|Charleston is just above the name, Atlantic Ocean|
|Lots more to do in Charleston than drink beer....at least I think so.|
Edmond Oast's Brewing Company
Breweries used to be huge conglomerations of steamy buildings, that cast the odor of hops and barley like a thin fog. Picture trucks rolling in and out laden with aluminum kegs, brick walls and heavy metal gates. It’s still that way for the big boys. Want a beer, don’t knock on a brewery door; go find a bar or a pub. Still true for the largest brewers.
But these days a city may have a half dozen or more micro brewers and brew pubs, that brew and sell right on the premises. I’ve been to a dozen or more and never found a bad one, unless you count those few who insist on blasting music, with a backbeat loud enough to rearrange your circadian rhythm.
This is the golden age of beer! Step into a micro brewery or brewpub and you’ll find ten to twenty (or more) different kinds of beer, all of them on tap. I.P.A. (India Pale Ale) is the current fav of the youthful multitudes. Not mine. I’m a solid friend of the smooth, the subtle, the tasty, without the bitter grind of hops found in the I.P.A.s. Where to find such a brew. Short answer: England.
But, now I have another answer: Charleston, South Carolina at the Edmund’s Oast Brewing Company. Under South Carolina law brewpubs cannot sell beer outside their four walls. But breweries fall under a different law that allows for more expansion. I saw cans of Edmond’s Oast, Lord Proprietors Mild at Whole Foods, which is what first led me to The E.O Brewery. Edmund’s Oast does both, with two two locations, a restaurant and the brewery. The restaurant (called simply Edmund’s Oast) wasn’t open when we schemed to slake our thirst, but Edmund’s Oast Brewing Company opened at 11 o’clock and what’s brunch without a brew? Off we went to 1505 King Street Extension and stepped into a high ceilinged warehouse of a brewery, with at least 30 to 40 taps and Old Puffery, a 4% English style ale that’s poured straight from the cask. At 4%, it’s smooth as glass and something any Englishman would be proud of. Cool. Clean. Very little fizz.
Speaking of Englishmen, the first name of the brewery (and restaurant) comes from Edmund Egan, an English brewer who came to America in the 1760s and continued to ply his trade successfully to the extent that he gave monetary support to those who fought the British. He became known as “The Rebel Brewer.”
How about the second part of the name? Oast is evidently an old English word for an oven used to dry hops. I say ‘evidently’ because I outlandishly plagiarized without doing my own research.
|The Mild is more than mildly addictive|
So what other brews do they offer? The Lord Proprietor’s Mild is my favorite and I admit to downing a full pint, then coming back the next day for a pint and a third day as well. Rich and deeply golden, Mild is 3.5% alcohol and goes down as smoothly as a newlywed’s negligee. Here’s another secret about The L. P.’s Mild. It’s brewed with tea from Charleston’s (and the nation’s) only tea plantation.
But even with fine beers and an atmosphere that makes you stamp your feet and scream like a wildcat for another pint, a pub is not a pub without barkeeps that know their stuff and can chat for hours about brewing and flavors. Let me drop a few names: Jocelyn (above left), a dark haired lass who can quote scripture and verse on every aspect of the brewer’s art, and David who knows as much as Jocelyn but doesn’t have her smile, which could sell a thousand kegs before you finish your first pint. Nicole (behind David) is also right in there, a cute sprite of a lass, whose smile and demeanor catches your attention immediately. These three, along with some others, will answer your questions, taking shoptalk to the level of an art form.
It’s no wonder my companion (also an Anglophile) and I came back three days in a row.
The dress is casual and yet, even in this industrial style venue, it’s definitely a ladies’ and gentlemen’s place to come and converse and tip a wonderful pint or two. The selection of brews is so enormous I will show you a photo of the chalkboard menu, without even attempting to name each brew.
Does Edmund’s Oast Brewing Company also serve food. Yes indeed. A stone pizza oven sits in the background and I know first hand the fries are crunchily delicious! But, boys and girls, I came for the beer. Three times.
And the next time I’m in Charleston….