The “Love Handles” department in Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine® is devoted to great beer bars. Here are the three beer bars that we explored in Issue 19 (June/July 2017).
Edmund’s Oast (Charleston, South Carolina)
A rustic brewpub and brewery where world-class beer and chef-prepared bites converge in a surprisingly casual space
WHAT IT IS: Edmund’s Oast (at top) is a brewpub that brews a selection of their own artisanal beers onsite, with a new brewery-only location down the road set to open June 2017. They have a rotating selection of beers on draft, both their own and from other breweries from all over the world, as well as special-format bottles. The farm-to-table fare is artisanal and made to pair with beer.
WHY IT’S GREAT: Food this stunning is usually too difficult to eat, but once the aromas waft upward, it’s all over. The charcuterie is all done in-house, using artisanal cutting processes, aging, and smoking. They source ingredients locally and create virtually all dishes from scratch. Their house beers are eclectic, ranging from the amusing (Peanut Butter & Jelly, I’m Batman) to funky (Cararosa, Kvass) to everything in between. Their guest draft list tops forty and includes rare and sought-after beers. Special-format bottles are also on the menu, including a 3,000 mL bottle of Evil Twin Bozo Beer. The prices are average, and the atmosphere is casual (many people wear jeans). It’s a place where people who love excellent food and beer can come and find much to enjoy. —Libby Murphy
Hours: 4:30 p.m.−10:00 p.m., Monday−Thursday; 4:30−11:00 p.m., Friday−Saturday; 10:00 a.m.−10:00 p.m., Sunday
Address: 1081 Morrison Dr., Charleston, SC
Yvonne’s (Boston, Massachusetts)
A swanky supper club/lounge with a speakeasy-like entrance and an ambiance that’s nothing short of jaw-dropping
WHAT IT IS: Yvonne’s (above) isn’t a casual dining spot, nor is it a place to go for an unplanned night out. You’ll want to make reservations and come prepared to drop your jaw a few times. The décor is whimsical (evidenced by the paintings of Bill Murray and Christopher Walken in historical military garb), opulent, and ridiculously chic. The craft-beer menu, while not large, is carefully chosen, and they serve specialty cocktails and an excellent selection of wines.
WHY IT’S GREAT: Dress to impress and be prepared for an experience in indulgence. Everything from the décor to the food to the antique book the check is brought out in is thoughtfully selected, and not a detail has been overlooked. Most of the food is served on social plates for the table to share, and you’re missing out if you don’t get the Baked Alaska for dessert. Look for local brewers such as Lord Hobo, Notch, Spencer, Jack’s Abby, and Cambridge Brewing Company among others. But their list of brewers from all over the world is noteworthy, with names such as Founders, Augustiner-Bräu München, Allagash, and Firestone Walker making appearances on the list. —Libby Murphy
Hours: 4:00 p.m.−2:00 a.m., Monday−Sunday
Address: 2 Winter Pl., Boston, MA
De Heeren van Liedekerke (Denderleeuw, Belgium)
Vintage beer and stellar food at this lambic-land classic
WHAT IT IS: This cozy, lambic-loving Belgian restaurant (above) has become one of the most respected beer-centric restaurants in its home country and in all of the world. Located in the western part of the lambic zone, De Heeren is only a 30-minute drive from central Brussels.
WHY IT’S GREAT: Even if you haven’t heard of De Heeren, you’ve probably heard of some of the beers that they’ve collaborated with lambic blenders to make: Crianza Helena, Blauw, Roos, and Heerengueuze, any of which will set a lambic lover in a frenzy. And while these whales get a lot of the fanfare, a super deep vintage list, ten thoughtfully curated taps, and an impressive beer-integrated food menu keep folks coming back and raving to cohorts. The vintage list may take some persistence to get, but once you do, choosing between a nineties-era De Dolle and an obscure gueuze is the right kind of problem to have. Whale hunters should check their bank accounts first (Blauw, which is still on the menu, runs 175€), but prices otherwise are reasonable considering the age of the beers. Next time you’re in Brussels, this gem is well worth the effort. —Patrick Dawson
Hours: Noon–Midnight, Thursday–Monday; closed Tuesday and Wednesday
Address: Kasteelstraat 33, 9470 Denderleeuw, Belgium
Craft-beer breweries, brewpubs, and beer bars are expanding all over the United States at a rapid rate, yet who do you trust for accurate and up-to- date information about where to go and what to drink? The Ultimate Beer Guide Western Edition 2017 answers that question with expertly curated reviews, suggestions, and insight from the editors and writers of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine®. Order your copy today.
PHOTOS, FROM TOP: COURTESY EDMUND’S OAST, COURTESY YVONNE’S, PATRICK DAWSON