, hops, and grains -- an all-natural recipe far more complex than mere grapes and water, as a Highland Brewing Co. representative reminded me recently.

So beer is a far better way to celebrate Earth Day. Drink up!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Send the Federal Government on a beer run

Give the Federal Government $20 and send it on a beer run.

It will return with about $10 worth of cheap beer.

And there will be almost enough for everyone.

The Federal Government will need just $20 more to make another beer run, just to make sure everyone has enough.

And then it will return with about $9 worth of cheap beer.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Craft brewing makes strong showing

As economic health has declined, the U.S. craft-brewing industry is fit, strong, and growing.

Craft brewing is doing very well across the U.S., according to recently released statistics from the Brewers Association.

In one respect, the statistics don’t matter. The beer business tends to keep jogging along even when other economic sectors are panting and doubled-over.

“I don’t want to say beer is recession-proof, but it certainly stands up among consumables,” said Pete Velez, chief brewer at Gordon Biersch Restaurant Brewery at The Market Common on the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base.

Recent statistics underscore beer’s thriving place in our economy.

Sixty-one brewpubs opened in 2007 in the U.S., and the same number opened in 2008, according to the Brewers Association.

Fifty-seven microbreweries opened in 2007, followed by 53 a year later.

The statistics on closings provide a sharper focus.

Fifty-three brewpubs closed in 2007, while only 42 closed in 2008.

Twenty microbreweries closed in 2007; only nine closed in 2008.

Look at this way – in 2008 alone, while the economy started getting sick, the U.S. had:

-A net gain of 19 brewpubs, and

-A net gain of 44 microbreweries.

The Brewers Association also said 1, 483 U.S. craft breweries were operating in 2008, an increase of 63 from the previous year. That figure combines regional craft breweries, microbreweries, and brewpubs.

When so many other industries are suffering layoffs and closings, the beer industry is as healthy as ever.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Beer-food pairing notes from Myrtle Beach

The night before the beer fest, I went to the Brewmasters Dinner at TBonz Gill & Grill in Myrtle Beach.

The five-course dinner was hosted by Epstein of New South Brewing, which makes the TBonz brand beers.

As the evening progressed, Epstein offered some pointers worth passing along.

1. Beer-and-food pairings are subjective, but the first rule is simple: “The stronger the flavor, the stronger the beer,” Epstein said. So lighter beers went with lighter fare. The Lowcountry Light Lager was paired with the Tomato Florentine Soup, and the Market Street Wheat went with the salad.

2. Spicy foods – like beer-boiled shrimp with Old Bay or calamari with a spicy marinara sauce – go well with beers like the India Pale Ale, which relies on the bitterness of hops. (That bitterness will strike some palates as spicy.)

3. For steaks, you probably want something robust, like a red ale. “The red still has a little bit of a hop bite to it, but it relies more on malt character,” Epstein said. The Cooper River Red paired well with the New York Strip.

The big surprise for me: Irish Stout is sublime with cheesecake drizzled with chocolate sauce.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

WSJ: Anheuser-Busch InBev might sell Rolling Rock

From the Wall Street Journal:

Brewing giant Anheuser-Busch InBev NV is exploring the sale of its storied but struggling Rolling Rock brand, according to people familiar with the matter.

The potential sale comes three years after Anheuser-Busch Cos. bought Rolling Rock from Belgian brewer InBev NV for $82 million.
[Visitors look over a display case of beers made by the Anheuser-Busch Cos. July 14, 2008 in St. Louis, Missouri. Anheuser-Busch Cos. ] Getty Images

Visitors look over a display case of beers made by the Anheuser-Busch InBev in St. Louis, Missouri.

InBev, whose brands include Stella Artois, acquired Anheuser-Busch for about $52 billion this past autumn to form the world's largest beer maker by sales, and is selling assets to help repay debt from the deal.

Sales of Rolling Rock, whose ad slogan is "Born Small Town," have been on the decline in recent years. But the brand could appeal to beer companies seeking to expand in the U.S. market by scooping up an established name. The pale lager, which originated 70 years ago in Latrobe, Pa., is sold in distinctive green bottles, and is most popular in the eastern U.S.

Full story here.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Winter Hook Winter Ale still in Redhook variety packs -- and still good

I was surprised that my purchase of a Redhook variety pack would contain a winter seasonal. It's April, right?

But the Winter Hook Winter Ale is still good.

The Redhook variety pack ($15.99 at a local Food Lion) comes in a cardboard box with no window on the contents inside, so the word "seasonal" on the outside didn't let me know what season I was allegedly in.

The pack included three of my personal favorite, Redhook ESB, along with three each of Long Hammer IPA, Blonde Ale, and Winter Hook.

I also tried the Long Hammer IPA last night (for the first time? I can't remember). I give Redhook credit for not over-hopping their IPA. Those highly hopped IPAs are fun for experimentation and maybe some pairings, but for drinkability, I'll stick with the basic IPA recipe.

