South Carolina Brews: Sippin’ Sophisticated Suds in the Palmetto State

By:Bob Gillespie

Date:2/10/2016

For beer drinkers, there’s never been a better time to be alive—and to journey to South Carolina, where the craft beer craze is alive, well and raging.

From the coast to the mountains and nearly everywhere in-between, local craft breweries are providing thirsty travelers (and natives, too) with fresh, delicious brews in all styles and tastes. Here’s an overview of where the beers are—and what’s out there now seems to be only the beginning. Prost!

MIDLANDS:

Breweries (3)

Conquest Brewing, Columbia

Columbia's first brewery, with seasonal and limited-release beers as well as year-round staples; beers available on-site and in 22-oz. and 12-oz. six-packs. Tasting room: Monday-Thursday, 4-9 pm; Friday 4-10 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m.- 10 p.m.; Sunday 1-6 p.m. Year-round beers: Artemis Blonde, Sacred Heart IPA, Medusa Stout, Warrior Heart IPA

River Rat Brewery, Columbia

Indoor and outdoor seating at the brewery, food trucks most weekends and charcuterie plates available. Tap room: Tuesday-Thursday 4-9 p.m.; Friday 4-10 p.m.; Saturday noon-10 p.m.; Sunday 1-8 p.m. Year-round beers: Double IPA, Hazelnut Brown, Metal Man IPA, Broad River Red, Pilsner.

Swamp Cabbage Brewing Co, Columbia

“Swamp Cabbage” is nickname given to the heart of the young Sabal Palmetto, the state tree of South Carolina. Beers available at locations in Columbia. Tap room: Wednesday-Friday, open 5 p.m.; Saturday, open noon; Sunday, open 1 p.m. Year-round beers: Dunkelweizen, Amber, Sabal Palm Blonde, ESB, Chocolate Brown, Bald Cypress Porter.

Brewpubs (2)

Hunter-Gatherer Brewery & Ale House, Columbia

Opened 1995, serves on-site only, but plans are underway to begin bottling; second site in 2016 in historic Curtis-Wright Hanger near Owens Field airport. Tap room: Tuesday-Thursday, 4 p.m.-midnight; Friday 11:30 a.m.-midnight, Saturday 4 p.m.-midnight. Year-round beers: Wheat, Pale Ale, ESB, Porter.

Old Mill Brewpub, Lexington

Damaged in historic October 2015 flooding but since reopened. Tap room: Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Has 23 taps featuring local, regional and national beers and “our home brew,” plus selection of bottled beers.

CHARLESTON

Breweries (9)

Coast Brewing, North Charleston

Family-owned brewery located on former U.S. Navy base, opened in 2007. Four-pack cans available in retail stores statewide. Tap room: Thursday-Friday 4-7 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Year-round beers: Boy King Imperial IPA, Dead Arm American Pale Ale, Blackbeerd Imperial Stout, 32/50 Kolsch, Rye Knot Brown Ale, HopArt IPA.

Freehouse Brewery, North Charleston

“An expression of beer as we wish it to be; hand-made with organic ingredients." Beers are available in 22-oz. bottles statewide. Tap room: Thursday-Friday 3-8 p.m., Saturday 1-8 p.m. Year-round beers: Second Anniversary Ale, Ale Back, Kiwi Peach Sourlina, Double Door Double IPA, Kiwi Blueberry Sourlina, Hibiscus Lemongrass Saison, High Wire Hoodoo Whiskey Barrel Aged Imperial Stout; Amber Farmhouse, Rude Boy Amber, Coastal Coffee Brown.

Frothy Beard Brewing, North Charleston

Three owners moved to Charleston and opened brewery in 2008, using 1 ½-barrel system. Tap room: Wednesday-Friday 4-9 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Year-round beers: Photuris Pale Ale, Never Winter Wheat, Zingiber Pale Ale, Andale! Pale Ale, Choconaut.

