SIP – Riverwatch Brewery
By Griffin Nelson | Photography by John Antaki
Riverwatch Brewery has a created a cult following since they opened in spring 2016. With fabulous brews, the mother-daughter duo have held their own in the craft beer movement and fostered pride for Augusta to carry its weight in the micro-industry.
Brey Sloan started brewing while serving in the U.S. Army, honing her craft when she was stationed as a defense attaché in Burma (officially named Myanmar). Limited importation of beer meant that Brey, along with anyone else who wanted a decent brew, had to learn to make their own. Though she would have loved to retire in Southeast Asia and open a brewery, the Army instead sent her to Japan.
She seized the opportunity to learn more about scaling up to commercial brewing. Upon retirement as an Army Colonel in 2014, after serving her country for 30 years, she was finally able to attend commercial brewing school. While she was training in Germany, her husband scouted the area around Augusta for a future brewery, working to make their dream happen. Though he unfortunately wouldn’t live to see that dream unfold, their daughter, Anne, and her brother stepped up to the plate to create Riverwatch Brewery with their mom.
In the meantime, Anne completed a degree in Marine Biology and though not exactly brewing, there is an incredible amount of science that overlaps, giving her the understanding and training to help her mom. “There is a lot of microbiology behind brewing,” says Anne who is a Certified Cicerone (or beer tasting expert). “It’s a very complex product.”
While spirits get their complexity primarily from aging, beer builds complexity through a whole slew of processes, like fermentation, and ingredients including hops, yeast, water hardness and more. This requires a brewer to be able to juggle the many variables and balance them all for a reliable and tasty recipe, then translate that recipe for large scale brewing. “It’s a very nice melding of art and science,” notes Brey.
On the docket this summer is an original flavor profile: Nearest Point of Relief. This fruited American wheat beer has fresh lime juice and zest, giving it a lively tang without the full punch of sour. For an extra boost, try it with a splash of raspberry syrup — made from scratch at the brewery — or pick up a six-pack and experiment at home.
• 1 pack raspberries
• 1/4 cup sugar
• Enough water to cover raspberries
1. In a saucepan cook and macerate raspberries with sugar and water to create a syrup.
2. Double or triple strain the seeds using a mesh strainer or colander with cheesecloth.
3. Add 1–3 tsp. of raspberry syrup (depending on desired flavor profile) to Nearest Point of Relief brewed by Riverwatch Brewery.
SIP – Boondock Farms
Agritourism isn’t a new concept, but it has long been underappreciated. The hard work and resources that farmers put in, along with the community connections they provide, often get overlooked. For Laura Russo and Jarett Acosta, owners of Boondock Farms, using their farm to teach, connect and provide a space for their community is a deep passion. The purchase of the old Jim & Lilly’s Golf Course in Jackson, S.C., with the dream to turn it into a farm, farmers market and event space is evidence of their enthusiasm.
The course held a special place in the heart of the community, as many people learned to play golf on the green. Although it was closed for over a decade, by the time the duo moved back to their hometown they saw potential in the overgrown fairways. They recognized an opportunity for a community farmers market and it felt like the perfect way to revitalize the old course.
The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. With the onset of the pandemic and breakdown in food supply chains, the open-air pasture provided plenty of space for vendors to spread out their wares and booths as a way to bridge the food gap. The popularity allowed them to expand their vision as the word spread and restrictions lifted.
From April to December, Boondock Farms hosts a vendor event on the second Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Their shop is also open during those same hours every Saturday. Depending on seasonal availability, visitors will find fresh produce, handmade soap, local honey, flowers, pasture-raised pork and chicken, pottery and myriad artisan goods in the shop and market. Most vendor festivals feature live music as well, typically highlighting local singer-songwriters.
“Our main goal is to get people outside and teach them how to prepare and eat fresh food and meet the farmers that grow the fresh food and to have outdoor events.”
– Laura Russo
Russo and Acosta have curated a reliable and consistently robust selection of goods for people wanting to get to know local growers and purchase from them. “Our main goal is to get people outside and teach them how to prepare and eat fresh food and meet the farmers that grow the fresh food and to have outdoor events,” says Russo. The idea of “outdoor events” provides a lot of flexibility for how the space is used. The farm offers classes on gardening, stained glass art, flower arranging, canning and more.
Centuries-old oak trees and the stunning pasture provide the perfect setting for weddings and large events that can be photographed by Russo, a professional photographer. Between the couple’s dreams, Russo’s creativity, Acosta’s skills in historic restoration, their willingness to work hard and the love for what they do, the pair have created the ultimate community environment at Boondock Farms while showing support for shopping fresh and local.
Mark your calendars for the second annual Boondock Revival at Boondock Farms featuring live music, food trucks, a bonfire and camping! Tickets can be purchased via Eventbrite.
Find out more at boondockfarms.com.
ARTISAN – PicnicNParris
Warmer days are here and what better way to enjoy the great outdoors than with a picnic. If you love the idea of a picnic but don’t have time to plan it, PicnicNParris has you covered! Not only does owner Keosha Parris work with clients to find the perfect spot for a luxury pop-up picnic, she brings everything you need — aside from the food — to elevate the experience into something special.
Her most popular package is the Luxe Picnic for two. Complete with blankets, a seated table and plush pillows, the setting is accented with a styled tablescape of flowers, plates, chargers, glassware and flatware. She even thinks of the tiny, practical details — a Bluetooth speaker for your favorite music, a camera to capture the celebration, fresh ice, a waste bucket and hand sanitizer.
Not only does owner Keosha Parris work with clients to find the perfect spot for a luxury pop-up picnic, she brings everything you need — aside from the food — to elevate the experience into something special.
As fun as it can be to have a romantic picnic for two, PicnicNParris offers several other inviting options. There is a solo self-care experience, but other packages can include up to 10 guests (so don’t be shy about reaching out for large parties). It would put a classy touch on a girls’ night, a weekend brunch with friends or a quiet Sunday afternoon date downtown overlooking the Savannah River.
Because her expertise is in the details, all clients have to figure out is what to eat and choose any add-ons that would make the experience most enjoyable. PicnicNParris partners with local businesses that offer curated or personal preference menus.
Other add-ons include professional photographers, an electric violinist or an option to paint under the picnic dome. Parris has created the first luxury pop-up picnic experience in Augusta and loves working with clients to create something truly special.
For more information and booking, visit picnicnparris.squarespace.com.
Appears in the May 2022 issue of Augusta Magazine.
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