A Love Letter from Mackenzie Foster

Mackenzie:

“Why would anyone want to leave this wonderful city?” is a question I hear frequently from visiting friends and family.  They are always in awe of the warm sunshine, the diverse restaurant scene, and the abundance of things to do. While I don’t have good answer to their question, I can say that I was one of the ones who left. After four years at the College of Charleston, studying for midterms, lying on the grass at Marion Square, countless hours at the beach, and playing Ultimate Frisbee outdoors all year round, I graduated, packed up, and moved to Chicago. Cold, snowy, eight-months-of-winter, Chicago. My five years in the Windy City were filled new experiences, lots of fun, and many lessons learned, but I do have to admit that moving back to Charleston was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Luckily, the Lowcountry welcomed me back with open arms. My departure and return enabled me to see the Lowcountry in a whole new “rose colored glasses” kind of light. While sitting down to write this post I made a list of all the things that I love about the Lowcountry and what makes it unique (it was a little extensive…). There were many topics that have already been mentioned on Lowcountry Love Letters (including some of my faves- the beauty of brunch, the growing craft brewery scene, and of course the beach) so I narrowed my list to three.

1) People

There is nothing comparable to the people you meet in the Lowcountry. South Carolina’s “Smiling Faces, Beautiful Places” motto is spot on. Upon my return, I immediately appreciated the warm feeling of walking down the street and having complete strangers smile and say hello. While the rest of the country sometimes thinks this is strange, here Southern kindness reigns. I was very impressed by my neighbors who are always willing to lend a helping hand, my coworkers who understand that family comes first, and my friends who are always there when I need them. I get laughed at from my Chicago friends when I tell them I am baking a pie or a casserole to bring to a friend or that a friend is cooking me dinner, but this is just the way people in the Lowcountry treat each other.

Our annual Charleston family Easter took place yesterday, where of course, Mackenzie brought two grits dishes.

2) Pace

When I first moved to Chicago, I worked with a group of individuals from New York who were opening a Broadway musical in the Windy City. I was in the throws of learning the lifestyle differences between what I have always known and what I would need to quickly pick up. One instance stuck out in particular; while driving with a coworker, I was informed that my driving style could be described as “moseying” (he was a little terrified of the defensive drivers). While at the time I was extremely offended, I have now learned to appreciate the notion of “stopping to smell the roses”. Most of those that I have met upon my return to the Lowcountry have perfected the art of a work-life balance. They understand the beauty of sitting on the porch with a cold beverage, watching the world go by, or taking a long slow stroll down the beach while catching up with a friend.  In a city filled with such beauty, it seems as though the inhabitants ensure that they take in and appreciate all that the Lowcountry has to offer.

3) Culture
As someone who has a background in theatre and the arts, I understand the South is sometimes perceived as having limited options when it comes to the world of art. Luckily, Charleston does not follow suit. We have Spoleto Festival USA, (which is coming up quickly!) offering seventeen days of world-renowned artists who come in from all over the globe to present dance, theatre, opera, and music.  We have the French Quarter Art Walk happening four times a year, touring Broadway shows coming through the North Charleston Performing Arts Center (Phantom of the Opera going on now!), contemporary art centers like Redux and The Halsey Institute, Reggae Nights Summer concerts, improv at Theatre 99, dance projects like DanceFX, concerts at the Charleston Music Hall or the Music Farm and the list continues. There is always something new and fun to experience.

Bio (by Emily):
Mackenzie lives in Mt. Pleasant with her diva cat, Lucille. She spends her days running the world of set design and production for various projects that include Spoleto, President Obama's visit last year, Darius Rucker's surprise CMT concert on the Isle of Palms and more. Her evenings and weekends are filled with outdoor adventures, glorious first sips of champagne, and bad television with her best girlfriends.