Holy City Brewing, Charleston

Four friends including two College of Charleston graduates formed the brewery in 2011; beers available in six-pack cans statewide. Tap room: Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Year-round beers: Pluff Mud Porter, Holy City Pilsner, Washout Wheat, Slanted Porch Pale Ale, Chucktown Follicle Brown.Overly Friendly IPA, Yeast Wrangler.

Oak Road Brewery, Summerville

Located in downtown Summerville, north of Charleston; opened by four friends “tired of driving to Charleston to drink craft beers.” Tap room: Friday 3-9 p.m., Saturday noon-9 p.m. Year-round beers: Munich Helles, California-style IPA, Coffee Stout/Porter.

Palmetto Brewing Co, Charleston

South Carolina’s oldest brewery, having opened in 1993 after founders drank craft beer on a surfing trip. Tap room: Tuesday-Wednesday 3-7 p.m., Thursday 3-9 p.m., Friday 1-10 p.m., Saturday 1-7 p.m. Year-round beers: Amber Ale, Pale Ale, Charleston Lager, Espresso Porter.

Revelry Brewing, Charleston

Named official brewery of @gardenandgunmag Jubilee 2015. Tap room: Monday-Friday 4-10 p.m., Saturday-Sunday noon-10 p.m. Year-round beers: Breakfast & Brunettes Belgian Dubbel, Oh My Darlyn’ Scotch Ale, Oktoberfest Lager, Conjured Memories Spice Beer, Covert Ops Dunkel Weisse, Stupid Sexy Sour, Gaslight Porter, Dr. Shepard’s Specialtea Altbier, Funkmaster Brett & The Furious Hops Belgian IPA.

Tradesman Brewing Co, Charleston

Only nanobrewery on James Island, offering pints, flights, tours and tastings. Tap room: Tuesday-Friday 4:30-8 p.m., Saturday noon-8 p.m. Year-round beers: Door Opener IPA, Cranberry Cream Ale, Bricklayer’s Ale, Circuit Breaker IPA, Don’t Monk With Us Tripple, Journeyman’s Pale Ale, Pipewrench Porter, Simcoe Circuit Breaker, Wire Nut Brown Ale.

Westbrook Brewing Co, Mount Pleasant

One of Charleston’s best-distributed beers, available in state plus North Carolina, Alabama, New York State, Brooklyn and Denmark. Tap room: Tuesday-Friday 4-8 p.m., Saturday noon-6 p.m. Year-round beers: One Claw, White Thai, India IPA, plus 19 rotating beers.

Brewpubs (3)

Edmund’s Oast, Charleston

Named for Edmund Egan, a 1760s brewer in Charleston, and “oast,” European term for a kiln used in drying hops. Also serves dinner and Sunday brunch. Tap room. Monday-Saturday 4:30 p.m.-until, Sunday 10 a.m.-until. Year-round beers: Gilded, Lord Proprietors’ Mild, Toasted Oats, Peanut Butter & Jelly, Whiskey-Lurker, Under-Lurker, Pub Lurker, Olden Ale, Viridi Rex, Circa 1916, Kakara Pia, Carolina Farmhouse, assorted sours.

Oak Barrel Tavern, Charleston

A small, beer-only establishment with 12 taps pouring craft beers, “leaning to the hoppy side,” according to one review. Also growler fills and bottled beers available. Tap room: Sunday 3 p.m.-midnight, Monday-Tuesday 3 p.m.-2 a.m., Wednesday-Friday 1 p.m.-2 a.m., Saturday 1 p.m.-midnight. Available beers: Crimson Dark Ale, Cascadian Dark Ale brewed with Blue Lady Rosemary, OBT Nuggetzilla Double IPA, OBT Lacey Oatmeal Porter, OBT Lacey Winter Spiced Porter.

Southend Brewery & Smokehouse, Charleston

Offers a variety of Lowcountry food and microbrews in Charleston’s historic downtown district. Tap room: Sunday-Thursday 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m., bar open until 2 a.m. Year-round beers: Love Me Two Time Blonde, Rip Tide Red, Watch It Grow Wheat, Pict’s Stout, Castle Pinckney Pale Ale, plus seasonal draught.