By the way, I recently re-discovered the IPA produced by our local New South Brewing Co. -- outstanding.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Beer notes...

* The inaugural Myrtle Beach Beer Fest was a huge success. I'll have more to say about it soon.

* Pete Velez of Gordon Biersch told me (at the fest) that he was planning to have an oak-aged winter bock on tap earlier this week.

* I saw the design for New South Brewing's canned White Ale, and it hits all the right notes: it has a classy microbrew appeal while also appearing bright, fresh, and upbeat.

* Liberty Steakhouse and Brewery will soon have (if it doesn't already) a blackberry beer on tap. Eric Lamb told me that the price for raspberries has gone through the roof.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Act 2 and Potatoheads to play Beer Fest

Mike Shank of Festival Promotions has announced the live entertainment for the Myrtle Beach Beer Fest.

Session I, noon-3 p.m.: Act 2

Session II, 4 p.m.-7 p.m.: Potato Heads

The beer fest is at The Market Common on March 28. Get your tickets now!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009

MB Beer Fest Update: food for VIP tent finalized

The Myrtle Beach Beer Fest presented by the Weekly Surge (March 28 at The Market Common) will have a VIP tent with food and as many as 10 beers unavailable to those with regular admission. Mike Shanks of Festival Promotions, who is working on the fest with the Surge, sent an email tonight that updates the VIP beers and grub:

The VIP Ticket is $70 and is tented, includes food, non-alcoholic beverages, additional beers from the general admission, a 5-oz tasting glass and dedicated port-a-johns. Those tickets will not be sold the day of the event, and can be purchased online at or by calling my office at 843-712-2618.

Here is the menu for the VIP Tent:

Spicy Pork and Sauerkraut Sandwiches

Bavarian Potato Salad

Grilled Brats with Hot mustard Onion Relish

German Chocolate Squares

Autumn Apple and Pear Salad with Pecans


Spiced Nuts

I also currently have the following beers for the VIP Tent

Magic Hat Number 9

Stella Artois

Sam Smith Nut Brown

Sam Smith Oatmeal Stout

Delirium Tremens

Sierra Nevada Seasonal Torpedo Ale

Eventually I expect to end up with about 10 beers for the VIP Tent.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Lion Stout at Longbeard's Bar & Grill

Last night I had dinner at Longbeard's Bar & Grill, 5040 Carolina Forest Boulevard (it's on that piece of Carolina Forest Boulevard that sits near U.S. 31, on the east side of River Oaks).

I tried the Breckenridge Avalanche amber ale for the second time. A pint from the tap was $4.25. It's a decent amber, but I should add a precaution for those who like such beers: it's the least-sweet amber I have ever had.

The highlight was Lion Stout in the bottle for $4. This stout from Sri Lanka was, to borrow the words of the late beer critic Michael Jackson, "soft, fresh and quite delicious."

Of course, stouts aren't for everyone, because they tend to have formidible accents of coffee and/or roasted nuts, which strike some palates as mere bitterness.

In the case of Lion Stout, it had just enough chocolately sweetness in the malt to take the edge off the bitterness.

But for those who like the darker beers, Lion should be King of the Stouts.

By the way -- my wife and I loved Longbeard's fried catfish, and we gave our server, Amanda, high marks.

Friday, March 6, 2009

TBonz Gill & Grill taps Irish Stout today

TBonz Gill & Grill locations in Charleston and Myrtle Beach will tap the seasonal Irish Stout today (March 6).

The St. Patty's Day beer is made by New South Brewing Co. of Myrtle Beach.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Not so Pamlico ... amber ale, that is

I recently found Pamlico Amber Ale at the Food Lion near the Forestbrook Road and U.S. 501 exchange (six bottles for $7.79).

Like most craft beers and microbrews, Pamlico Amber Ale has a basic quality to it. Let me put it this way: it's not cheap, mass-produced, straw-colored beer.

Beyond that, it's just not that interesting. The flavor profile doesn't attempt to do very much.

I'll look forward to trying other Pamlico brews.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

New South Brewing to start canning

From my new column in the Weekly Surge:

Soon, you’ll be able to purchase a six-pack of New South Brewing Co.’s White Ale in area grocery stores.

You can already buy the Myrtle Beach microbrewery’s beers at local bars and restaurants. New South has been producing kegs of several types of beer for 10 years.

But now a canning machine is primed and ready to go, said owner Dave Epstein, who has been finalizing the art work and labeling for his cans.

“We’re still on track for late next month or early April,” Epstein said. That’s to start canning. The famous White Ale – the microbrewery’s “flagship” brew – should appear in local package stores and grocers by May, maybe late April.

Beer distributors, rather than New South, will make the sales pitches for the White Ale to individual stores and chains, so Epstein doesn’t yet know for certain where you’ll be able to buy his beer. But those distributors have long-standing relationships with area retailers.

