|Brock giving his speil during a tour.|
Opened in 1998 by David Epstien, the brewery initially started as the draught-only, proprietary brewery for the South Carolina based, T-Bonz restaurant group. As the brewery's reputation grew, so did demand. Fast forward ten years to the next phase of New South's rise—the canning machine. In 2009, New South began canning it's flagship, and wildly popular white ale—A crisp Belgian style wit with all the hallmarks of that classic style and a light body and sessionable quality. The brewery utilizes a 20 bbl system and produces on average 2,500 barrels a year, although this year has been particularly good so they expect closer to 3,000. Along with the white ale New South now produces six beers—a lager, a nut brown, an oktoberfest, an IPA and Kurtzman's favorite, their Dark Star Porter. New South is being distributed across South Carolina and is making it's way into North Carolina and Georgia, as well.
Now, it hasn't been all picnics and unicorn farts for the boys at New South. South Carolina's laws can be a little behind the times, especially when it comes to booze. It's actually been a tough row to hoe. According to Roddy Graham, as of three years ago they weren't even allowed to drink any of the beer they produced on the brewery premise—let alone have a tasting room! That may have made brewing a bit challenging, but the brewery charged ahead, anyhow. Another stumbling block came with the State's maximum level of 6% ABV for beer. Years of lobbying with the state's other breweries and wholesalers alliance finally resulted in the raising of the limit.
|Roddy and a white ale|
Now, you might say, big whup? What brewery doesn't do that? And you're right, a lot do use small systems to perfect recipes; but New South is in a unique position. First off, it's in an area where three years ago they had both kinds of beer Bud and Bud Lite, so local palates might not be used to some styles. Secondly, and most importantly— Myrtle Beach is hot. I mean fucking hot. On Wednesday the heat index was 115º. The smaller system really allows them to fine tune their beers. Of their six offerings, I've had three—The lager, white and nut brown. All have been full of flavor, exceptionally slaking and surprisingly light bodied. Even the nut brown, while bringing both chocolate and caramel tones, still was lithe and easy to drink—even on a day well into the 90ºs. Roddy summed it up best when he said, "We're brewing for our environment, and we don't have a problem with that." This is all not to say that New South won't produce a Dry Stout for St Paddy's day, but they are well aware of where the proverbial bread is buttered. Their beers are intentionally light bodied and their white ale is a perfect example of this. It was originally produced as a summer seasonal, then put on as a stable beer, upon request from the local restaurant community. The public demanded light and refreshing and who were the boys at New South to argue?
So, all said and done—I went. I saw. I drank. And so should you. Plan a trip to South Carolina, go to the beach, see an alligator, and then grab your growler and stop down and see the boys at New South Brewing. You'll be glad you did.