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.