Savannah Beer Updates: Nov 2016

Meet Salt Marsh Brewing

Raymond has a nice write up on Bluffton’s Salt Marsh Brewing at Brew / Drink / Run. I made the trip with him and concur, it’s a great spot right across the river from Savannah. You can grab a great burger and an innovative house-made beer. Former River Dog head brewer James Brown is thriving at Salt Marsh. Every beer I tasted was spot-on.

Click here to read his review

Moon River in Bottles

Moon River Brewing Co. has released Dixie Kristal Tripel in bottles. This is the first bottle release from Savannah’s original brewpub and is a direct result of recent changes in state beer laws. You can find bottles of this limited first run at Habersham Beverage.

Bier Dinner at Bier Haus

The Bier Haus is hosting a dinner on December 8 with beers from Savannah Distributing and Liberator Distributing paired with the restaurant’s creative takes on European standards. It’s $60 for a seat which gets you four courses and ten perfectly paired beers. RSVP and more info.

Hops & Barley Closing

The last day to shop at Hops & Barley is Wednesday, Nov. 30. David Barker’s shop has been an institution in the downtown Savannah craft beer scene the last two years and will be greatly missed. Half off all remaining stock through the close date. Stop in, grab some beers and say goodbye.

The Craft Beer Meets Craft Pizza Magic of Your Pie Savannah

Pizza and beer, what could be better? The two local Your Pie locations, one in Sandfly and one downtown, give you the option of not only making your own pizza but providing several craft beer options. Not only is craft beer is served up at both spots but the guys at Your Pie have created events that have brought some of the harder to find craft brews to town. In fact their devotion to craft beer has been recognized at the national level and has helped to push craft beer into the menus of many Your Pie locations.

Paul and Michael Childers are the father and son team behind both Savannah locations of Your Pie. I spoke with them about why they included craft beer in their menu.

Read More

A Night in New Orleans

As I move around our city and see the damage inflicted by Hurricane Matthew I’m reminded of how fortunate we are. As bad as it was, and continues to be, most of us did not suffer to the extent that New Orleans did during Hurricane Katrina.

Savannah and New Orleans have similarities beyond hurricanes. A deep history in the cotton trade, similar geography, oak tree lined streets, Southern geniality and, of course parades have yielded an impression that Savannah is New Orleans little sister. Despite all these similarities, and more, Savannah and New Orleans do have distinct differences. Savannah is smaller, more romantic next to New Orleans big city activity. New Orleans also has, with apologies to Jonny Mercer, a stronger history of music, with jazz being the cornerstone of that history. Louisiana was also on the leading edge of the resurgence of local beer. One of the early craft breweries in the south, Abita was founded in 1986 within ten years of the California resurgence of craft beer. Founded in Abita Springs about thirty miles from New Orleans, Abita Brewing quickly grew and expanded, and beers like Turbodog and Purple Haze become many Southerners “gateway” craft beer.

New Orleans will be sending a bit of its distinctiveness to Savannah and the Lucas Theatre this week when Abita joins forces with New Orleans jazz greats the New Breed Brass Band at a fundraiser for the 11th season of the Savannah Children’s Choir on November 3rd. The event dubbed “A Night In New Orleans” will feature the nine piece ensemble whose roots lie in the second line brass band tradition but which have been expanded to included all types music including rock, hip-hop and funk. It will be a good time.

But what about the beer you ask? Well there will be plenty of that too. Abita is sending several options including their Amber, Peach and Big Easy IPA. Peach is part of Abita’s harvest series, all beers made from fresh Louisiana grown ingredients. Peach is Abita’s Fall seasonal version and at 5% is an easy to drink fruity beer. Big Easy IPA was brewed to serve as a good drinkable IPA for long hot Southern days. Brewed with four different hops, Cascade, Amarillo, Centennial and Simcoe, Big Easy will bring citrus and pine to the table as main flavors and at 4.5% ABV are not to heavy. Abita will also be bringing plenty of New Orleans themed swag, Mardi Gras beads, to the party.

