I meant to get this post up yesterday, however, my day ended up revolving around cleaning up dog vomit and an impromptu trip to the vet. Thankfully, Bennet is on the mend so here we go -
I went to Brewvival this weekend! But in order to understand what a big deal that is you must first understand a little bit about the area in which I live. Charleston's nick name is the "Holy City" because of the number of church steeples that dominate the downtown skyline. It is an area that is steeped in history and tradition. As such the liquor laws here are a little antiquated.
In 2003 Charleston approved the 24 hour sale of wine and beer in grocery stores. So when Nick and I moved here for the first time, in 2005, we were excited about that. Then two weeks later when we wanted to get some rum. We realized that we hadn't seen a liquor store anywhere. As it turned out there was one right next to our grocery store. However, since it was referred to as the ABC Package store (as liquor stores in SC are state run) we thought it was a package store, like a Mailboxes etc. sort of thing.
When we moved back in Oct of 2009 we were surprised to see some changes. While I don't know all the specifics I can tell you there seem to be more "red dot" stores (the required logo for liquor stores) as well as limited Sunday hours for those stores. In 2007 the ABV limit for beer increased allowing the sale of some higher octane imports and microbrews. The most notable change, though, was the ability for bars to serve liquor from actual bottles, a great leap forward that happened shortly before we moved in late summer of '06. Currently, there is a bill waiting approval to allow on-site beer tasting.
But why is all of this important? As Americans are beginning to pay more attention to what they eat as a matter health and/or politics people are relearning how to appreciate food. If you want proof of this just look at the success of films like SuperSize Me, or Food Inc, and shows like Top Chef or Hell's Kitchen. Need more evidence? Check out this article from Business Week. With this new appreciation for the meal, naturally follows a piqued interest in the drinks that pair well.
Beer happens to the be "it" child of the moment. I can only speculate as to why. I imagine it is because there are no rules or rituals to tasting beer the same way there is to tasting wine. I suspect it also has to do with the fact that beer is easier and cheaper to make and doesn't involve super finicky grape vines. I would also not be surprised to find that it stems from some good old American vindication after Budweiser was sold to a Belgian company.
Now for locals, at least, Charleston has always been a pretty food-centric city. The only thing that rivals the number of churches downtown is the number of restaurants. Brewvival was another wonderful indicator of the forward momentum and continual evolution of food in Charleston. For example, still lots of great fried chicken and soul food but now (more than ever before) also lots of french, fusion, and even more sushi. In addition to being such a win for food lovers in the area it is a great win for the local economy as the city has always heavily relied upon it's restaurants and it's tourists (many of which make the pilgrimage here for the food i.e. the Food and Wine Festival in March). Brewvival was another great showcasing opportunity for one of the greatest activities this city has to offer, eating.
And now if you will allow me to step down from the soapbox on which I didn't intend to stand I would like to share with you a few of my favorite pics from the festival.
First taste of the day
Checking stuff off the list
These guys totally beat my husband at a game of cornhole
Lip Balm from New Belgium Brewing
In case you thought I was crazy for making bacon cupcakes....this, my friends, is a bacon brownie, and it was DAMN good.
Lunch in the form of a BBQ sandwich from Ted's
So none of us generally drink stout beer but there was plenty of it to be had, and it was good, this one even tasted like coffee. So stout beer, I apologize, I take back all the bad things I ever said about you.