A BREWVIVAL PREVIEW

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Do you have your tickets for Brewvival? Hopefully. It’s sold out, which you probably know. Still want to go? Check the event’s Facebook page. You might even be able to find a few floating around on Craigslist or BeerAdvocate. Apparently, a lot of rain is in the forecast. So, you might even be able to show up at the event and find a ticket in line as some will want to stay at home and dry. But, who wants to do that? This is one of the top beer festivals in the country.

If you are coming, then you have most likely asked your friends, what are you most excited about trying? Really, there is no wrong answer to this question. Craft beer is a lot about subjectivity. And really, craft drinkers are promiscuous drinkers. And they’ll find a lot of different things at Brewvival to get excited about and try. As you know, the vast majority of South Carolina breweries will be in attendance. Here’s a list of those breweries and what they’ll have on hand for you to try, along with a can’t miss recommendation:

COAST

Same Old, Same Old Red Ale (cask), Session IPA, Bulls Bay Oyster Stout, Dave Brown, Saison de Dufus (cask), Blanton’s BA Blackbeerd, & 2009 Blackbeerd

Coast makes phenomenal beers. Everything on this year’s list is intriguing. But the Blanton’s barrel aged Blackbeerd that Coast recently released was a thing of beauty. It’s the best of the series so far. And people have responded. You can’t find bottles anywhere, and kegs of it are extremely rare. Don’t miss it.

CONQUEST

Sacred Heart IPA, Double Dry Hopped Sacred Heart IPA w/ mango and papaya (cask), Bipolar High Roller w/ bourbon-soaked peppers and cacao nibs, & Double Dry Hopped Artemis Blonde

Columbia folks love their new local brewery. So much so that when Conquest goes on tap anywhere, it doesn’t stay around for long. Sacred Heart is the flagship. A 7.2% IPA, it is dry hopped with Citra and Centennial. Perfect for keeping you cool during those hot Columbia summers. Be sure to give it a try.

HOLY CITY

Bourbon Barrel Aged Pecan Dream, The Notorious PIG: Mo’ Chocolate, Mo’ Problems, Manuel Fantastico Barley Wine, Little Dinghy, & Acronym: Belgian Blackish Brown Imperial Strong Dark India Pale Ale Waffle

The PIG isn’t just a grocery store, it’s a great beer. If you went to the festival last year, you got to try the first incarnation. Meet the sequel. It’s made with 100 lbs of bacon and 25 lbs of smoked Papua New Guinea cocoa beans. Try saving no to that.

NEW SOUTH

Dry Hopped Lager & Lily the Great Imperial Stout

We don’t see a lot of New South outside of the Grand Strand. This will mark the first time that the brewery makes a high gravity beer. Give it a try.

PALMETTO

Espesso Porter, Rye IPA, & Prichard’s Single Malt Whiskey Barrel Aged Amber

I can’t recall Palmetto doing a barrel aged beer. But it is certainly the first time the brewery has brought one to the festival.

RJ ROCKERS

Trainwreck IPA, Dry Hopped Tranwreck IPA (cask), & Star Spangled Stout w/ bourbon-soaked oak chips (cask)

Made with Cascade, Centennial, and Simcoe, this new IPA project from the Spartanburg brewery clocks in at 8.5% and 80 IBUs.

THOMAS CREEK

Deep Water Dopplebock w/ Fig Newtons and ‘Nilla Wafers (cask), Up the Creek Extreme IPA w/ black cherries and pink peppercorns (cask) & Chocolate Orange IPA

The Greenville brewery always brings a treat for festival goers and this year is no different.

WESTBROOK

Grumpy Old Time (CBX Collaboration), Sour Vanilla Tree (cask), & Apple Brandy Barrel Aged Siberian Black Magic Panther Imperial Stout

A lot of words. But, a lot more taste. This 11% monster was aged in Laird’s apple brandy barrels.

And those are just the South Carolina breweries. In total, there will be around 150 beers there for you to sample. Though, please, don’t try to run the gamut. You’ll probably be able to do between 20-30, so plan accordingly. I’m not going to tout any brewery above any beyond the rest, but I certainly am intrigued by certain beers from this South Carolina set. How has the 2009 Blackbeerd held up and how does it compare to this year’s Blanton’s masterpiece from Coast? Is Conquest for real and here to make Columbia a true craft beer town? Is there anything that Holy City can’t do? What happens when New South goes big and makes an imperial stout? How did one of Palmetto’s first barrel aging projects turn out? How good is the new RJ Rockers IPA project? Can you actually say no to Thomas Creek with Fig Newtons and ‘Nilla Wafers? Will Westbrook continue to produce great barrel aged stouts? These will be answered on Saturday. By me. In my own subjective way. You will too, I’m sure.

Oh, yeah. And there’s a ton of other beer to drink as well. Don’t forget your rain gear.

Happy Beer Christmas, everyone!

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