Edging ever closer to the projected early February opening, Edmund's Oast opened its doors briefly on Monday for a media preview. Co-owners Rich Carley and Scott Shor were eager to show off the space, along with Director of Beverage Operations Cameron Read, General Manager Andrew Fallis, Head Server Jessica Garbee and newly-announced Head Bartender Jayce McConnell. Always eager to learn more, the crew was prodded for information. Here are five liquid-specific highlights:
1. 42 of the 48 taps will pour beer. Not that 42 isn't enough, but those playing along at home may wonder, "Isn't this a beer joint? Why not use all 48?" The answer is, of course, it's more than a beer joint. Two taps will pour house-made draft cocktails (think the Negroni tap at Indaco), two will likely pour wine and two will pour craft soda. Pure speculation, and wishful thinking, would point to Cannonborough Beverage Company as a potential soda source. It's likely that four of the 42 beer taps will pour house creations at any given time, leaving a rough 38 to fill with all manner of exquisite local, national and international, craft beer.
2.The barrel program is already in the works. Even though there's no beer in the tanks, these guys have their eyes on the barrels. Eight Willett barrels are on order— four bourbon and four rye—and possible even a few sorghum whiskey barrels from nearby High Wire Distilling Company. All manner of beer will eventually grace those staves, as well as some barrel-aged cocktails. They built a dedicated barrel room, so if Field of Dreams taught the world anything, they, and more, will come.
3. All of the glassware will be from Spiegelau. Deciding to serve beer in what is arguably the best glassware available is equal parts awesome and crazy. Pours will be incredible, aromas and flavor experiences optimal and breakage/theft costs nauseating. As has been revealed throughout the run-up to opening, there ain't no half-steppin' for Edmund's Oast. Spiegelau glasses have a stellar reputation, thanks to nearly 500 years of history and a "Platinum Glass Process" that results in impeccable products. They also have the distinction of developing the world's first glass specifically for IPAs, in conjunction with Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head.
4. Half-barrels only, please and thank you. Unlike some other brewpub operations with taps that draw directly from serving tanks in the brewery, all the beer Read brews will go into half-barrel kegs. This will allow the house beers to take advantage of the squeaky-clean, short-draw system planned for the bar (as opposed to running much longer and harder-to-clean lines all the way to the brewery) and will allow for easier rotation of house beers among the larger bank of taps. Unfortunately for Read, this also allows for hours of kegging and keg-washing, but he doesn't seem too worried.
5. Science beer is science. After a 10 minute conversation on the pros and cons of lactobacillus and pediococcus, it's safe to say that Read loves his work. A few beers were hinted at in conversation last October, three of which had taken shape and were available at the preview. The English Mild with black tea from Charleston Tea Plantation had incredible balance, owing to an extremely-dialed-in tea addition that Read settled on after "fighting the tannins" over multiple batches. The indefinable strong/dark/hoppy/wheat/oat beer had a surprising dark fruit note, which one would equate with Belgian yeast, but was achieved here with English yeast. The sour red ale, inspired by Read's home experiments with a "short-sour" process, provided the acidic aggression sought by American sour lovers, but rounded off delightfully in the finish. By design, there's nothing like this being brewed in Charleston.
Written and reported by Timmons Pettigrew
· All Edmund's Oast Coverage [-ECHS-]
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· Willett [Official]
· High Wire Distilling Company [Official]
· Spiegelau [Official]
· Platinum Glass Process [Official]
· Riedel [Official]
· Unstyle: The Edmund's Oast Beer Program [-ECHS-]