Reporting on one of the city's most anticipated winter openings, Edmund's Oast, has multiple niche fanatics abuzz. Charcuterie freaks, vegetarians and cocktail aficionados all have reason to celebrate, but with an in-house brewery at the heart of the restaurant, it's time to throw the beer geeks a bone.
Breakfast at Greenville's new Tupelo Honey Café with co-owner Scott Shor, Director of Beverage Operations (or simply, Bev-Ops) Cameron Read and friends, proved a great setting to extract some info. Keep in mind that, although the opening is projected to be two short months, many of the details are still in flux. These names aren't all finalized, nor are all of the concepts, but Read's brain has reached scary levels of creativity with the beer program.
Edmund's Oast will likely not brew anything to style. First off, there's not much reason to. They plan to carry some of the best examples the world has to offer for a wide variety of established styles, so why bother attempting to out-do the best IPAs from San Diego (or COAST's HopArt, or Westbrook IPA)? Secondly, chef Andy Henderson's food will be a huge focal point, so they plan to brew styles that will specifically complement the eating experience.
Read loosely organized recipes into four different series. Again, names are not final.
1. The Pantry Series will be a collection of specifically food-based, or food-inspired, beers. This will include the already alluded to PB&J beer. While the technique for that will be inspired by Nuttin' Butter, the award-winning cask that Read brewed for Atlanta's "Brew Your Cask Off" competition, it will not be the same beer. Nuttin' Butter used Sweetwater Georgia Brown as a basis (per the contest rules), and this will, of course, be brewed in-house from scratch.
A second likely member will be a Coconut Crème Pie beer (name pending). This will feature some classic flavors of the pie, thanks to a vanilla addition, smoothness from an oat addition, etc., but will also feature an acidic twist. It remains to be seen whether this will come from lemon zest, or an actual souring agent like Lactobacillus.
2. Table Beers will draw inspiration from the traditional category–lower ABV offerings meant to consume with a meal. The most finalized member here is loosely called "Lords Proprietors," a take on English Mild made with tea from Charleston Tea Plantation. The tannic quality of tea made this a tough putt, but early reports point to this being a winner.
There will definitely be a beer in this group for funk/sour lovers, who seem to be growing in number every day. Read promises a 100% Brettanomyces fermented, saison-like number, that will be soured with Lacto- before the Brett addition. Expect a dry, tart, snappy finish from this one.
3. Speaking of those fun and funky organisms, there will be a whole series of Strong/Sour/Barrel-Aged Beers as well. There is a dedicated barrel space in the blueprints of Edmund's Oast, and the plan is to get beer into barrels quickly so the months-, sometimes years-, long souring process can begin. Read will be sourcing some beers with Lacto-, Pediococcus, etc. very quickly, but they will eventually release more traditional, complex, barrel fermented beers from this series. In fact, and entire fermenter will be dedicated to "bugs" to avoid cross-contamination with other brews.
One of the early members of this group is an excellent example of Read's departure from style. It's a very strong, dark, chocolate-leaning beer. But it's hoppy. Oh, and the malt bill is 50% wheat, and 10% oats. So what is it? Black Wheatwine? Hoppy Wheat Stout? Regardless, it's unique, and it's clear that recipe comes before marketing with this outfit.
4. Lastly, there's Everyday Beers . This will again be a low-alcohol grouping, though not necessarily meant for a meal, maybe more for quaffing a few pints on a lazy weekend afternoon. The only known member here may actually end up in the Table Beer group, and it draws perhaps the most specific inspiration of all.
Read comes from a Methodist family, and during the Christmas season, they would always go to a service called the Moravian Lovefeast. Methodists, apologies for any butchered details, but the congregation would share in coffee and a roll during the service. He remembered the roll's taste from a young age being very distinct, but it wasn't until he went back to a service with a developed palate that he recognized components like nutmeg. After some research, Read has created a "Monastic table beer" celebrating the ingredients of the Moravian Lovefeast roll, tentatively called "Our Daily Bread." Feel free to re-read the part about "scary levels of creativity."
The plan is for four house beers to be in tap at opening: Lords Proprietors, the PB&J beer, the strong/indefinable beer made with wheat, and a sour red or brown ale.