Cheers: Holiday Beers

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Holiday Beers

By Andrew Johnson, ColumbiaFoodieNews.com contributor

Let’s be honest. It’s never a BAD time to have a beer, but one of my favorite times of year to enjoy a few is when the leaves start to fall and the nights become much cooler. My beer taste buds seem to evolve in those autumn months from a desire to drink hop-forward beers and wheat beers to craving more malty and darker beers. It all begins in the middle weeks of September with the emergence of Oktoberfests and Marzens and continues through the Holidays with Stouts and Porters. If you’re out and about, be sure to try some darker offerings from some of our local bars and restaurants. Below are few of my favorites for some smooth cool-weather sipping.

Highland ClawhammerHighland Clawhammer Oktoberfest, 5% – Asheville: This is one of my favorite Oktoberfest styles because of its drinkability. Even if Oktoberfest is officially done, this beer can hold its own in the cooler months thanks to a malty backbone packed with a rich caramel flavor and a smooth, biscuit-like finish. Enjoy this beer as it was meant to be: in sessionable quantities. Thanks to the low ABV, it’s easy to down a few and not be over-served.

Swamp Cabbage Dunkelweizen, 4.8% – Columbia: Swamp Cabbage LogoNot many breweries brew a dark wheat beer that’s as good as this one. This beer has the banana and clove profiles of a traditional German-style hefeweizen, but there’s a significant boost in the malt character with the addition of caramel malts. It almost tastes like semi-sweet banana bread. Enjoy by itself or with roast chicken or pork.

Westbrook Dark Helmet Schwarzbier, 5.5% – Mt. Pleasant: Schwarzbiers are dark lagers Westbrook Dark Helmet logo(schwarz is German for “black”) that drink dark due to the specific malts used in the brewing process but also finish light because they’re lagers – this simply means they’ve fermented at lower temperatures. Westbrook does a fantastic job of striking this balance with some coffee and dark chocolate notes that finish crisp and clean with flavors that don’t linger. This one pairs well with hearty red meats fresh off the grill.

Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard Barrel-aged Scotch Ale, 11.2% – Grand Rapids, MI: Founders puts their “Dirty Bastard” scotch ale in bourbon barrels to obtain the complex and non-traditional flavor profiles, but to also add a subtle hint of bourbon found in the finish. Notes of sweet caramel and roasted malts come through from the scotch ale and blend with the sharpness of oak barrel bourbon, and at 11.2% ABV, it is certainly a sipper.

Stone Xocoveza Stout, ;8.1% – Richmond, VA: This is the heaviest beer on this list, but alsoStone Brewing the most flavorful. Inspired by Mexican chocolate, which is created with a spice addition (usually a smoked pepper), Xocoveza boasts a complex flavor profile full of chocolate, coffee, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and spicy pepper. This is the perfect post-dinner dessert beer, but it also makes a sitting by a campfire even more enjoyable.

You can find most of these beers throughout the season in a variety of establishments, but you’re more than welcome to stop by Craft And Draft to enjoy even more varieties of seasonal offerings! (Shameless plug, we know). We hope you enjoy the Holidays better with BEER!

Andrew Johnson is co-owner of Craft And Draft craft beer store and growler shop here in Columbia.

Beer Pairing Tips

Having the gang over to watch some football?

Pair the finest quality blends of barley, yeast, hops and water with the foods you serve! Make it fun and host your own Beer Pairing Party.  Here are some ideas on what goes with what…AdobeStock_159752333.jpeg

Steak, hamburgers, roast beef and turkey: Pale Lager. A pale lager is a very pale or golden colored lager beer. Flavors are subtle, with no one traditional beer ingredient dominating the others. Lightness of body is essential. This makes the beer work well with foods that are more subtle in flavor as well. Favorites: Mecklenburger (available on tap right now at The Casual Pint), Pilsner Urquell, Alpine Wiesen Oktoberfest (currently found on tap at Craft and Draft – get a growler-fill)

Fish, chicken and cheeses: Light Beer. Today’s light beers are no where nearly as flavorless or watered down as light beers of the past. People who are watching their calorie intake or alcohol consumption prefer to drink light beer and will appreciate a host offering good light beer. Favorites: Corona Light, Michelob Ultra Amber, Heineken Light