Contract/Alternating Proprietorship (2)

Fatty’s Beer Works, Charleston

Brewed in Virginia, distributed in Charleston. Beer brewed by Beltway Brewing Co. in Virginia. No tap room. Available beer: Fatty’s First Shot IPA, others to come.

Fat Pig Brewing, Charleston & Columbia

South Carolina, distributed in Charleston & Columbia. Beers are brewed under contract at Tradesman Brewing Company on James Island and available in bars and restaurants. No tap room. Available beers: Bearded Ninja Tripel, Combine!, Imperial Pirate Black IPA.

UPSTATE

Breweries (6)

Brewery 85, Greenville

Begun by four friends with a love of beer, name “Brewery 85” is in reference to Interstate 85 between Greenville and Atlanta. Hosts beer garden bonfire and cornhole tournaments. Tap room: Friday noon-8 p.m., Saturday noon-5 p.m. Year-round beers: Line Drive IPA, Leon’s Lederhosen, GVL IPA, Fishin’ Beer, Great Danish Ale, 864 Weizen, Yeoman’s Brown, Quittin’ Time, Southern Style.

Carolina Bauernhaus Ales, Anderson

Opened December 2015, Carolina Bauernhaus Ales, Anderson’s first and only craft brewery, creates handcrafted ales that reflect and pay homage to the rich agricultural resources of Upstate South Carolina by using locally sourced malt, grains, yeast and hops. While our brewing techniques may be Belgian inspired, our beers are not reverent to tradition. We strive to create a family of unique beers that range from approachable saisons to challenging barrel aged sour beers. We are located at 115 W. Federal St. in downtown Anderson, SC across from the Anderson Arts Center. Taproom hours are Monday-Friday 4-11 p.m., Friday 4-12 a.m., Saturday 12 p.m.-12 a.m., and Sunday 12-8 p.m.

Hub City Tap House/Ciclops Cyderi & Brewery, Spartanburg

Opened in September 2015 as first brewery-cidery-winery in U.S.; its 30 taps include 20 craft beers from local and regional brewers, 10 taps for original and collaborative beers, hard ciders and combinations. Tap room: Tuesday-Thursday 3-10 p.m., Friday 2 p.m.-midnight, Saturday noon-11 p.m. Year-round beers: Downtown Spartanbrown Ale, Ta Si Daeng cider, Austrinken Hefeweizen, Contact hard apple cider.

Quest Brewing, Greenville

Founded as microbrewery in 2012; beers are now available in six-pack cans statewide. Tap room: Tuesday-Wednesday 4-8 p.m., Thursday 4-9 p.m., Friday 3-9 p.m., Saturday noon-9 p.m. Year-round beers: Smoking Mirror Smoked Porter, Golden Fleece Belgian Pale Ale, Kaldi Imperial Coffee Stout, Ellida India Pale Ale.

RJ Rockers Brewing Co, Spartanburg

Opened in April 1997 as brewpub in city’s West End; beers now available statewide in six-pack bottles and growlers. Tap room: Thursday-Friday 3-8 p.m., Saturday noon-6 p.m. Year-round beers: Son of a Peach American Wheat, Bell Ringer Double Pale Ale, Hop Quake IPA, Brown Eyed Squirrel, Light Rock Ale, Palmetto Trail Ale, Patriot Ale, Good Boy Stout, Strawberry Bomber, Witty Twister Wit, Dunkulele Wheat, The First Snow Ale.

Thomas Creek Brewery, Greenville

Founded in 1998, brewery is open to the public; bottle six-packs available statewide. Tap room: Year-round beers: Red Ale, Dockside Pilsner, Appalachian Amber Ale, Deep Water Doppelbock Lager, Chocolate Orange IPA, Class Five IPA, Trifecta IPA, Up The Creek Imperial IPA, Coffee Oatmeal Stout.

