Friday, February 28, 2014

Edmund's Oast Review

I can’t say I’ve had such excitement building for a new restaurant in Charleston in well, never. Places come and go here, and I don’t typically become an emotional wreck fretting over such a blaise affair. However, when the titans of Charleston beer have been working on a place for almost (according to Rich-a year and half) one must marvel at the sorts of items they’ll offer.

There has been an inordinate amount of positive press and tons of glowing reviews coming from the soft opening that occurred the few days before Valentines Day. We pulled up to the ever-burgeoning North Morrison (No’Mo I’m told) area. We found a large parking lot, adjacent to the joint. Very easy in and out.

Upon entering we spoke to Rich. He’s been a pivotal player in the Charleston beer scene with Charleston Beer Exchange being the first true beer store in Charleston. Rich and Scott (the owners) know beer inside and outside and over the years have become quite adept at working food into the equation. This was the main focus behind the place. The vision so to speak. Create a true beer bar, where nothing was short-changed (I mean the bathrooms are well..nicer than some restaurants I’ve been to). All jokes aside, the place is nice. Clean lines define the inner area, which is one large room with the kitchen open to public’s view (straight back). There is a brewery off to the right side when you walk in. When we were there, no beer was in tanks, but Cameron Reed (brewer) stated they hoped to change that very soon! 

We went with a crowd and with an intention to try some things. Overall, the place was amazing. I thought the tap list was amazing. 48 taps. 42 dedicated to beers. 3 cocktails and 3 sodas when I was there (not sure if that will change).

If you notice the numbering system, you can pretty much use that as an example of how the rest of the restaurant is. Very efficient, very clean cut. No frills. Unless you count amazing beer as frilly.

We tried all four of the beers that Edmund's Oast had brewed at an off-site location. I won’t say where since I didn’t hear it from the owners, but I will say that the beer was top-notch. The standout would be the Edmunds Faust. An amazingly clear amber sour beer, the beer was super crisp and enjoyable. I had samples of each of the four beers they offered and the other notable beer was the Edmunds English Style Ale brewed with Charleston Tea leaves. It was a session beer and conveyed nice tones of the tea leaf, but retained some nice English ale qualities. Very pleasant and refreshing. The photo below shows the menu from the opening weekend with regard to their beer selection.

The beer menu was far-reaching and expansive. I’ll be honest, I had WAY more trouble deciding on a beer at Edmund's Oast than last weekend at Brewvival.  Brewvival is amazing in it’s own right, but the sheer complexity of the menu at Oast was mind-boggling. Honestly, I went to some of our local favorites out at Westbrook. The Apple Brandy Barrel-Aged beer was TOP-NOTCH. Been eyeing it the last few times out to the brewery and couldn’t resist. It did not let me down ONE BIT! This, coupled with my Hopslam and my samplers, satiated my beer palate for the evening (I mean it was Sunday!). However, my companions tried beers far and wide. They were not particularly beer people, but Cameron made it easy for them to find a drink and fit right in. “Weisse Weisse Baby!” was a hit amongst. I stole a sip and it was very fruity and drinkable. 

We found the staff to be quick, prompt, energetic, and knowledgeable. I found the service style to be very unique as well. For example, we ordered the soup, Sunchoke and Vanilla Soup (beets, radish, wow). Scott brought it out, in a quaint teacup, and poured it out for my wife. Loved it. I jokingly asked him if that would be a part of every soup service at Oast. I know it won’t, but these are the touches they are willing to make. Hopefully, they keep it up.

We also tried the braised lamb meatballs, the ricotta cheese and veg plate, the charcuterie, and the fries/curry sauce. I’ll be honest, having spent 10 years in Charleston restaurants as a cook, caterer, etc. I thought the food was amazing. I have more of a palate for food than beer, and the food was great. Very crisp, clear ingredients and executions.  I’ll be honest, the beer is great, but the food will keep me coming back. No bullshit, great bar food. I mean things like roasted bar nuts sounded tantalizing while I was there. We did not get to sample the entrees or main courses, but we came in starving and left very full from our romp on the Snacks menu. I thought the food was fairly priced (more so than the beer, sorry!) and met the needs of my diverse crowd (think anti-thesis of a foodie). 

1. Cool space. Great owners
2. New outdoor space set to open VERY SOON!
3. Uh, they’re going to brew beer on-site and sell it.
4. Growlers are coming soon
5. Edmunds Faust

1. I’m poor and can’t afford it.
2. Its 20 minutes from my house and not 5.
3. Come on, you realize it’s a joke by now right….

8 out of 5 stars. Think about that one.

Story by: Brandon Bobart
Photos by Powell Clements 

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