Boulevard Brewing made its South Carolina debut at an amazing beer dinner hosted by the Crafty Rooster in downtown Conway on Oct. 21. Celebrity chef Celina Tio made the trek from Kansas City to prepare some of her signature dishes to go with her hometown beer.
We were welcomed with a pint of Boulevard’s flagship brew – 80-Acre Hoppy Wheat. 80-Acre has a great balanced taste – a fresh hop flavor, but not too bitter. I was able to speak with Michael Emrie, Boulevard’s marketing manager for the Carolinas, about the brand entering the South Carolina market.
“Consumers everywhere desire flavor, variety and innovation. It’s not just the larger beer-centric towns that are experiencing the most growth. It excites me to see the demand for craft beer in places like Myrtle Beach and the Raleigh (N.C.) area really exploding,” said Emrie.
Chef Tio is known in Kansas City for her popular restaurants and known nationwide for her appearances on popular cooking shows, Food Network’s “The Next Iron Chef” and Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters.” She presented the first course, cauliflower fritters with a curry aioli, paired with Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale. The saison had notes of clove, banana and a bit of black pepper. It paired well with the crispy fried fritters and lightly spiced aioli. The beer hid its 8.5 percent ABV (Alcohol By Volume) very well – it’s dangerously drinkable.
The next course was a mini bierock (pastry filled with ground beef, cabbage and onions) served with chips and homemade onion dip and paired with Single-Wide IPA. Not too malty or too hoppy, it is the quintessential Midwestern IPA. Hop-infused pickle slices rounded out this course – a great marriage of citrusy hops and tangy pickles.
The star course of the night was a Gorgonzola polenta with agrodolce (sweet and sour) mushrooms topped with a sunny-side-up egg - paired with the most polarizing beer of the night – Love Child #4. Pouring a bright ruby hue, Love Child #4 is a tart wild ale that has been aged in whisky barrels. Emrie informed the crowd that Boulevard has the nation’s second largest barrel aging program – behind Chicago’s Goose Island Brewing.
Love Child was mouth-puckeringly sour, with notes of sour cherries, oak and whisky. It paired really well with the savoriness of the polenta and the egg yolk. The slight tanginess of the mushrooms played well with the funk in the beer. It was a pairing that had some begging for mercy – and me begging for more.
And to top it all off – dessert. A warm walnut cake, topped with maple semifreddo and salted caramel sauce was paired with the spectacular Bourbon Barrel Quad (BBQ) – an 11.8 percent ABV behemoth of a Belgian Quadruple that has been aged on cherries for many months. The boozy, malty flavors of the Bourbon Barrel Quad played very nicely with the crisp walnut cake and its toppings. After this course, I was begging for mercy.
Look for Boulevard’s diverse portfolio of beers around town at your favorite bars, stores and restaurants.
Oct. 18 was Iron Brew – the annual homebrew competition hosted by Holy City Brewing in Charleston. More than 20 tents were set up in the parking lot at Holy City – filled with homebrewers eager to pour their creations for the masses. Each group was awaiting the results from the official judging, as well as trying to win the “People’s Choice” award.
Myrtle Beach Area Society of Homebrewers (M.A.S.H.) was well represented – and while none of us took home any awards, we received some great feedback from the judges and attendees alike.
Liberty Competition Beer
Liberty homebrew competition winner, Ana-Hayley Jacobs, brewed her award-winning coffee American Pale Ale, “Morning Glory” on Liberty Brewery & Grill’s 15-barrel brewhouse on Friday, Oct. 10 with Liberty Brewmaster, Mike Silvernale.
“It was an awesome experience – one that I would love to repeat. The process is the same as the one we use at home, but on a much larger scale. I hope to be on the professional end of brewing one day and this was like a fun glimpse into my future,” said Jacobs.
Liberty, at Broadway at the Beach, will host the release party for Jacobs’ brew on Nov. 14 during Happy Hour.
• Saturday is National Learn to Homebrew Day. The Homebrewer’s Pantry is providing brewing demos in the store from 1-7 p.m. with samples and food provided by the Crafty Rooster. Homebrewer’s Pantry is at 1015 4th Avenue, Conway.
• On Nov. 6, The Crafty Rooster is hosting a Stone Brewing tap takeover. All 14 of the downtown Conway pub’s taps will be pouring Stone beers.
• The 4th annual Brewing at the Beach is on Nov. 15 at New South Brewing in Myrtle Beach. Enjoy homebrewing demonstrations and samples. New for this year is a competition that pairs local homebrewers with craft beer-friendly businesses. Event goers will be able to judge the beers and pick their favorites.