Southern Beer, Made for Mealtime

fullsteam_SLW1Attendees at this past weekend’s Brewvival, widely considered one of the region’s top beer festivals, were granted sampling glasses at the event gates. Yet forks and knives might have been more suitable for some of the ales being poured: Brewing’s vanguard is especially interested in highly complex, multi-layered flavors right now.

Sean Wilson of Durham’s three-year old Fullsteam Brewery takes a different approach: “My personal comfort zone is how the right beer can enhance a meal, or how it can facilitate community and conversation. Outlandish beers tend to try to turn a beer into an experience — I know because we make a few of them.”

Wilson acknowledges nuance isn’t always the most direct path to recognition and customer acclaim. But he believes food-friendliness could become a defining attribute of Southern beer. Continue reading

Jessica Harris to Lecture on Charleston’s Food Peddlers

Nearly two centuries ago, a Charleston curmudgeon wrote to the Post & Courier to complain about local peddlers’ sing-song patter:

“The public cry should be regulated,” the anonymous writer asserted in an 1823 edition of the paper. “The negro should be taught to announce what he has to sell and suppress his wit.”

According to food scholar Jessica Harris, who quoted the correspondence in a 2010 Southern Foodways Alliance address (posted above), street sellers “kept on keeping on” in the African tradition, using flirtation, rhythm and rhyme to hawk their porgy, she-crab, strawberries, oysters and watermelons. While Tony the Peanut Man is now one of the last living links to the era of shouted advertisements, Charleston was once a capital of Old World-style marketeering. Continue reading