Lowcountry Beer is Here

The Lowcountry is certainly known for it's food, but have you heard about it's beer? Today's post is crafted (get it?) by my husband, Trevor, who among all of our friends, family, and co-workers is known to be incredibly enthusiastic about craft and homebrew beer.

Trevor:

Well, this is exciting. My wonderful wife Emily may tire of beer talk in our home or on our dog walks, but I’m in the driver’s seat now and man do I have a lot to share. Now, there’s nothing she can do, but proofread!

Beer is so popular in Charleston, it happens to have a whole week dedicated to the craft. Charleston Beer Week takes place every September, so mark your calendars for next year. Their team + sponsors put on a great group of events every year from beer dinners to tap takeovers to pairings to rare beer events to firkin fests. But, fret not, Charleston Beer is here - year round!

Below is a quick rundown of the Charleston area breweries. If you don’t already, FOLLOW EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEM ON INSTAGRAM AND/OR FACEBOOK. It’s the best way to keep up to date on their offerings, events, and other fun stuff! 

Coast (Website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
Nestled between Noisette Creek, Cooper River, and Park Circle. Hit them up for a pint after a round of disc golf 3 days a week and don’t forget they host Brewvival, a beer lover's tasting dream, held every February.


Holy City (Website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
A pub feel in an outdoor setting is open 7 days a week plus house brunch, lunch, and dinner. Bring the dog and relax with a pint or show up for one of their events like the 3rd Annual King of Pops Great Charleston Pop-Off or Bendy Brewski Yoga


Freehouse (Website, Facebook, InstagramTwitter)
Right around the corner from Holy City, Freehouse is tucked in on the Ashely River. Enjoy fresh beer, food trucks, and views from the deck or marshside 5 days a week.


Frothy Beard (Website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
Known for their wacky beers and events, don’t wait till this nano hosts XTreme Pro Wrestling or Pop-Up Ramen. Head towards Ashley Phosphate now, where “great beards drink alike” 5 days a week.

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Westbrook (Website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
Off of Long Point Road, in Mt. Pleasant, their modern tasting room looks and feels shiny. Christophe Chocolatier and beer pairing events are sure to impress your special someone (this where I happened to take Emily for our first Valentine's Day).


Palmetto (Website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
Just off the Ravenel Bridge on Huger Street, downtown, their recently redone tasting room is open 5 days a week and features Loading Dock concert + food truck every Friday night.


Revelry (Website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
Just across the street from One Cool Blow, on Conroy Street, you can eyeball their fermenters up close or grab a seat outside. Food offered 7 days a week in house or via truck. 


Oak Road ( Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
Serving the Flowertown area from Historic Downtown Summerville. Ogle at their home made 1 barrel brew system, catch some football (or futbol), and food trucks Thursday - Saturday.


Tradesman (Website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
Representing James Island, they usually have 2 floors worth of beer enjoyment facilities, but the recent weather has decomissioned the 1st floor. Head up the side stairs 5 days a week for a "well built" pint.

If you like killing multiple birds with a single stone, check out Charleston Brews Cruise tours offered 5 days a week.

Don’t forget the brewpubs:
Southend (Website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
Casual dining with the prettiest Lowcountry brewhouse, in my opinion. It’s vertical and encased in glass! Easily combined with a walk around Historic Charleston, including but not limited to Rainbow Row, Waterfront Park, and the Battery.


Edmund's Oast (Website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
Snag a reservation inside for an elevated food and beer experience. With good weather, grab a drink inside or out, plop down outside at communal tables, and enjoy the air.

Final Notes
Support our local brewers and if you dare, get inspired to brew your own! I’m a member of Lowcountry Libations and we welcome all brewers old and new. To get you started on your first batch (or 400th) check out Yeast Everything Homebrew Store and Beer Engineer Supply Store.

Lowcountry beer is here!

*Bonus*

Emily:

This week happens to mark one year of marriage for the two of us and I can say there's no one else is this world I'd rather stand side by side taste testing all of these local brews with than you, Trev.