Short Story Brewing opens with a big bang in Charleston
It was only three short months ago when I shared the scoop that Short Story Brewing in Rivesville, just outside of Fairmont, had started construction on a new taproom that would soon open on Summers Street.
And not only that, but it would be located just two doors down from the still-relatively-new Fife Street Brewing and less than two blocks from Black Sheep Brewing in downtown Charleston.
Are you sure, people asked? That would be a really big deal, but few had heard a thing about it at that point.
Never doubt The Food Guy.
Short Story did, in fact, open in Charleston over the holiday weekend, although their planned “soft opening” quickly turned into something much larger after word spread like wildfire through local beer circles. Those flames were further fueled by the thousands of festival-goers who gathered downtown for this year’s Holly Jolly Brawley festival Friday and Saturday.
The result was a full-blown grand opening-like celebration that made the place packed, festive and – in my opinion – totally awesome.
The new location is a spacious, sparse and dimly lit taproom where folks can gather for drinks around a standup bar in the center of the room, at a traditional bar over to the side, in a quieter room tucked in the back or at a few tables situated around the perimeter, some of them along windows offering views of Slack Plaza and Summers Street.
Dark green walls, soft lighting and greenery-draped trellis hanging over the center of the room pair well with the taproom’s exposed ceiling and industrial-chic vibe. It’s pretty minimalist, but that keeps the focus right where it should be – on groups of friends and family gathering to enjoy Short Story’s excellent lineup of craft beers.
Wanting to sample as many of the 12 taps as possible, I bellied up to the bar and ordered a flight of beers. OK, two flights.
I started with a nice German lager-style Argonaut Helles, offering a blend of bready heft and crispness, then followed it with the Turn and Fall Oktoberfest-style malty Marzen.
I enjoyed three distinct IPAs: the pine-and-citrus hazy Up Hill Both Ways, an orange-juicy Still in the Picture and a dangerously smooth Echo Echo Echo Double IPA.
But the real revelation for me here were the sours I sampled. I’m a big fan of the style anyway, but the two Neon Garden options were truly exceptional.
The pinkish passionfruit, blood orange and raspberry kettle-soured brew was refreshingly tart (and kicked after just one day, by the way) while the golden pineapple, orange and coconut sour was a milder, but infinitely complex, creation. The toasted coconut notes that finished every sip were nothing short of brilliant.
They were so memorable that I meant to grab several cans to take home (you can do that here) but my memory failed me when it came time to leave. I blame the flights, but I’ll definitely be back.
For the time being, Short Story’s new local taproom is just that – a fun place to drink beer – with no food offered at this time, although you are welcome to bring in food from other places.
“Let’s get through the winter first,” co-owner Aaron Rote told me, between pouring pints behind the bar.
“Then maybe we’ll see if we’re ready to add a kitchen.”
He explained that their flagship location in Marion County started out as a brewery that served food and now seems more like a restaurant that serves beer.
“We just did all of this,” he said, glancing around, “and that would be another big step.”
Their food up north is great, so that would be a welcome addition to downtown Charleston, but for now I’m fine to just be here just for the mighty fine beer.
IF YOU GO: Short Story Brewing’s taproom in Charleston is located at 186 Summers St. a few doors down from Fife Street Brewing and near Slack Plaza. Hours are 4 to 10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday and noon to 10 p.m. Friday-Sunday. For more information, call 681-265-0685, visit www.shortstorybrewing.com or check out their Facebook or Instagram pages.
• • •
Speaking of the drink …
Sip & Savor, the one-time bourbon-palooza soiree showcasing fine bourbons paired with delicious bites, returns again this year as a series of tasting dinners at area restaurants, rather than the single pre-COVID party it once was at the Clay Center.
This year’s series kicks off Jan. 8 with a West Virginia whiskey and bourbon dinner at 1010 Bridge in South Hills, followed by a rum-tasting dinner at Soho’s at Capitol Market on Jan. 15.
You can also enjoy a tasting dinner and tour at The Bullock Distillery on the West Side on Feb. 26 and a Weller Bourbon tasting dinner at Sam’s Uptown Café on March 12.
Tickets to each dinner are $125 per person and include a multi-course meal with a flight of specially selected spirits, along with entertainment and a cocktail-making demonstration.
Tickets may be purchased at www.theclaycenter.org/donate/sip-and-savor. Sip & Savor is a fundraiser coordinated by the Friends of Clay to support the facility’s STEAM education programs.
• • •
Steven Keith is a food writer and restaurant critic known as “The Food Guy” who writes a weekly column for the Charleston Gazette-Mail and has appeared in several state, regional and national culinary publications. Follow him online at www.wvfoodguy.com or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. He can be reached at 304-380-6096 or at email@example.com.