Brewpubs (2)

Blue Ridge Brewing Co, Greenville

Opened doors in 1995 as Greenville’s original brewpub, also offers full lunch and dinner menu and pizzas. Tap room: Sunday-Saturday 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Year-round beers: Hurricane Hefeweizen, Kurli Blonde Ale, Colonel Paris Pale Ale, XXX Total Eclipse Stout, Rainbow Trout ESB.

Swamp Rabbit Brewery & Taproom, Travelers Rest

Opened in 2014, voted Best Local Brewery in the Upstate 2015. Tap room: Monday-Thursday 5-9 p.m., Friday 2-10 p.m., Saturday noon-10 p.m., Sunday 1-7 p.m. Year-round beers: American Pale Ale, Black Plague Dark Lager, Double IPA, Marzen (Oktoberfest) Pilsner, White Ale.

Contract/Alternating Proprietors (1)

Birds Fly South Ale Project, Greenville

Started by U.S. Coast Guard aviation engineer and former home brewer who lives in Greer, in contract with Thomas Creek Brewery and focusing on farmhouse-style beers. No tap room. Year-round beers: Brand New Eyes Saison/Farmhouse Ale, Peach Berliner Weizze, Pumpkin Sour, Rhubarb Gose, Rumblefish Hoppy Saison, Rustic Sunday Rye Saison.

RESORT ISLANDS (HILTON HEAD, BEAUFORT)

Breweries (3)

Hilton Head Brewing, Hilton Head Island

Now selling can six-packs, available regionally. Tap room: Sunday-Saturday 11:30 a.m.-2 a.m. Year-round beers: Tropical Lager, Session IPA, Reggie IPA, Groove Town Assault Xtra IPA, Hefe German Wheat, Ol’ Man Porter, Ales for Als, Single Hop, Burning Man Dark Ale.

River Dog Brewing Co, Ridgeland

Opened 2013; brewery tours by head brewer John Federal are the second Saturday of each month. Beer available in can six-packs statewide, plus growlers. Tap room: Tuesday-Thursday 3-8 p.m., Friday 3-0 p.m., Saturday noon-9 p.m. Year-round beers: Perkolatte Milk Stout, Force Ten Imperial IPA, Rusty Plow English Brown Ale, Antheia Ale, Lowcountry Ambrosia Wheat, O-Rye-N’s Rye Blonde Ale, Riverwalk Empire American Pilsner, Doovalacky Double IPA, Altered State Red IPA, River Dog IPA, Chocolate Rye Porter.

Southern Barrel Brewing Co, Bluffton

Opened in 2015 with 12,500-square-foot building including 2,500-square-foot tavern serving food and a fenced beer garden; can six-packs available statewide. Tap room: Monday 4-11 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday 4-10 p.m., Friday 3-11 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sunday noon-11 p.m. Year-round beers: Helles Lager, Raspberry Lager, American Pale Ale, Saison, Oatmeal Amber, Southern Session IPA, India Pale Ale.

Brewpubs (1)

Contract/Alternating Proprietors (1)

Wooden Skiff Brewing, Hilton Head Island

Beers are available on tap at Hilton Head area restaurants and bars, plus others statewide. Tap room: None. Year-round beers: May River Sunset Blonde, Irish Red, Dockhand Saison, Blackwater Porter, Octagon House Belgian Dubbel, Beached Pale Ale, Grapefruite Session IPA.

GRAND STRAND (MYRTLE BEACH)

Breweries (1)

New South Brewing, Myrtle Beach

Opened in 1998, added canning operation in 2009; beers available in Grand Strand area. Tours free Tuesday and Thursday. Tap room: Tuesday and Thursday 3-6:30 p.m., Friday 4:30-7 p.m. Year-round beers: Lager, Stout, White Ale, IPA, Nut Brown Ale.

Brewpubs (3)

Gordon Biersch, Myrtle Beach

Company began in 1988 in California, acquired by Big River Brewing Company in 1999, now operates 35 restaurants in U.S. Located at Market Common Myrtle Beach. Tap room: Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-midnight. Year-round beers: Golden Export, Marzen, Hefeweizen, Czech Pilsner, Schwarzbier.

