That Old Black Magic
The PubScout discovers that it’s worth the drive to Voodoo Brewing in Murrells Inlet, SC.
Every month a group of us former Jersey Geezers get together to drink, eat, reminisce, bust chops (usually Wayne’s) and shoot the breeze at a restaurant or pub. Most of the attendees hail from the Palmetto State, so most times it is in SC, sometimes in North Myrtle, and very rarely, it’s in NC. This month the pre-Christmas Geezer Gathering took place in Murrells Inlet in an almost brand-new brewery called Voodoo Brewing.
Founded in 2005 on a distribution-only model, by 2012 Voodoo had opened up its first taproom on Arch Street in Meadville, PA. It quickly became a staple in the local community and exceeded all performance expectations. It expanded to Pittsburgh, and its beer was in high demand.
The company purchased a facility called The Compound in 2017, which gave them the opportunity to brew more beer than ever before.
And the franchising began.
This particular venue is a franchise run by former New Yorker Mike Dapolite, who, after various successful careers in corporate management, decided to retire and move south to open a business in the sunny climes of Murrells Inlet. Dapolite’s operation was the 11th franchise in a company that has 75 franchises planned. More about that later.
As a lover of good beer, good food and a place with good vibes, I can assert that if the rest of the franchises are as cool as Dapolite’s, they’ll be booming.
Mike opened his place just south of the venerable Suck, Bang, Blow biker bar on Highway 17 Business. Unfortunately, he did not get the benefit of the summer and its chaotic-but-great-for-business bike weeks, as red tape held up his opening until October.
But watch out next season. The place is huge, comfortable and welcoming with various rooms for various crowds and activities. But space, dining rooms and game rooms do not ensure the success of a place like this. For that, you need three things: great beer, equally great food and great staff. Voodoo Brewing checks off all those boxes very neatly.
Let’s start with the beer. None of it is made in-house; it is shipped there from The Compound. But every beer I tasted was dead-on style and delicious. From the best-selling transitional No Calories (aimed at the BudMillerCoors crowd, which augurs well for future Bike Weeks) to tasty lagers to IPAs and DIPAs to Belgian Tripels (9.2%) to Stouts on nitro (9%), every beer in my sample flight was a knockout. And that included a supposedly “sour” and wonderful Berliner Weisse.
The description says it is made only with “greens,” but I suspect it was flavored (expertly) with woodruff.
We geezers may not be able to navigate Tik-Tok or Instagram, but, dadgummit, we know where the good food is. (And get off my lawn!) Every single seasoned citizen in our party of eight raved about their food. From Reubens to Italian Sausage Sandwiches to Sausage and Peppers to Eggplant Parmigiana, the food was outstanding and served in portions that geezers like — big enough to take home doggie bags. Joann, the 1985 Equestrian Champion and Pistol Champion from NJ, declared her Reuben to be the best she’d ever had. And you don’t want to argue with a gal who taught the FBI and the Secret Service how to shoot.
While the menu has plenty of standard pub food — burgers, wings, etc. (try the big Twin Pretzels and accompanying house-made beer cheese and beer mustard sauces) — you might notice a preponderance of Italian offerings on that menu. That is by design — Dapolite’s design — because he is making his place, well, his. And there will be more Italian fare to come.
I know, I know. Why tell us here in NC about a great place that’s more than an hour away from us, PubScout?
Because this story about Voodoo Brewing is actually a bad news/good news story. The bad news is that this one is in Murrells Inlet.
But the good news is that one is due in Wilmington — VERY soon. And the franchise agreement declares that the good beer and a large percentage of the good food has to be available in ALL franchise locations.
Shoot, I don’t mind the drive to Murrells Inlet, especially on two wheels in warmer weather. But I wouldn’t complain about a Voodoo Brewing in Wilmington, either.
Nor should you.
Let that Old Black Magic cast its spell on you.
Want to go?
3453 U.S. Highway 17 Business, Murrells Inlet, SC