Exciting (Southeast) Regional Beer News

I suppose honestly, it would be better to call this “Exciting Asheville Regional Beer News,’ but whatever, I wrote the other title first, and I am sticking with it.

Anyhow, moving on from my obvious laziness of fixing the title, and onto beer stuff (which I feel I haven’t talked about much lately).  Last night Eliza and I, at the invitation of our friend and major beer enthusiast Brian, got to go to the Community Tap and be part of a tasting/video conference with New Belgium Brewing Co.  That alone – drinking some good beers and talking to professional brewers – would have been awesome in and of itself (and guess what?  IT WAS AWESOME) but sweetening the deal even more was the announcement that New Belgium is planning on opening its east coast brewery in Asheville, NC, just an hour from us here in Greenville, SC.  For all of us beer lovers here, this is very exciting news, especially considering that only four years ago New Belgium beers weren’t even available in the state.

The news of New Belgium’s east coast brewery follows shortly on the heels of another brewery announcing their own move to the region.  That being Sierra Nevada, who will be opening their own east coast operations just south of Asheville (and thus even closer to us here in SC).  Both New Belgium and Sierra Nevada are big name players in the craft beer revival and having them within an easy drive is very exciting.  Asheville itself is already an amazing beer city with a mass of eclectic breweries and brew pubs and adding two big names will make the city even more of the east coast beer capital than it already is.

For us beer lovers in Greenville it is nice to know that we’ll have access to some more regional breweries from great brewers.  However, there was a sentiment from many wishing we could get more breweries right here in Greenville in specific and South Carolina in general.  Unfortunately on that front, SC laws are still not very inviting to breweries.  Only within the last couple of years have some small changes been made to allow a meager degree of beer tasting at breweries in the state (whereas in NC most of the breweries have their own tap rooms where patrons can sit down, try a variety of beers, eat some food, and easily leave with a couple of growlers or a six-pack).  Until the laws here become a bit more inviting, I think that South Carolina will still be a bit behind in the craft beer game.

All that being said there is some hope.  The successes right across the border definitely demonstrate how economically and socially successful breweries can be.  Add to that a growing interest in good beer in places like Greenville, Columbia, and Charleston and maybe the laws will be made more inviting in the not too distant future.  In the meantime however, I never find that I mind going up to Asheville for a visit (and we do have our good local outlets like Community Tap and Thomas Creek Brewery).

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~ by Nathaniel on April 6, 2012.

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