Known as a pioneer in the craft-brewery phenomenon sweeping across the United States, South Carolina features more than 60 breweries—with more on the way. But the innovation doesn’t stop at great beer. The biggest thing brewing across the state these days is the explosion of brewpubs. Serving up in-house suds along with dishes that range from wood-fired pizza to Southern specialties, these packed houses roll brewery, bar and restaurant into one.
Southern Barrel Brewing Co., Bluffton
The folks at SBB have won medals for their lager, milk stout, Belgian-style wheat and saison beers. Also tasty are their flagship Damn Yankee IPA, weekly small-batch launches, and killer burgers and wings. But what sets Southern Barrel apart is the tavern’s bar and decor, meticulously crafted with reclaimed wood from a Pennsylvania barn dating back to 1700.
Edmund’s Oast Brewing Co., Charleston
This popular brewer produces beers in cans, bottles and kegs in its 20,000-square-foot brewery, and the brewpub offers a dozen signature beers on tap. However, the shining star may be the food. House-made charcuterie and smoked hot dogs and bacon, creative wood-fired pizzas, homemade ice cream and a robust Sunday brunch set the culinary bar for brewpub grub.
Quigley’s Pint & Plate, Pawleys Island
While trendy beers and flavor extremes seem to be the norm, veteran brewmaster (and co-owner) Josh Quigley stands behind his traditional beers. Among the six staples on tap all the time and several rotating seasonals, visitors won’t find avant-garde sours or hard-core IPAs. What they will find is Lowcountry comfort food along with freshly brewed ales and lagers in an English pub atmosphere.
Southern Hops Brewing Company, Florence
Situated on family land that was converted into a children’s playground in the 1960s, the beer garden at Southern Hops is now a playground for adults, with six house craft brews, limited-release one-offs and 16 craft beer guest taps. The beers are paired with menu items highlighting local ingredients, like honey in the pizza and South Carolina shrimp in the blackened po’ boy and Lowcountry burrito.
Hunter-Gatherer Brewery, Columbia
One of the oldest and most authentic brewpubs in the state, Hunter-Gatherer makes beer with classic English yeast strains and maltings, fermented in wooden casks made by the only master cooper in the UK, and handcrafted by the original brewmaster since it opened in 1995. Serving up a full menu at the downtown location and a smaller selection at the historic and hip Curtiss-Wright Hangar, HG remains the godfather of South Carolina brewpubs.
Old Mill Brewpub, Lexington
Located in the original 1890 mill that housed the Lexington Manufacturing Company until the 1960s, Old Mill Brewpub is now part of a revitalized shopping and dining hub. Featuring a half-dozen of its own handcrafted beers, upwards of 20 guest beers on draft, dozens of bottled beers from around the world and a menu of classic brewpub grub, Old Mill keeps Lexington history alive.
Aiken Brewing Company, Aiken
Located in Aiken’s circa-1800 feed-and-seed market, ABC is a perennial award-winner for brewed beers, tying for first among South Carolina beer producers. The two-pound, four-patty Big Daddy burger (served with a half-pound of beer-brined fries) and Carolina Q baby-back ribs, along with the convivial patio and beer garden, are notable favorites at this local gathering spot.
Good Times Brewing, Greenwood
What started with a love of brick ovens—including building one from scratch—has morphed into a pizza restaurant focusing on build-your-own and specialty pies, and a brewery sidecar of more than a dozen traditional, seasonal and local-ingredient brews. Now occupying three historic buildings in downtown Greenwood, Good Times lives up to its namesake with good pizza, good beer and good company.
Legal Remedy Brewing Co., Rock Hill
Despite a tap list of more than 20 beers brewed in-house—they even brew their own root beer—and a menu of meats smoked on-site, this converted car dealership wows visitors even more with its architecture. Three solar arrays on the front patio shade the outdoor communal space while providing alternative power for the brewpub—turning sunshine into beer.
Ciclops Cyderi & Brewery, Spartanburg
The state’s first brewery, cidery and winery, Ciclops is all about “making absurd the norm” by brewing classic German beers, dry-hopping brews with waffles and baseball bats, fashioning flavors using local ingredients (think coffee roasters and lavender farms), and creating ciders with flavors from around the world. Add a food menu paired to each pint, and the absurd starts making sense.