Edmund’s Oast Brewing Co. can hold its own (Charleston City Paper) Apr04


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Edmund’s Oast Brewing Co. can hold its own (Charleston City Paper)

Just a little more than a half-mile from the original location on Morrison Drive, Edmund’s Oast Brewing Co. might at first seem a little redundant. Was it such a good idea to situate the two related establishments so close to one another? In the simplest terms, yes. Because where Edmund Sr. is a well-mannered gastropub, Edmund Jr. — with its giant flat-screen TVs and ‘get in line, order at the bar, and then take a number and a seat’ approach — is most decidedly a casual brewpub.

The open, industrial space is adjacent to Workshop in the Pacific Box and Crate development, and offers outdoor patio seating and a friendly, laid-back vibe. The food follows a similar approach, with a streamlined and mostly accessible menu seemingly focused on soaking up the suds.

The boiled peanuts ($4) are a case in point, and the humble legume is prepared in an exemplary manner. “These are probably the best boiled peanuts I’ve ever had in my life,” my boiled-peanut-loving-dining companion noted. He then shared his vision, involving a 10-gallon pot, smoked meat, and a cup of molasses. Whatever the specifics of this voodoo — the menu mentions beer and ham — the flavors come across a bit like great collard greens. If peanuts ever longed to have an “I am a legume, hear me roar,” moment, they need to find their way into this kitchen.

I don’t really like underripe, flavorless produce, which is why I don’t really like fried green tomatoes ($9). But, I often order them, figuring eventually I will run into the rendition that lands me on the bandwagon. Behold, the EOBC version, wherein the three thick chunks have been lightly pickled. That may be cheating, but it nicely resolves the bitter, yet tasteless issue. Breaded, fried, and served under a deluge of homemade pimento cheese, chopped green onions, and ranch dressing, this is some next-level decadence that more or less requires a beer.

If a cold beer is what you seek, Edmund Jr. is all over it. With a plethora of creative offerings crafted on site, plus guest taps from six or seven other breweries, odds that you can find something to your liking are high. Expect everything from blonde ales and imperial stouts to a vibrant purple sour concord grape beer or a double IPA also available by the can or in a growler. Don’t worry if you’re not a hop head. There’s also a full wine list, as well as a variety of cocktails.

Vegetarians, the wood-fired veggie gyro ($12) is no slapdash afterthought. Here, roasted sweet potatoes, broccoli, and cauliflower mingle with fried, paprika-crusted potato chunks, fresh tomatoes, and a single half-Brussels sprout, which I’m mentioning because I wanted more. A lot more. Tossed with a spicy yogurt sauce and wrapped in a chewy, lavash-like sourdough pita, it’s the size of two burritos. A total disaster to eat, tuck a napkin in your collar and hope for the best, as the superb combination of flavors and textures are worth the mess.

Meanwhile, the reuben ($13) is fairly traditional. Made with pumpernickel rye, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing, EOBC puts their own spin on things with thin slices of smoky, fatty brisket. There’s also a heavy smear of dijon mustard, as well as some homemade sauerkraut that’s briny and still a little green. If you’re going to reinvent something, this is the way to do it.

Edmund’s Oast Brewing Co. also dabbles in pizza. An insight into cultures and arguably a culture unto itself, pizza is what you offer your friends and family as inadequate compensation for a Saturday afternoon spent moving your furniture, book collection, and 42-pounds of denim across town to your new place. In the case of Edmund’s Oast, pizza is a form of artistic expression undergoing constant evolution. Purists, take note: Yes, there’s a margherita option ($11), but there’s also one with Brussels sprouts and charred green garlic ($13). Similarly, the white oyster pie ($14) is unconventional. The 12″ pizza has a slightly sour, thin crust that’s coated with garlic butter and melted cheese before being adorned with clumps of greasy, spicy nduja and salty, quartered oyster pieces. It’s extremely messy and even a bit peculiar, but it works.

Similarly, the wood-fired cheesy bread ($13) comes equipped with a really misleading name. This calzone-meets-breakfast sandwich concoction has a thick, chewy crust enveloping a center of thin-sliced ham, chopped broccoli rabe, and parmesan cheese. Topped with runny baked egg, the sour, charred bread is beautifully balanced by the bitter green vegetable and salty meat. To be frank, it’s not even reminiscent of what I think of as “cheesy bread,” but just typing these words makes me want to go back and get another one.

The casual, irreverent younger sibling, Edmund’s Oast Brewing Co. still takes its food and its brews as seriously as the original. If you’re reading this, you’re alive. But if you’re not sitting in front of a flight of technicolor futuristic beer and a dough-based ellipse topped with an egg, are you really living?