Yesterday I joined Scott and Sara Gayle McConnell, owners of Tradesman Brewing Co., as they hosted a group of 10 women at November’s BREWSTER brews session. I’ve been following the BREWSTERs, a growing group of Charleston women interested in brewing beer, for several months now, and I was excited to finally see what they were all about. 

I’ve toured breweries before, sticking my nose in malts and hops as I swilled whatever finished product I carried around in a pint glass. “This,” I would think, “looks like a pretty sweet gig.” Brewing is a sweet gig — it’s just not a very easy one. 

We arrived in Tradesman’s brewhouse at 8 a.m. and we left around 2:30 p.m., if that gives you any idea of how long brewing takes. And we just started the process — the beer won’t be ready for weeks. We brewed a stout, with the tastes of Grand Marnier as an inspiration. The McConnells use a nifty beer app, iBrewmaster, to help them find and create beer recipes. The high-tech feeling of an iPad calculating measurements feels jarring compared to the not so high tech manual labor involved in the actual brewing.

The process is complicated — thank god for that app, or I would be completely befuddled by the math and measurements behind adding malts, grains, yeast, water, etc. But pictures say 1,000 words right? Behold: brewing.*
*This is my bare bones interpretation of the process, chronicled with the intention of giving a tiny taste of the work behind brewing. 

Check back for the next BREWSTER brews date, which will be scheduled in the new year. I’ll let you know when our Grand Marnier-inspired stout is ready, too, so you can grab a pint, with a portion of proceeds going to a local charity.

Stay cool. Support City Paper.

City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.