Since celebrating its first anniversary back in January, Columbia’s Conquest brewery has kept itself mighty busy as it moves into its second year of production. Just this week alone, the brewery expanded the format in which its beers are available and took the first steps toward getting its barrel program up and running.
Here’s a rundown of what’s been going on down near Williams-Brice.
Tuesday, March 25, saw the launch of Conquest’s first regularly released bottled offerings. The brewery’s three flagship beers – Sacred Heart IPA, Artemis Blonde and Medusa Stout – were all hand-bottled and hand-labeled at the brewery recently and went up for sale this week. Bottles of Artemis cost $4.99 each, Medusa is $5.49 and Sacred Heart is $5.99, all for 22 oz. bombers. They’re available at the brewery now and will be hitting retail stores in Columbia soon. No word yet on distribution outside of the Columbia area.
This week also marked the beginning of Conquest’s barrel-aging program thanks to the generosity of Greenville’s Brewery 85 as the Upstate brewery graciously parted with one of its prized Pappy Van Winkle bourbon barrels. Nothing’s been put in the barrel yet, but it is the first of many Conquest plans to put its brews in this year.
Speaking of brews, Tuesday also marked the brewing of Conquest’s 100th batch. The centennial batch is a barleywine and joins a host of in-the-works beers, including a session ale dubbed Drinking Class Ale; a hefeweizen; and Charles the Hammer, an imperial IPA described by head brewer Joseph Ackerman as “effing brutal.”
As for the rest of 2014, Conquest is beginning to set its plans for expansion into motion. Later this year, the brewery’s bottling line will be up and running in the warehouse adjacent to the brewery, and with that will come more bottled releases. And by year’s end, the brewery hopes to have its larger brewhouse online as well as its expanded fermentation capacity.