All proceeds from ticket sales will go to support the Savannah Children’s Choir and their year long endeavors. Tickets to “A Night In New Orleans” are $25 for general admission. Select VIP tickets are available for $50.  VIP ticket holders enjoy reserved upfront seating and are invited to a backstage after party and a meet and greet with the band. There is also a dinner package that includes New Orleans inspired food served up by Smith Brothers Butcher Shop. Tickets are available at lucastheatre.com

Savannah Beer Scene Post Hurricane Matthew Update

Like the rest of us, the local craft beer breweries, businesses and restaurants were shoring up to weather the storm or preparing their sites ahead of an evacuation. We all hoped for the best but prepared for the worst. Fortunately for most of the local craft beer scene, all was well after Hurricane Matthew blew through. I spoke with several of owners of the local spots about the storm and how they fared.

Southbound Brewing’s co-owner Carly Wiggins tells me, “Luckily we didn’t have any issues that affected the brewery directly. Many of the employees had some damage done to their homes, but nothing that can’t be fixed eventually.”

Owner Kevin Ryan was pleased with the way that his Service Brewing held up in the storm. “The brewery weathered the storm without any damage or significant loss of power! We did not lose any beer but the Hurricane has put us WAY behind on Lincoln’s Gift. Bluffton Oyster Company was not able to begin harvesting until the first of October this year, one month late,  and then the storm has kept them out of the water for at least a week.  We were targeting a November fifth release, but that isn¹t possible at this time.”

Coastal Empire fared almost as well with only minor damage according to co-owner Chris Haborak. “All in all we fared pretty well.  No physical damage to the brewery.  We had some water come into the tap room area from the roof but it was easily removed and created no damage.  Biggest issue was we were without power for several days but it was restored in time so that we did not lose any product.”

Some of the local craft restaurants fared better than others. Ben’s Neighborhood Grill and Tap was able to open right after the storm. The menu was limited but they were able to serve up hot meals the Saturday of the storm.

All of the craft beer bottle shops, White Whale, Hops and Barley and Habersham were able to open within a few days of the storm, delayed more by a lack of electricity that any damage.

The curfew that was enforced after Hurricane Mathew was perceived by many as a hindrance to local businesses, especially bars and restaurants that cater to late evenings. Most of the owners I spoke with did not see the situation that way and some were pleased that the curfew was enacted.

Wiggins tells me “As a business it doesn’t affect us too much. Our hours of public operation are done before that. We have had to adjust our brewing/packaging schedules but we are making it work. The production team works in shifts. First shift generally starts at 6:00 am and last shift ends around midnight, sometimes later. Personally, I don’t mind the curfew given that many out there still don’t have power and some are being taken advantage of by looters. Unfortunately, we’ve had some neighbors that have been affected by this. It makes me feel safer to know the police are out enforcing this to help protect our homes and businesses.”

Ryan comments are very similar. “I think it is in everyone’s best interest. There is so much debris, so many dangers on the road, and a lot of businesses that do not have power, that it is best to reduce the night time traffic and keep people and drivers off the roads.  They are most likely less alert than they would normally be.  I know it sucks for local businesses that have already lost money from the storm, but public safety is more important in my opinion.”

Green Truck Pub was closed for several days following the storm but was able to celebrate reopening on the date of their sixth anniversary. They did change their scheduled based on the curfew, announcing an 8:30 closing time but did change to a later opening after the curfew was lifted on Wednesday.

Ultimately, the storm in one way or another affected our local craft beer businesses. Take some time and spend a little money at one or more of these locations. Your money and patronage will be appreciated and supports the local beer community and all their employees.

Here are a few events you can attend:

Coastal Empire: 10/21 Booze & Boos which will feature a local Historian telling stories by the campfire. Coastal will release a Maple Espresso Porter for the event.

