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Beers to You: CRW -- connecting you to craft beer

By Rich Ireland

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Air travel these days can be virtually unpredictable -- canceled flights, long layovers etc.

It's even more challenging for frequent fliers who have to connect through a hub nearly every time they fly. Such is the case for business fliers like me, flying sometimes three or four times a month out of our wonderful little Yeager Airport -- or "Charlie West," as the pilots like to call it.

It's good to know when flying from Charleston that no matter what happens, good craft beer can be had at many of CRW's connecting hubs. Craft beer has really penetrated the market, having enjoyed double-digit market growth year after year for the past 10 years or more.

Airport hospitality managers have obviously taken notice. Most recently, Yeager airport has (finally) added a lounge on the gate-side (past security) that features a nice selection of sandwiches and a few taps featuring West Virginia-brewed craft beer from Bridge Brew Works and others.

I recently talked with Sean Matthews of HMS Host, one of the world's leading airport hospitality management companies, operating in more than 100 airports. The HMS tag line, "Making the traveler's day better," really resonates with me.

HMS has introduced a core program that reserves at least two taps (No. 2 & No. 5 for Samuel Adams product and Goose Island product respectively). Sean and his team kindly provided me with a list of HMS-managed airport lounges, bars and restaurants that serve craft beer. The list focuses on the hubs that all of us "Yeagernauts" often fly through to get to our ultimate destinations.

Here is the list:

Charlotte (CLT)

Carolina Brewing Co. (Concourse D): Offers at least six different beers, mostly from North Carolina.

Taste of Carolina (Concourse B): More than 10 craft beers. Sam Adams, Goose Island and several locally brewed beers.

Washington Dulles (IAD)

Gordon-Biersch (Terminal D): Offers several well-brewed German-themed beers. G-B is a large brewpub chain in the U.S.

Harry's Tap Room (Terminal B): Features beers from Virginia's own Devil's Backbone brewery and Washington state-based Widmer Brothers.

Reagan International (DCA)

Sam Adams Pub (Terminal A): Serves Sam Adams beers and is not part of HMS.

Gordon Biersch (Terminal C): Same as at Dulles.

Chicago O'Hare (ORD)

Goose Island Brewing (Terminal 2): Featuring several of Chicago's Goose Island crafts on tap.

Beaudevin (T1-C) & Blackhawks Stanley's Kitchen (T2-E): Both have Goose Island selections on tap.

O'Hare has several other non-HMS pubs serving larger craft brands such as Samuel Adams.

Detroit Metro (DTW)

Jose Cuervo Tequileria; Fox Skybox Bar (Concourse A): These lounges are both located in Detroit's massive Concourse A and are part of the HMS Core Craft Beer program.

Houston-Bush International Airport (IAH)

3rd Oyster Bar; Barcuterie (located in the newly renovated Terminal B): Both feature several beers from Houston's own St. Arnold Brewing Co. Shiner and Southern Star beers are also available.

For more on the craft of beer, see Rich Ireland's "Beers to You" blog at thegazz.com.


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