Located a few blocks from West Virginia’s Elk and Kanawka Rivers, CHARLESTON BREWING COMPANY merged with Black Sheep Burrito & Brews to form a uniquely rural beer and burrito pub in springtime 2013. Visited by my pal, Dennis Flubacher, April ’14, this corner-blocked concrete-floored downtown watering hole maintains a yuppie sportsbar atmosphere. Its back bar (with 2 TV’s) saddles glass-enclosed brew tanks while windowed seats crowd the side walls.

Bought in half-growlers for consumption back in Jersey, the best bet had to be compellingly complex Mr. Malum Tripel, a hybridized off-dry saison with sugary cherry-raspberry bubblegum alacrity serenading tart lemon-candied orange, apple and pear nuances alongside contrasted black-peppered fungi must as well as minty herbage.

Another hybrid, Unsteady, combined the brewers’ English-styled bitter (a.k.a. Wobbly) with fungi-like Belgian yeast for a mildly peat-soiled moderation that’s softly dry-hopped to its salty dried fruited finish.

Crisply easygoing H-Hop IPA scattered lemon rind bittering across desiccated navel orange and yellow grapefruit tartness as well as piney spruced herbs, leaving a floral-daubed vegetal smidge in the mildly dry-hopped malt-smoked backdrop.

Similarly styled piney-fruited IPA, The Raj, placed orange-peeled grapefruit briskness atop earthen mineral graining.

On the dark side, a mildly astringent dark chocolate roast inundated Mark 1 Oatmeal Stout, leaving coffee-soured toffee, soy and raisin illusions in its watery midstream.

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