Published on February 24th, 2014 | by Ballard Lesemann


Gallery: Brewvival Draws Big Beers and Happy Crowds

Saturday’s sunny, spring-like weather complemented the warm, welcoming, tone of the fifth annual Charleston Brewvival beer festival in North Charleston on Saturday, Feb. 22. Steady rain and muddy grounds created a challenge for attendees last year, but this year’s sold-out Brewvival drew a very happy, comfortable, and enthusiast crowd of brewers, foodies, and scenesters.

Presented by downtown craft beer retailer Charleston Beer Exchange and North Charleston-based microbrewery COAST Brewing Co., Brewvival regularly offers an eclectic range of craft beers. This year, more local and regional microbreweries were on the roster than ever before. Barrel-aged strong ales, sour ales, and variations of Belgian styles were prevalent from booth to booth.

Across from the big beer tent, local folk/bluegrass combo Flatt City performed an early afternoon set of harmony-laden standards, deep cuts, and originals. Billed as Peking Sunrise, three members of the local Garage Cuban Band — drummer Jack Burg, singer/guitarist Bill Carson, and singer/bassist Jonathan Gray — handled a variety of Cuban and Latin classics and jazzy material later in the day. Big Hair Dave (of local dancehall reggae group the Dubplates) spun funky tunes between bands.


We sampled dozens of impressive ales and lagers throughout the day, and it was hard to keep track at times, but these were among the standouts and favorites:

• Allagash Brewing’s malty Winslow Belgian Strong Dark Ale (13.4 Percent a.b.v.)

• Allagash Brewing’s bottle-poured Mattina Rossa “American wild ale” (6.9 percent a.b.v.)

• Brooklyn Cuvée La Boîte strong ale (7 percent a.b.v.),

• COAST Brewing’s super-spicy Dave Brown ale (6.9 percent a.b.v.)

• Fullsteam Brewery’s limited-edition 2012 Common Good steam-style beer (5 percent a.b.v.).

• Holy City Brewing’s extremely hoppy/resiny Holy Weed (a Wicked Weed collaboration at 9.4 percent a.b.v.)

• Jester King Craft Brewery’s strong and funky Boxer’s Revenge “wild ale” (10.2 percent a.b.v.)

• Palmetto Brewing spicy and refreshing Ginger Slap amber ale (5.3 percent a.b.v.)

• Sierra Nevada’s delicate and citrusy Harvest Single Hop IPA: Yakima #291 (6.5 percent a.b.v.)

• Sierra Nevada’s plum-accented Ovila Abbey Quad (a Tappist-style Quadrupel at 12.7 percent a.b.v.)

• Terrapin Beer Company’s woody Mosaic red ale (6.6. percent a.b.v.)

• Westbrook Brewing’s huge and mighty Bourbon Barrel-Aged Cap’n Skoon’s Ballistic Stout (an anniversary beer at 10 percent a.b.v.).

Cheers to the festival organizers — Scott Shor and Rich Carley of Charleston Beer Exchange (and the newly opened Edmund’s Oast brewpub) and brewers David Merritt and Jaime Tenny of COAST. Nicely assembled and laid-back, Charleston Brewvival 2014 was one of their smoothest and most enjoyable since kicking off the tradition five years ago. We’re already looking forward to next year!

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Photos by Ballard Lesemann. Poster art by Nathan Durfee.



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About the Author

Ballard Lesemann

is a musician and writer. Born and raised in Charleston, S.C., he spent years playing in bands and working for Flagpole Magazine in the bustling music town of Athens, Ga. He returned to his hometown and served more than seven years as the Charleston City Paper's music editor. He's better at drumming than he is at playing guitar.

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