Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine - - Breakout Brewer: Holy City Brewing -

Holy City is also well-known for its Washout Wheat, a Ger­man-style hefeweizen that took home a bronze medal from the 2014 Great Amer­i­can Beer Fes­ti­val in the South Ger­man-style Hefeweizen cat­e­gory. This beer nods to Brown’s back­ground as a Ger­man-style brewer at Gor­don Bier­sch—it’s a sim­ple recipe that re­lies heav­ily on yeast to cre­ate its fla­vor pro­file. “We fer­ment a Ger­man hefeweizen strain high to give off more ba­nana than clove,” Brown ex­plains. “This yeast has re­ally par­tic­u­lar fla­vor pro­files, and this is a beer style that re­ally lets the yeast shine.”

Washout Wheat and Pluff Mud Porter be­long to Holy City’s year-round canned beer line along­side Chuck­town Fol­li­cle Brown hoppy brown ale, Par­adise (an Amer­i­can IPA), Overly Friendly IPA, and Yeast Wran­gler (dou­ble IPA). Th­ese beers are avail­able in cans across South Carolina and in Char­lotte, North Carolina.

Brown also crafts a draft-only Ber­liner weisse called Straw­berry Beards For­ever, the Ger­man-style Holy City Pil­sner, a Vi­enna lager, and a Helles, among other Ger­man styles. His lineup has in­evitably in­cluded more and more IPAS as well. “Now sud­denly, we sell a lot more IPA,” he says. “Our canned Overly Friendly IPA has taken off, plus we make sev­eral other Amer­i­can IPAS and a ses­sion IPA.”

The brew­house at Holy City is dif­fer­ent from your av­er­age brew­house, Brown says. “It be­gins in a mash ket­tle, then we trans­fer all the grain and liq­uid to the lauter and then trans­fer the liq­uid back to the ket­tle for the boil. This gives me more con­trol over my mash tem­per­a­ture. I can mash-in lower and then raise [the tem­per­a­ture] as op­posed to in­fu­sion mash­ing where if you miss the tem­per­a­ture, you miss. I step mash al­most every­thing for con­trol.”

That con­trol that Brown has over his sys­tem is demon­strated in his clean beer lineup and pro­fi­ciency in brew­ing a va­ri­ety of di­verse beers. In his first five years, Brown brewed more than 1,800 batches on his 15 bbl brew­house, some true to style and some not. “Most of our canned beers like Pluff Mud or Washout Wheat are re­ally tra­di­tional in style, but if a beer stays in-house, I don’t have too many rules. As we’ve grown, we’ve played around a lot more. I have ap­pre­ci­a­tion and re­spect for style guide­lines, but it wouldn’t be fun if we did that all the time,” he says.

One of Brown’s out­side-the-box beer styles is what Holy City called an im­pe­rial hefeweizen. “We had ex­tra hefe yeast one year that I didn’t want to dump, so I de­signed and amped up a ver­sion of Washout Wheat and pitched the re­main­ing yeast. It was a lit­tle boozy, but it still put out a lot of ba­nana. I love play­ing around like that and see­ing what hap­pens.”

This im­pe­rial hefeweizen was named Bath­room’s Out­side to the Right. “Our brew­ery is in a garage and the bath­room used to be in­side the build­ing across from the pro­duc­tion floor. Peo­ple would ask us where the bath­room was twenty times a day ... I’ve been want­ing to name a beer that for a long time.”

Next up for the brew­ery is a se­ries of canned, small-batch ket­tle sours.

With a rev­er­ence for tra­di­tional beer fla­vors, an open mind to ex­per­i­men­ta­tion, and a deep com­mit­ment to process and tech­nique, Brown con­tin­ues to wow the Charleston beer mar­ket and be­yond.

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