The Adventurous Traditionalist
With an appreciation and respect for style guidelines, Holy City Brewing’s Chris Brown produces some very traditional beers, but as the brewery has grown, he’s loosened up, creating award-winning boundary-pushing beers to complement the food scene in Cha
CHRIS BROWN MAKES THE BEST
Brown Porter in town—go figure. Unexpectedly, though, his town is one where you’d expect imbibers to reach for light lager to sip on the beach, if they’re even choosing beer at all. Charleston, South Carolina, is a foodie seaport city where wine is king.
“The food scene is very sophisticated here,” says Brown, explaining why most of the state’s now fifty plus breweries are concentrated in Charleston. “It’s unique compared to the rest of South Carolina, with way more restaurants and bars than anywhere else. It’s a food and beverage town, and food towns attract breweries.”
When Brown and his three business partners—joel Carl and Sean Nemitz of Charleston Rickshaw Co., and Mac Minaudo who came from the biodiesel industry—opened Holy City Brewing in 2011, they were the fourth brewery in Charleston and only the seventh in the state.
“To make a year-round porter was something new for this area, unexpected for the heat,” Brown says. “But our porter filled a niche in Charleston. There wasn’t anyone doing that style, locally or regionally. It really took off.”
Pluff Mud Porter might be dark in color, but it’s medium in body and easy to drink at only 5.5 percent ABV. That’s all by design. “The idea was to have something that you can drink year-round,” Brown says. “This isn’t a big, robust porter. It’s subtle.”
That subtlety and its clean, crisp finish make Pluff Mud a great food beer, too. It’s a great complement to the small, inspired menu at Holy City that includes items such as a falafel burger, a buffalo chicken sandwich, bread from a local bakery, and lots of local cheese. “We’re getting more and more into our cheese game,” Brown says. “Porter is a great pairing for cheese. Something like Wensleydale cheese would be really good with Pluff Mud. It has a little acidity and can have dried fruit in it that would pair nicely.”
Holy City has a deep respect for porter, Brown says. There’s always a nitro Pluff Mud on tap, and there are two beer engines onsite that regularly serve porters as well.