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BBQ, blackened chicken, Mexican foods: Ale. Ales are sweet, full-bodied and fruity in taste. When pairing with food, think about tastes that complement each other. Sweet and savory, salty and sweet, sweet and spicy… ales work well with strong tasting foods. Favorites: Chocolate Brown (brewed locally at Swamp Cabbage Brewing and available on tap at the brewery), Coast Brewing Kolsch (available at Craft and Draft), Oberon Ale (on tap now by the growler at The Casual Pint)

Desserts: Since desserts can vary wildly in character and level of sweetness, no one beer style works with every dessert. Pair these common desserts with these beers – Carrot cake, caramel cheesecake or crème brulée: Double/Imperial IPA like Stone Ruination Double IPA | Caramel apple tart, ginger spice cake, rice pudding: India Pale Ale… our favorite is Rubrum Red IPA from Swamp Cabbage Brewing, available on tap at the brewery here in Columbia or sold in stores | Dark chocolate desserts like truffles or chocolate raspberry mousse cake: Stout, like Founders Brewing’s Breakfast Stout found at Craft and Draft

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Cheers!

Craft and Draft Pint Night Benefitting Jam Room Music Festival

Wednesday, September 27, 2017 | 4 – 8pm | 2706 Devine St.

craftCraft And Draft Pint Night will feature an Oktoberfest celebration by Sierra Nevada, with a portion of every pint sale going to benefit the sixth annual Jam Room Music Festival, which will take place Saturday, October 14. Tap list and food trucks TBA. More here.

Great American Whiskey Fair

Thursday, September 28 | 5:30 – 9pm | 701 Whaley Street

The Great American Whiskey Fair is the largest celebration of American whiskey in the Southeast, with over 100 different distilleries and bottlers presenting over 500 whiskeys, bourbons and ryes! Taste from a variety of whiskeys, chat with distillery owners, master distillers, blending masters and brand ambassadors, and enjoy delicious eats from Bourbon and LowCo BBQ. More here.

Swamp Cabbage Beer & Chocolate Pairing

Assorted Chocolate pralines on brown backgroundFriday, September 29 | 6 – 8pm | 921 Brookwood Drive
Evolution through Chocolate will again host this pairing at Swamp Cabbage Brewery, where unique, delicious chocolates are complimented by Swamp Cabbage’s original brews. Check Facebook for upcoming chocolate pairing menu. Tickets are only $16, and seating is limited, so RSVP to 803.939.2589, or go here.

Sumter Oktoberfest on Main

Saturday, September 30 | 5pm | Downtown Sumter

For the eighth year in a row, Downtown Sumter will transform into the feel of an old German town! Featuring delicious German fare, drinks and live entertainment. More information here.

Soda City OktoberFest

Saturday, September 30 | 9am – 3pm | Main and Hampton / Main and Washington 

Enjoy two biergartens, German baked goods, face painting by Emerald’s Artistry, live music and much more at Columbia’s downtown street market! More here.

Aiken Oktoberfest

Saturday, September 30 | 6 – 10:30pm | Hayne & Pendleton St., Aiken

Man in traditional bavarian clothes with beer and pretzelsThis year’s event will feature craft and German beer, college football on the big screen, live music from the The Foothills Oompah Band, and German food, like amazing pretzels from The Brezelmann – Bavarian Pretzel Shop in Aiken! Don’t miss the Samuel Adams National Stein Hoisting Competition going on all day as well! More here.

Pups & Pints | Swamp Cabbage Brewing Company

Sunday, October 1 | 2 – 5pm | 921 Brookwood Drive

swamp pupJoin Swamp Cabbage for a great cause! Every first Sunday of the month, bring your cute canine family member(s) to the brewery for a pint, or three! Donate an item or two on the Humane Society’s Wish List and get $1 off your pints. More info and Wish List here.

 

Bold Rock Cider & Chocolate Pairing | Craft And Draft

October 5 | 2706 Devine St

Hosted by Craft And Draft and Evolution through Chocolate, this event will feature the following delicious pairings:

Premium Dry Apple Cider with a Caramel Sea Salt Truffle
Pear Cider with a Pear Truffle
Orange Cider with a Blood Orange Truffle
Peach Cider with a Mango Peach Truffle

Tickets are only $16 and are available the day of the event. Seating is limited so, please arrive early. More here.

