Holy City Brewing is located in North Charleston, S.C. off of Dorchester road and a spitting distance from Interstate I-26. Even though this area of North Charleston is know for being on the rougher side of the track, the beers that Chris Brown is turning out at Holy City are as smooth as the ever inquisitive beer drinker could ask for. The company is run and owned by five men who all have a passion for beer, and doing things differently. After Head Brewer Chris Brown, you have Joel Carl, originally from Charleston and owner of the Pedi Cab & Rickshaw Company in downtown Charleston, Sean Nemitz who is also a College of Charleston graduate and relocated from Vermont and worked for Joel at Pedi Cab before becoming an owner in 2007, Mac Minaudo who has moved back to his hometown from Asheville, N.C. where he ran and owned Blue-Ridge Bio-diesel, and Jeff Moreadith who is a physician in Ashville, NC.
After graduating from The College of Charleston and attending the American Brewers Guild, Head Brewer Chris Brown brewed for Gordon Biersch in Mid-town Atlanta. At Gordon Biersch Chris learned how to make beer the corporate way – stick to the recipe and the process and do not deviate. Chris was put to work right away at Gordon Biersch doing transfers, cleaning kegs, and eventually brewing. Chris stayed at GB Atlanta for two years, and will admit that he really learned everything he knows from his position at GB. However, while Chris learned a great deal about how to run a brewery at GB, his creativity in recipe formulation and style was not allowed to show. Eventually Chris moved back to Charleston and found his way to the team at Holy City Brewing.
The brewery is in what appears to be an old garage. In the summer time the two roll-up garage doors at the front of the building are kept UP, and large fans are circulating air to keep the interior of the building cool. The brew house sits directly in the center of the back of the building, and the fermentation and bright beer tanks line the left hand side wall. The brewery is a well-made 15-barrel system from Specific Mechanical out of Canada, and the tanks are Bavarian. The floor has been painted a deep blue in the center of the building and under the tanks where the brewery stays the wettest. To the right is the walk-in cooler, and in front of that is where the team has built a taproom bar for beer sampling, and a lone pool table sits to the far front right corner.
The original half-barrel keg brewing system that was used for making all of the test pilot batches hugs the right hand brewery wall. The brewery has a feeling of being homemade, and that it is. These guys are brewing great beers that have been well designed in a space that they have made the most of and self-designed as well.
Chris is proud to be able to offer up beers that are true to style. With Holy City’s offerings, Chris is planning to produce beers that are enjoyable to drink session after session. The two year-round offerings are great examples of their individual styles.
The craft brewery’s lineup includes Holy City Pilsner, a dry and crisp German-style Pilsner with 45 IBU’s. The beer uses a traditional German lager yeast strain and German malts. The Pilsner pours a slightly cloudy pale yellow color and has a thick white head that leaves beautiful lacing around the glass. The beer is well balanced and the malt profile has a slight biscuit flavor that comes through. The Pluff Mud Porter is the second beer that Holy City produces year round and the name gives tribute to the smelly marsh mud that can be found all around the low country. The beer is self described as “an easy drinking 5.5% abv Porter made with roasted malts, and German Carafa malt “ with a balanced 21 IBU’s from Northern Brewer hops. On my visit to the brewery on July 12th I was given a sample of the freshly packaged Pluff Mud Porter and it was outstanding. It is full-bodied and very drinkable even on a hot July Charleston day, with nice chocolate overtones from the roasted Carafa and dark Munich malts. The beer was balanced perfectly!
In addition to the two year-round beers you can expect to find Holy City brewing an experimental Fish Bowl series featuring IPA’s, Pale Ales and other experimental styles. In order to keep up with these offerings you should check out Holy City Brewing web page – www.holycitybrewing.com/#/home or find them on facebook at www.facebook.com/HolyCityBrewing. Better yet – when in Charleston find a tap house that carries Holy City Beer!