A beer flight at Conquest Brewing Co. Photo by Jonathan Sharpe
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
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.
(843) 654-9114 westbrookbrewing.com
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. riverdogbrewing.com
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.
(843) 916-2337 newsouthbrewing.com
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.
(864) 585-2337 rjrockers.com
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.
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.
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