2017 Lexington Craft BeerFest

Saturday, October 14 | 6 – 10pm | Icehouse Amphitheater, 107 W. Main St., Lexington

Lex Beerfest LogoSample regional craft beers and grab a bite from local restaurants at the 2017 Lexington Craft Beerfest, hosted by the Greater Lexington Chamber and Visitors Center! Featuring live music by Fantasy and food vendors Old Mill Brewpub, Tin Lizzy’s Columbia, Travinia Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar, The Wolf Pizza Co, and the Lexington County Blowfish providing a cook-out style menu. See the huge list of participating breweries here. All food items will be priced at 5 tickets or less. Food tickets will be available in the festival at $1 each and can be used at any of our vendors listed above.. Tickets include a commemorative glass. Tickets here.

 

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Marchesi Antinori Wine Dinner | Ruth’s Chris Steak House

Sunday, October 15 | 6:30 – 9:30pm | 924-A Senate Street 

Enjoy five perfectly paired courses during this latest in the Ruth’s TasteMaker Dinners Series! Adding Italian touches to Ruth’s traditional steak house fare, this unique dinner pairs five decadent dishes with five luxurious Tuscan wines, including the estate’s flagship wine, the Guado al Tasso. See the mouthwatering menu of courses and pairings, and RSVP here.

Under the Foam: June 2017

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Swamp Cabbage Brewing Company

921 Brookwood Drive | 803.939.2589Rubrum IPA crop

Swamp Cabbage had a new Rubrum Red IPA Bottle Release in March. This fabulous IPA has a blend of Centennial and Chinook hops to provide bitterness, and a heavy dose of Cascade to lend a floral aroma. If you’re an IPA fan, you’ll really enjoy this one! More here.

Twisted Spur Brewing

70TS brew5 Gervais St | 803.764.0203

Start your weekend off right! Twisted Spur’s newest brew is “Red Menace IRL” – an India Red Lager, conditioned for two months to ensure a crisp finish. Balanced with a touch more malt than a traditional IPA, at 5.5% ABV and 48 IBU, this IRL is a refreshing addition to any meal! Stop in tonight and try it!

Under the Foam: March 2017

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Mr. Friendly’s: Seasonal Beers

River Rat “My Morning” Stout 
wake up your taste buds with notes of cocoa nibs & Madagascar vanilla,
plus the subtle addition of Jittery Joe’s coffee roasted in GA
Bell’s “Hopslam” Double IPA 
specially selected hops reveal tangy notes of stone fruit, grapefruit and
floral notes with subtle malt accents and a touch of honey for a balanced body

The Casual Pint: March Beer Events the-casual-pint-beer

  • March 1st: RJ Rockers Brewing Tap Takover starting at 6pm
  • March 3rd: Devils Backbone Release Party 4:30pm – 7pm
  • March 17th: St. Patrick’s Day Party ALL day
  • March 23rd: Southern Barrel Brewing Co. Tap Takeover at 6pm

Moriarty’s Irish Pub: March Madness Tournament

BEER vs. BEER!! Make sure your favorite beer makes it to the finals, so that you can sip it on happy hour prices ALL YEAR long! Draft Madness ’17 top 25 update coming soon.

Moriarty's Irish Pub1.jpgStay tuned for further updates before Moriarty’s reveals the final field of 32 on Selection Sunday (March 12th). Tournament begins March 14th & the championship is on April 4th.

Under the Foam: January 2017

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Twisted Spur Brewing: Great White Beer Tapping

twisted-spur-brewing-beerTuesday January 17, 2017 | 5pm – 8pm | at the Twisted Spur (705 Gervais St.)

Stop in at Twisted Spur tonight after work to enjoy the tapping of their new batch of our White IPA “Great White Buffalo.” Drink, Eat and be Merry as we taste the fruits of the Brewers labor! Also, $2 of every beer sold will be donated to a local charity.

The Casual Pint: Legal Remedy Tap Takeoverlegal-remedy-coconut-beer

Thursday January 19, 2017 | 6pm – 9pm | at the Casual  Pint (807 Gervais St.)