Liberty Brewery & Grill, Myrtle Beach

Located in Broadway at the Beach, restaurant offers full lunch and dinner menu. Tap room: Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Year-round beers: Liberty Lager, White Ale, Raspberry Wheat, Broadway Brown Ale, Honest I.P. Abe, Liberty’s Seasonal, Brewmaster’s Special.

Quigley’s Pint & Plate, Pawleys Island

Opened in 2007 and is only brewery in Litchfield Beach and Pawleys Island; eight beers always on tap, growler fills available. Tap room: Sunday-Saturday 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Year-round beers: Longboard Lager, Shakedown Wheat, Peach Wheat, Neck Red Ale, Swamp Fox IPA, Nut Brown Ale.

GREENWOOD

Breweries (1)

Good Times Brewing @ The Mill House, Greenwood

Brewery and adjacent The Mill House restaurant opened in 2010 specializing in brick oven pizza and local craft beer. Tap room: Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Year-round beers: Batch 24 Wheat Ale, Batch 19 Marzen Bier, Batch 20 Brown Ale, Batch 18 Doppelbock, Batch 21 Session IPA, Batch 16 German Red Ale, Batch 9 Coffee Stout, Batch 23 Blonde Ale.

AIKEN

Brewpubs (1)

Aiken Brewing Co., Aiken

Located in Aiken’s Downtown district, restaurant offers full lunch and dinner menu. Tap room: Monday-Wednesday 11 a.m.-midnight, Thursday-Saturday 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Year-round beers: German Kolsch, Nut Brown Ale, Old Aiken Ale, Thoroughbred Red, West Coast Pale Ale.

OLDE ENGLISH DISTRICT (ROCK HILL AREA)

Breweries (3)

Benford Brewing, Lancaster

Began as home brewing and opened on a small farm as 30-barrel Benford Brewing in 2012; 22-oz. bottles available in various locations statewide. Tap room: Saturday noon-4 p.m. Year-round beers: Irish Honey Ale, Smoked O’Hickory Brown Ale, World’s Problem Solver IPA.

Full Spectrum Brewing Co., Fort Mill

One-time MUSC student began brewery as a combination nanobrewery and CrossFit gym in 2012. Tap room: Thursday-Friday 5-9 p.m., Saturday noon-9 p.m. Year-round beers: Autumn Orange, Pale Blue Ale, Infrared IPA, Shamrock Stout, Light Gold Ale, Rose IPA.

Legal Remedy Brewing, Rock Hill

Lawyer, two bankers, computer technician and landscape architect bought former 11,000-square-foot auto dealership in 2015, now operating a 17-barrel custom craft brewery and brewpub serving lunch and dinner. Tap room: Monday 5-11 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Year-round beers: Alibi Ale, All Rise Ale, Bribery Bittersweet Orange Wheat, Double Indemnity Double IPA, Golden Rule Golden Ale, Jury Panel Jalapeno Pineapple Ale, Matt Lindsay’s Dubbel Jeopardy, Motion to Strike Milk Stout, Overruled Orange Stout, Pilferage Pilsner, Plea Bargain Pecan Brown Ale, Pro Bono Porter, Retainer Red Rye Ale, others.

PEE DEE

Breweries (1)

Seminar Brewing, Florence

Partnership of three brewers with 22 years experience, who opened brewery in 2011; growlers available on site, 22-oz. bottles available statewide. Tap room: Tuesday, Thursday-Friday, 6:30-9 p.m. Year-round beers: Citrocity IPA, Peanut Butter Craver Porter, Tanlines Summer Ale, Howler American Red Ale, Alpha Crucis IPA, Crowfoot Wheat Stout, Pecans Gone Wild Smoked Brown Ale.

Brewpubs (1)

Southern Hops Brewing Co., Florence

Billed as South Carolina’s only brewpub with no fried foods on the menu, including (double-baked) wings; also offers live music. Tap room: Monday 4-11 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-midnight. Year-round beers: Pops Pilsner, Rooster Red Ale, 5 Points IPA, Goldilocks Golden Ale, Leeroy Brown Ale, Black Water Porter.

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