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When Brewers Drink Cocktails

Photo: Closed For Business

Charleston's brewing community is rich and varied, with six production breweries either online or coming online in 2013, along with at least three brewpubs. If brewers didn't love beer they wouldn't get into such a thankless racket, but there comes a time for them to put the pint down and mix things up. Here's what our local, professional brewers reach for when cocktail hour is calling.

Palmetto Brewing
• Ed Falkenstein, Founder/Owner/Brewer – backroads moonshine
• John Planty, GM/Brewer – Jack & Coke
• Clint Vick, Cellarman/Brewer – Moscow Mule
Says Vick, "I can't get enough ginger. At home I'm quite fond of mixing Van Gogh Espresso Vodka with RumChata as well."

COAST Brewing
• David Merritt, Co-Founder/Brewer – bourbon, "neat or on the rocks, depending on my mood."
• Michael Davis, Assistant Brewer - A Chip and Doll. "It's a gin and tonic with crushed iced shaken a twist of lemon and lime and a splash of simple syrup."

Westbrook Brewing
• Edward Westbrook, Founder/CEO – Carthusian Sour from The Gin Joint
• Scott Koon, Head Brewer – "Whatever your cheapest whiskey is."
• Shane Cummings, Brewer – Blanton's
• Mike Levin, Assistant Brewer/Warehouse Coordinator – Lagavulin with one small ice cube
• Chris Magee, Assistant Brewer – Manhattan

Holy City Brewing
• Chris Brown – Co-Founder/Head Brewer – Whiskey on the rocks
• Tim Bettencourt – Assistant Brewer – Bloody Mary with an Old Bay rim and lots of veggies

Frothy Beard Brewing
• Michael Biondi, Co-Founder/Brewer – Moscow Mule from Heart Woodfire Kitchen
• Steve McCauley, Co-Founder/Brewer - Bombay and Tonic from Closed for Business, or Dark and Stormy from Husk
• Joey Siconolfi, Co-Founder/Brewer – Kentucky Mule from The Rarebit
Says Biondi, "Joey and I love ginger-anything."

Freehouse Brewery
• Arthur Lucas, Founder/Brewer – Scotch & soda
• Devon Hamilton, Head Brewer – Whiskey Sour

Oak Barrel Tavern/Brewpub
• Akai Antia-obong, Brewer – Seven & 7 with lime, or Seven with soda water & a splash of bitters

Edmund's Oast
• Cameron Read, Director of Beverage Ops – "My go-to spirit is bourbon. If I'm at the Music Farm it's bourbon and coke, if I'm at dinner it might be a Manhattan, if I'm at home trying to sooth some aching brewing muscles it's bourbon on the rocks (or maybe mixed with Bittermilk's Barrel Aged Manhattan Compound if I'm feeling fancy!)."

In case it went unnoticed, this gang loves whiskey/whisky. A whopping 68% of them choose a drink with a whiskey/whisky base, if not just the straight spirit. Here are a few different takes on our brewers' affinity for the brown stuff:

Chris Brown from Holy City: "We age beer in their barrels so that might be part of it. Respect for the time it takes to make it, from a production standpoint. Brewers are just manly and drink manly things."

Cameron Read from Edmund's Oast: "For me, whiskey as a category has a wonderful balance of flavors that make it work beautifully with a range of other ingredients (including beer in its barrel aged manifestations) but also allow it to be very satisfying by itself. Plus there is the allure of oak—it's hard not to be excited about something that spent a decade or more aging in wood. (And aren't we beer guys all supposed to be obsessed with barrel aging anyway? So maybe you could call it barrel envy.)"

Mike Levin from Westbrook: "'Cause it's good."

Hard to argue with that.

Written and reported by Timmons Pettigrew
· The Gin Joint [Official]
· Heart Woodfire Kitchen [Official]
· Closed for Business [Official]
· All Husk Coverage [-ECHS-]
· All The Rarebit Coverage [-ECHS-]
· All Edmund's Oast Coverage [-ECHS-]