Thirsty for something different? Join KT from Legal Remedy Brewing for a tap takeover at the Casual Pint on Thursday, January 19th!

Tap list: 
Jury Panel Jalapeño Pineapple Ale
-World Court White Chocolate Mocha Blonde Stout
Malice Maple Bacon Russian Imperial Stout
Conundrum Coconut Dark Ale

Craft and Draft: Snafu Brewing Launch

Thursday January 19, 2017 | 4-9pm | at Craft and Draft (2706 Devine St.) snafu-brewing-company

Join Craft and Draft on Thursday, January 19th, as they welcome one of the newest South Carolina breweries to Columbia: SNAFU! They’ll have several of their flagship beers available on tap, and they’ll feature a few specialty beers and seasonal beers as well! Plus, they will have a food truck on site all night, too, so come early and make it a night! Cheers!

Mr. Friendly’s: New Seasonal Beers

River Rat My Morning Stout: wake up your taste buds with notes of cocoa nibs & Madagascar vanilla, plus the subtle addition of Jittery Joe’s coffee roasted in GA

Westbrook “Two Claw” Rye Pale Ale: notes of orange and grapefruit on the nose, with spicy rye and stone fruit on the palate

Twisted Spur Brewing: New Additions & Returning Favorites

Twisted Spur Brewing, located at 705 Gervais Street has recently added some old favorites back to the taps! Their returning favorites include the Twisted IPA, Hefeweizen, and the Dead Head Red. Have you tried all three yet? If not – what are you waiting on? It’s time to clear your plans for the rest of the evening! Plus, don’t miss their two NEW additions:

  • White Hazelnut Imperial Stout
  • Sweet Imperial Red

Columbia Brew Bus

Columbia Brew BusColumbia Brew Bus provides the only all-inclusive guided brewery tasting and tour bus experience in Columbia! Columbia Brew Bus is passionate about the service they provide and want to help see Columbia’s craft beer scene continue to grow.

Columbia Brew Bus offers two types of tours: the Columbia Brew Tour and the Wine & Spirits Tour.

The Columbia Brew Tour allows you to experience Columbia’s craft beer scene! This ride includes a brewery led tasting session and facility tour at Conquest Brewing, River Rat Brewery and Swamp Cabbage Brewing. This is a 21 and over tour. At each stop you get at least 16 oz. of beer samples, a facility tour led by a brewery staff member, a Q&A with brewery staff, and the chance to buy brewery merchandise.columbia-brew-bus-tour-picture

On the Wine and Spirits tour, experience the best way to visit and taste Columbia’s great distilleries and wine selection. The current tour stops include Copper Horse Distilling, Crouch Distilling and The Vino Garage. At each distillery, you get to sample at least three different craft spirits, enjoy a curated tasting of at least four different wine samples at Vino Garage, take a tour of the distilleries led by master distillers, and have a Q&A with the distillery and wine bar owners.columbia-brew-bus-tour-picture-2

The bus will have PLENTY of coolers all iced down and ready to keep your growler and bottle purchases cool until you take them home. Light snacks and water will be given out between brewery stops. Enjoy the sight seeing, trivia, and prizes along the way!

Columbia Brew BusColumbia Brew Bus offers all kind of deals! Whether it’s a birthday party, bachelor(ette) party, office get away, reunion or just a night out with your friends, they offer price breaks for groups of eight people or more. Columbia Brew Bus also offers military discounts, student discounts, and senior discounts. If you are the designated driver of the group, Columbia Brew Bus will gladly take the price of the beer provided out of the overall ticket price.

Book your tour today or see Columbia Brew Bus’s Facebook page.

Hop on with some friends and let the good times and bus roll!

Columbia Brew Tour Start Location: Liberty Taproom {828 Gervais St}; Columbia Wine & Spirits Tour Start Location: Bourbon {1214 Main Street}  |  columbiabrewbus.com

Tour Times: Fri 5:30 – 9pm; Sat 3 – 6:30pm; Sun 2 – 5:30pm

You Have to Try This Place: Craft and Draft

Craft And Draft
craftanddraft

Craft And Draft is Columbia’s premier craft beer store and growler shop! Sample a beer or drink a few pints (yes, you can consume beer there) from one of twelve taps that continually feature premier craft beers from all over the country as well as local favorites from here in the Carolinas! Fill as many growlers as you want, or take home a variety of beers featured in their inventory of six packs, big bottles and cans!  They also have some cool custom swag for sale!

