Not since colonial days have so many different beers been available in Dixie. And in thirsty Charleston, South Carolina, the Bay Street Biergarten is a new watering hole for the beer-curious.
At the temple of craft brews and high-minded pub food, a pre-paid card registers booze by the ounce, opening dozens of beers up for tasting. That sip of Sweetwater 420 didn’t do it for you? Pour yourself a splash of something local, like a Holy City Pluff Mud Porter or a Westbrook White Thai. Chef Jason Walker, who honed his skills at New York’s WD-50 and Momofuku Ssam Bar, oversees a beer-friendly menu influenced in equal parts by Bavaria and the Lowcountry. Think wiener schnitzel garnished with pecan-collard pesto, pimento cheese sticks with bacon jam, and tender mussels presented in a broth made with local beer and paired with pretzel bread.
Walker spent months crafting his pretzel recipe, and anticipates that the restaurant will serve as many as 1,500 jumbo twists per week. Serve these with good mustard—at Bay Street, they use Lusty Monk, from Asheville, North Carolina—and whipped butter. Oh, and be sure to make extras, especially if you’re enjoying them with beer.