“Anywhere you find a good selection of beer, hopefully you’ll find us,” Epstein said, adding that local golf courses are also a target market.

New South will start with ringed six-packs and White Ale, but of course, Epstein plans for more.

If the microbrewery can keep up with demand during the summer months, and if everything runs smoothly, Epstein will add a second beer in the fall. Twelve-pack cartons are a possibility, eventually.

The price for that locally brewed six-pack? That’s yet to be announced. Epstein noted that the baseline price for most microbrews is $8 for a sixer. Whatever you pay at the checkout counter, Epstein said it will be competitive, on the lower end of the microbrew price scale.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Red Hook's Double Black

Red Hook's ESB is one of my all-time favorites.

Their Double Black, a limited release, is about as dark as I like it: an Imperial Stout "enhanced by coffee and dark malts with a big, roasty flavor," according to the label.

I liked the smoothness. The bitterness did not overwhelm my taste buds. I could also tell, much like my experiences with Rogue beers, that the water used in the brewing process was high-quality.

I found Red Hook Double Black in a one-pint, six-ounce bottle for $4.79 at Kroger in the Galleria shopping center, corner of Lake Arrowhead Road and U.S. 17.

Again, it's a limited release, so seek it while it may be found.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Herren Pilsner at the MB GB

I've been meaning to tell you all -- I visited Gordon Biersch at The Market Common over the weekend, and tried the seasonal Herren Pilsner.

It's unfiltered -- and outstanding.

Chief Brewer Pete Velez's notes on the Herren Pilsner read, "Unfiltered German style pilsner. This spicy flora aroma leads to a delicate body with a lightly hopped bitterness and crisp finish."

Like I said, the waitress said it was a seasonal, so try it soon.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Beach HomeBrew no longer at the Galleria

What happened to Beach HomeBrew? It's no longer in the Galleria shopping center at the corner of U.S. 17 and Lake Arrowhead Road.

And, the Beach HomeBrew MySpace page has disappeared, too.

Does anyone know if the store has relocated?

I hope Ed Waldorf did not go out of business.

But the way this economy has been, a lot of companies have gone out of business.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Best places in Myrtle Beach to drink session beers

In my Weekly Surge column, I recently gave the low-down on session beers and the best places to drink them in the greater Myrtle Beach area. Read it here.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A few words about coffee

Lately, Kristi and I have been starting our days with Cashua Coffee, roasted right here in South Carolina.

Cashua roasts in Florence, roughly a half-way point between owners Jason and Cathy Savage of the Columbia area and Joshua and Neva Campbell of the Myrtle Beach area.

Kristi has known Neva for years, and the Campbells used to hang out in our old, departed coffeehouse, The Living Room Coffee Bar & Used Books in Myrtle Beach.

Kristi and I have been very happy with Cashua's roasts and offerings. So far, we've tried their winter blend, Kenya, Nicaragua, Brazil, Espresso blend, and probably another varietal that I'm forgetting. Cashua has been as good as Larry's Beans (of Raleigh), which we served at The Living Room.

Scroll down this page to find Columbia-area and Myrtle Beach-area retailers that carry Cashua, or order Cashua online by clicking here.

This morning, however, Kristi chose a larger cup than usual, and unaware that I had not poured any coffee for myself, she finished all but what amounted to an inch's worth in the bottom of my mug.

Running late as usual, I compromised.

So now I'm in my office at Coastal Carolina University, sipping a quickly cooling 16-ounce cup of Starbucks Sumatra, purchased at the Piggly Wiggly in Carolina Forest on this freezing, windy morning.

Logging into email, I noticed that Yahoo News announced that Consumer Reports once again has picked Eight O'Clock Bean's Colombian for its best coffee. (Read the report here.)

Starbucks, Consumer Reports said, did not rank among the top ten coffees.

I've heard this Eight O'Clock Bean claim several times before. It's a consistent winner among big media outlets, like network morning shows, as well as Consumer Reports. But I've tried it before and wasn't impressed. Something of body and quality seemed to be missing. Larry's Beans, Cashua Coffee, and even Starbucks seem to offer broader flavor profiles. But because I am a devoted coffee drinker, I will give Eight O'Clock Bean's Colombian another try sometime soon.

By the way, Yahoo Food lists Michaele Weissman's 10 Ways to Judge Good and Bad Coffee.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Beer-and-cheese pairings!

Have gouda with your bock.

Have feta with your pilsner.

Have limburger with your lager.

See many, many more beer-and-cheese pairing suggestions at this great site.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Home-schooling home-brewing

Home-schooling encourages practical understandings of subjects like agriculture, botany, chemistry, and cultural heritage, especially when Dad breaks out the home-brewing kit.

-- from a post at my Brain Wave blog

Monday, January 5, 2009

It's going to be BIG

Read all about it here.

Visit the official Web site here.