Southbound Brewing: Saturday 10/29 Blues & Brews – Three local Savannah blues bands (Broken Glow, Jubal Kane & Hitman). $25 ADV | $30 DOS includes: beer samples through out the duration of the event, performance and a souvenir pint glass. Dark Shark Taco Food Truck will have food available for purchase. 7-10pm

Enjoy Craft Beer on Savannah’s Southside

When it comes to craft beer, downtown Savannah receives the lion’s share of the attention. This level of attention isn’t unwarranted; most of Savannah’s craft beer restaurants, bars and bottle shops are, in fact, north of DeRenne. Downtown doesn’t hold a lock on everything related to craft beer though. At first glance, south of DeRenne looks like a craft beer desert but the Southside has several options for a beer during lunch or even a beer centric evening out. Check out these Southside eateries, some new, some old favorites, and two bottle shops with craft heavy options.

connect_southside_2

Ben’s Neighborhood Grill and Tap: Ben’s history is rooted in Savannah’s downtown but as the restaurant moved south it morphed into a gourmet burger grill and craft centric tap room. Ben’s features twelve taps all dedicated to craft beer, with several local options always available. Ben’s also has an extensive bottle and can list. Tuesday is a great day to visit Ben’s as they have a $2.50 craft can special. The regularly updated tap and bottle list can be found on beermenus.com. Ben’s isn’t all about the beer though. They have several excellent burgers and sandwiches on their menu. Make sure to ask for the beer battered onion rings. Directions, hours and menus can be found at bensgrill.com.

Fiddlers Seafood: Just down Hodgson Memorial Drive from Ben’s and around the corner from Oglethorpe Mall is Fiddlers Seafood. Fiddlers is part of the same restaurant group as Tubby’s, Dub’s and Spanky’s and just like those restaurants carry numerous craft beer options. In fact Fiddlers has 21 taps dedicated to craft beer, many of them dedicated to local options. The food options at Fiddler’s are, as you might expect, are grounded in fresh, local seafood options. The décor follows along similar lines and is grounded to Savannah’s fishing history. Fiddler’s information can be found at fiddlerssavannah.com.

Your Pie: What goes together better than beer and pizza? Not much and Your Pie offers both. The downtown location of Your Pie is no secret but there is also a south side location in Sandfly. Like its counterpart it has a strong craft beer selection. What is even better are Your Pie Sandfly’s regular craft beer nights. Usually on Thursdays, the guys at Your Pie will put together a tap takeover and often are able to pull in a difficult to find beer or two. The best way to find out about Your Pie, Sandfly is through their Facebook page where they regularly update their events page and tap list.

Bowtie Barbecue Company: The newest location for hunting down great craft beer in midtown is Bowtie Barbecue Company. Bowtie is growing out of the Johnny Harris legacy and will serve up old favorites like Johnny Harris’ batterless fried chicken but will bring new food and drink options to the table. Bowtie will serve up craft beer with a regional focus, think East Coast, on twenty taps. Of special note are taps dedicated to a Southbound Brewing Company Ginger Beer soda and to Perc Coffee. Bowtie will also serve up craft cocktails and feature a large selection of small batch whiskeys. Is Bowtie’s huge bar selection not enough to get you in the door? Well lucky for you because there is excellent barbecue too.

Habersham Beverage Warehouse: Habersham Beverage Warehouse is maintains one of the largest selections of craft beer options in Savannah. Vince, who manages the beer selection at Habersham south, is one of Savannah’s more knowledgeable craft beer and home brewing experts, keeps an excellent and large rotating selection of craft beer options. All the details can be found at habershambeverage.com.

Largo Beverage: Largo doesn’t keep as large a selection of craft beer as many of Savannah’s bottle shops and as a result may not be on your regular craft beer shopping circuit. Because they are often overlooked there are some gems that can be found on Largo’s shelves. Give them a try you might find something you missed out on the first round of distribution. Largo’s information can be found at largobeverage.com.