My fellow South Carolinians, we are witnesses to the birth of a new era.
Just a few years ago, South Carolina-brewed craft beer was a rare thing indeed. But as of this writing, there are at least 14 breweries making beer in the Palmetto State, with many more due to open soon.
So, what happened? Well, that’s what we’re here to tell you. We’re also going to give you the tools to put together one hell of a road trip. You probably can’t do it all in one weekend, given that most South Carolina breweries have pretty restricted visiting hours, but you can certainly map out some excellent forays around the state.
A note on breweries vs. brewpubs: Under state law, brewpubs are limited to producing beer for in-restaurant use and growler sales, while breweries are making beer you can buy at your neighborhood bar or beer store. No one can deny the awesomeness of Hunter-Gatherer Brewery and Ale House here in Columbia, or the Aiken Brewing Co., or the recent upstart Old Mill Brewpub in Lexington. But it’s breweries that state law made so impractical to operate for so long, and it’s breweries that are currently undergoing a major renaissance in South Carolina — so we’ve limited ourselves to breweries here.
Now go forth and taste some craft beer. — Eva Moore
Conquest Brewing Co.
947 S Stadium Rd., Bay 1, Columbia, S.C.
Tasting room hours: Wed-Thu 4-9 p.m.; Fri 4-10 p.m.; Sat 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun 1-9 p.m.
Columbia’s first production brewery. No scheduled tours — just request one when you visit the tasting room.
River Rat Brewery
Opening late February
1231 Shop Rd., Columbia, S.C.
River Rat is already brewing beer, but its tasting room won’t open to the public until late February. Check facebook.com/riverrat.brewery for updates.
Swamp Cabbage Brewing Co.
801 Brookwood Dr., Columbia, S.C.
1250 2nd St. N, North Charleston, S.C.
Visiting hours: Thu 4-7 p.m.; Sat 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Beloved little brewery offers tours and tastings twice a week. Currently expanding production and building a tasting room.
2895-B Pringle St., Charleston, S.C.
Hours: Thu-Fri 3:30-6:30 p.m.; Sat. 1-5 p.m.
Newly opened brewery specializes in Belgian and Anglo-American styles, with a tasting room overlooking the Ashley River.
Frothy Beard Brewing Co.
7358 Peppermill Pkwy., Ste. B,
North Charleston, S.C.
Tasting room and tour hours: Wed-Fri 5-9 p.m.; Sat-Sun 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Not just a microbrewery but a nanobrewery, Frothy Beard has a 1.5 barrel brewing capacity. Check Facebook for additional hours.
Holy City Brewing
4155-C Dorchester Rd., North Charleston, S.C.
Tasting room hours: Mon-Tue 4-6 p.m.; Wed-Fri 3-8 p.m.; Sat noon-8 p.m.; Sun noon-4 p.m.
Probably best known for its Pluff Mud Porter, this brewery plans to begin canning three of its brews in 2014. Tasting area is kid- and pet-friendly.
289 Huger St., Charleston, S.C.
Open since 1993, Palmetto is South Carolina’s oldest brewery. It’s currently rebuilding its tasting room and hopes to open for tours and tastings again in March. Starting Jan. 24, though, the brewery will relaunch its free concert series; stop by Fridays between 6 and 9 p.m. to buy a few pints and hear some music. After a hiatus over the past few years, Palmetto drafts and six-packs will be available in Columbia again starting Feb. 3.
Westbrook Brewing Co.
510 Ridge Rd., Mount Pleasant, S.C.
Tasting room and tour hours: Thu-Fri 4-7 p.m.; Sat noon-4 p.m.
Named one of the best new breweries in the country for 2013 by Paste Magazine. A lovely space with stellar brews.
River Dog Brewing Co.
591-H Browns Cove Rd., Ridgeland, S.C.
Tasting room hours: Wed-Fri 3-8 p.m.;Sat noon-8 p.m.
Leashed dogs are welcome at outdoor tables.
New South Brewing
1109 Campbell St., Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Tasting room hours: Tue, Thu and Fri, 4:30-7 p.m.
Tours with tastings: Tue and Thu, 3:15 p.m.
Offerings include a lager, a white ale, a nut brown ale and various seasonals and specialties.
Located on a farm in Lancaster. Owner Bryan O’Neal is expanding the brewery from 1.5 barrels to 50 barrels this year. No regular hours; check Facebook page for occasional visiting opportunities.
226-A W. Main St., Spartanburg, S.C.
Hours: Thu-Fri 5-7 p.m.; Sat noon-4 p.m.
Having opened in 1997, R.J. Rockers is one of the earlier entrants in South Carolina’s craft beer boom. On Thursday (5 p.m.) and Saturday (noon), $5 gets you a pint glass, four 4-ounce samples of beer and a tour of the brewery. Open for growler fills Mon-Fri 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Thomas Creek Brewery
2054 Piedmont Hwy., Greenville, S.C.
Tours and tastings available by appointment; call a day or two in advance. Thomas Creek is in the process of building a tasting room.
Quest Brewing Co.
55 Airview Dr., Greenville, S.C.
Tap room hours: Tue-Fri 4-9 p.m.; Sat noon-9 p.m. Free tours every Saturday at 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Open since last July, Quest Brewing is a 25-barrel operation with a special interest in barrel aging — hence the room full of cabernet wine barrels and Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels.
Opening Feb. 1
6 Whitlee Ct., Greenville, S.C.
These listings are up-to-date as of Jan. 9. However, breweries are popping up rapidly and expanding willy-nilly in South Carolina’s current fertile craft beer climate, so we can’t guarantee this information will remain accurate for long. Call when possible to verify hours.
Let us know what you think: Email firstname.lastname@example.org.