Dog friendly and wi-fi access

They strive to keep you up to date with new releases and what’s coming soon to our Draft Wall in order to continuously offer only the best selection possible. Check our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram below for the latest additions to our continuously-rotating taps

 craftanddraftbeer.com

2706 Devine Street
803-764-2575

Hours:
Monday – Thursday: 11 AM to 8 PM

Friday : 11 AM to 9 PM
Saturday : 11 AM to 8 PM
Sunday: 1 PM to 7 PM

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BEEP BEEP BURP: Here Comes the Columbia Brew Bus!

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The craft brewery business is booming in Columbia, and it didn’t take long for enterprising folks to capitalize on it.   Columbia Brew Bus follows in the footsteps of other brew bus services in the Southeast.  It’s a shuttle service that will take riders from brewery to brewery, allowing them to sample beers at each and learn about the process of making the brew at each stop. The bus will begin taking people on tours of River Rat Brewery, Conquest Brewery, and the newly opened Swamp Cabbage Brewery just as soon as they get their vehicle approved for use by SC DOT. Soon you’ll be able to enjoy a night out with friends and sample hand-crafted brews from each brewery as you learn how each facility makes their beer. The Brew Bus offers entertaining games and sightseeing as you travel from place to place, as well as a safe traveling option from brewery to brewery.   Here is some insider info from Cam Powell, one of three business partners behind the Columbia Brew Bus.

Columbia Brew Bus logo

Cool logo, eh? Love the beer tap on the back of the barrel!

What goes on at the breweries? How long will the tours of the breweries last? Will you be giving the tours, or will someone from each brewery be giving the tours?
Someone from each brewery will be taking our guests on the tours. Basically, each stop is going to be about an hour. When you get to each brewery, you’re going to spend the first 20 minutes or so tasting the beers while one of the brewery staff talks about the beers you’re tasting.  You’ll get about 24 ounces of beer at each stop. Depending on where we are, you’ll get a flight (4 or 5 small glasses of beer that are usually drunk in progression from light to dark) and a 10oz pour to take with you on the tour, or you’ll get a bigger flight and you can buy a pint if you want to take something with you. After the tasting, one of the brewers or one of the head bartenders will take you into the brewery itself and talk a little about the equipment and how they got started and what makes their beers unique. It’s a full-on facility tour. At the end, there will be 10-15 minutes where you can ask questions or buy some more beer, if you want to. We’ll have coolers on the bus to help keep your beer cold throughout the duration of the tour.

What sort of activities can your passengers expect once aboard the Brew Bus?

We’re going to have some snacks while in transit to make sure everyone has something in the stomach while we are going between these places. I’ve lived here for almost 7 years and Mike’s lived here his entire life, so we are going to pick up and drop off in the Vista and do a bit of sightseeing while we are on our way to each brewery. We are going to take you down by the State House and through the campus a little bit. For anybody who’s from out of town, you’ll get to see some of the major Columbia landmarks. While we’re riding along we’ll be playing some trivia games and things like that. Each tour will have a prize, like a nice big bottle of beer from one of the local breweries, or something else that a beer lover would like.

What days are you going to be offering the Brew Bus tours?

Starting out, it’s going to be Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Hopefully, there is a big enough market and we’ll be able to expand to different days. For the first few months, we are just going to do those three days.

Will you sell tickets online and what is the projected fare?
Our full website isn’t up and running yet, but when it is, it’s going to be columbiabrewbus.com. We will sell tickets online. Right now we have the tours priced at $50. When you book online, there will be a 99 cent booking free through the company we use. If you were to book one tour, it will be $51. 

River Rat Brewery will be on the Brew Bus tour!

River Rat Brewery will be on the Brew Bus tour!

You mentioned you were going to three breweries (Conquest, River Rat, and Swamp Cabbage), as your destinations.  There are other brewers in town like Old Mill Brewpub and Hunter Gatherer.  Will you add places to your itinerary?

We will…  Being so close to when we’d like to open, we really had to narrow our focus and make sure we can achieve everything we want to. We didn’t want to do too many things and not come out to the public with a big impact.

