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Coastal Brew Fest: Beer with music on the side

By Jackie R. Broach
Coastal Observer

More than 20 unique and unusual brews will be on tap Friday at Georgetown County’s inaugural Coastal Brew Fest.

The event runs from 4 to 10 p.m. outside Litchfield Exchange and will bring brewers from all over to the Waccamaw Neck with some of their favorite products. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door and include a souvenir pilsner glass and unlimited beer sampling.

“It’s a little different than a lot of other beer fests, where you pay to go in, you pay for the glass and then you buy tickets to use at each vendor,” said Donna Mims, the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce’s new director of events and programs. “At ours, you just pay the fee to come in and you don’t have to keep pulling out tickets and money every time you want to sample another beer.”

However, there is an additional cost to purchase food, which will be available from vendors including Applewood restaurant and the Island Bar and Grill.

As for the beer menu, it includes the likes of New South White Ale, an American interpretation of a classic Belgian wheat ale, spiced with coriander and orange zest; and Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy — a seasonal brew that blends select malted wheat and barley, lemonade flavor and a hint of Wisconsin honey. There’s also Piggly Wiggly’s brand, Pig Swig; Guinness; Harp Lager and Smithwick’s Irish Ale.

Organizers said Wednesday they were still compiling a complete list of the beers that will be offered.

In recruiting brewers, “what I said to them is bring your unique and unusual beers or the ones that you really want to introduce to people, that they might not know as much about,” Mims said. A handout will be available at the event with descriptions of each available offering.

There will also be pretzel necklaces available, so beer lovers can cleanse their palates between tastings and enjoy the true flavor of each offering.

Originally plans were to enlist more local businesses to participate, such as Quigley’s Pint and Plate in Litchfield, which brews its own beer, but organizers quickly realized that alcohol laws are more strict in South Carolina than in North Carolina, where the festival that inspired Beer Fest was staged.

“There are a lot of things that can happen in North Carolina that can’t happen here,” Mims said. “It was a real learning experience.”

But the festival will still be a fun event with a wide variety of beer, she added.

For those who aren’t beer drinkers, wine will also be available and ticket-holders can use their pilsner glasses at that table, too, Mims said.

Tents will be set up outside, where two bands will perform live music, but there will also be food areas set up inside. Parking will be next door at Bi-Lo. The Fourclosures will perform at the event, along with T.J. Walsh and the Fin City Duo.

“He’s fabulous. He plays locally and has a great following, like the Fourclosures,” Mims said. “The music itself is going to be wonderful. We wanted the event to be very festive. It’s just going to be absolutely fantastic.”

Advance tickets are on sale at Applewood House of Pancakes, the Island Bar and Grill, Litchfield Wine and Liquors, the Barefoot Barista, Georgetown Kraft Credit Union offices in Pawleys Island and Georgetown, and the Georgetown County Chamber office at 531 Front St.

Tickets can also be reserved online by e-mailing gpolite@visitgeorge.com or by calling the Chamber, 546-8436.

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