There are a few tours like this around the coast of SC, but nothing like this here. How do you plan on drawing people into your tours here in Columbia?
We’ve contacted and worked a little bit with the Columbia Visitor Bureau and the Convention Center. Once our website is up and fully functional, they’ll be promoting that on their websites. Hopefully, we can get into some of their promotional materials. We want to get in with the hotels. We work with Theodore and Associates Insurance downtown and the guy who’s my agent used to be a hotel manager at Staybridge Suites over by Fort Jackson. He said that they have families coming in all the time there with the graduations at Fort Jackson and the military coming in. The first thing they say is “What’s there to do around here?” There are plenty of things to do here, but after you’ve been here a while, it turns into the same thing. We want to do something that’s outside of the mold.
The craft breweries are definitely breaking through and that’s something new to do here. Unless you want to shell out the money for a fare in between each place, or you want to have a designated driver, there is no safe way for everybody to get from brewery to brewery and be able to try craft beers at each one. It becomes a dilemma for a lot of people because sometimes you end up staying at these places longer than you planned to and you have to have the have the money for a cab or you have to find some other way home. For anybody going down to these craft breweries, this will eliminate any of that risk for them. 

Have you done anything else, like starting a business, or is this your first business?
No, it’s my first business. My friends and I in college started a weekly online magazine that we had published a couple times just for fun. We posted it around all over Facebook and twitter and got solid readership and did that for about a year. That’s something I helped create, but as far as owning something, this is the first thing.

Brew Bus passengers will be stopping by Conquest Brewing Company!

Brew Bus passengers will be stopping by Conquest Brewing Company!

What has been your biggest struggle with getting the Brew Bus up and running?

Insurance was our biggest hurdle until recently. Getting commercial insurance for this type of business isn’t easy. The big boss insurance companies don’t write these kinds of policies. You get redirected to the major national insurance people that do life insurance and other major policies. You can’t deal with them directly. They just write policies through brokers, so we’ve been going through brokers in town. They then go to their bosses and say that these guys are 24-25 years old and are going to be driving the bus with alcohol involved and their bosses won’t touch that. Getting someone to write a policy was our biggest struggle at the time. We got through that and have our insurance policy in place. The biggest, other than that, has been the legal aspect of it with the government licensing. The licensing for the bus has to go through three different departments plus the police have to check to make sure all the safety measures are on it. We’re still waiting on all that to get finished up, but hopefully it will be done soon.

What kind of modifications are you going to make to the bus you’re using?

Actually, to be legal to drive it, we had to take out 10 seats. It’s a 25 passenger bus, but to be able to drive it without a commercial drivers license, it can only hold 14 passengers plus the driver. The max tour group is going to be a 14 person tour group. We are going to drive it ourselves. The main accent color on the bus is probably going to be blue, and the logo and the name is going to be all along the side. We’re going to have the sponsored breweries’ logos on the side as well.

What is your ultimate goal once you start your tours? Where do you see all of this going in the next couple years?

Swamp Cabbage Brewing Company logo

The newly opened Swamp Cabbage Brewing Company will also be a stop on the Brew Bus route!

We definitely want to expand with it. After six months or so, if things are going well, we would like to put those extra seats back in and hire people with commercial driver licenses to conduct the tours so we can bump our tour maximum up to 20 people. Once we have our Brew Bus business model in hand and feel very comfortable with it, we are going to try to contract out our bus as a business shuttle for different hotels. We would take business people to and from the airport or if they have a large group at the hotel, we could take them out for the evening. Along the side of the bus we are going to have our regular logo but have the ability to put another sign on top of that so we can put a secondary logo for the shuttle service.

Personally speaking, if I can get paid the same amount doing this as I did at my previous job, while having fun and talking about beer to other people, that’d be great. I just want to promote beer tourism and help to enhance the craft beer scene in Columbia. Columbia has beers that are just as good, if not better, than beers being produced in other cities. There are people that travel to Asheville to try their beers, and there are people who travel to Atlanta to go to SweetWater to try their beers. I think Columbia could be like that (a beer-drinker’s destination) and I want to be a part of it.

For more information about the Columbia Brew Bus, click here for their facebook page.