Explore the Best Breweries in South Carolina: A Craft Beer Enthusiast’s Guide

In search of the best breweries in South Carolina? Look no further. South Carolina’s craft beer scene delivers a diverse palette of standout breweries and distinctive ales.

From Charleston’s award-winners to Greenville’s craft innovators, we pinpoint where you can savor the state’s finest brews. Get ready to navigate the top spots that define South Carolina’s beer craftsmanship.

Key Takeaways

  • South Carolina is a craft beer hotspot with over 130 breweries offering local flavors and innovative brews, from Charleston’s history-rich coast to Greenville’s vibrant city scene.
  • The breweries hone their craft with locally sourced ingredients, seasonal yeasts, and collaboration, leading to numerous awards and recognition on prestigious platforms like the World Beer Cup and Open Beer Championship.
  • The craft beer experience in South Carolina extends well beyond the beer itself, featuring tours, events, community meetups, and the support of the South Carolina Brewers Guild, enhancing engagement and appreciation for local breweries.

Exploring the Craft Beer Scene in South Carolina

South Carolina boasts a vibrant craft beer scene with over eighty licensed breweries, each contributing their unique elements. These breweries, nestled amidst the southern charm of cities like Charleston and Greenville, have become a testament to the state’s brewing prowess.

From the COAST Brewing Company in North Charleston to the Charles Towne Fermentory on Johns Island, these local breweries are not only elevating the state’s beer culture but also capturing global attention.

The Rise of Craft Breweries in South Carolina

Over the past decade, the number of craft breweries in South Carolina has dramatically increased, rising from a few to over 130. This growth has been fueled by a wave of entrepreneurial spirit, innovative brewing techniques, and a supportive craft beer community.

The ‘pint law’ enacted in 2013, which allowed customers to purchase up to three pints on-site at breweries, provided an additional boost, leading to a more than 1000% increase in brewery establishments.

Initially, the proliferation of breweries was concentrated in metropolitan areas. Still, the craft beer wave has since spread to secondary cities, enriching the entire state’s beer landscape.

This trend of new brewery openings outpacing closures indicates a thriving craft beer scene in South Carolina, promising exciting times ahead for beer lovers.

Local Ingredients, Global Recognition

South Carolina breweries stand out, not just for their number, but for their commitment to quality and innovation. By infusing local terroir into their brews and using regional flavors, these breweries are crafting beers as distinctive as Champagne to France.

Overcoming the traditionally challenging climate for hop and grain production, the state’s craft beer industry has turned adversity into opportunity. Through collaborations with establishments like Palmetto Malt Company and various farms, they are creatively producing distinctive local ingredients.

This focus on local ingredients is best exemplified by breweries such as COAST Brewing and Carolina Bauernhaus. Their extensive use of organic hops and wild yeasts has not only contributed to South Carolina’s unique beer profile but also garnered them global acclaim.

This approach of blending local flavors with global brewing techniques is what sets South Carolina’s breweries apart.

A Toast to South Carolina’s Top Breweries

Navigating through South Carolina’s bustling craft beer scene, we honor some of the state’s premier breweries, each distinguished by its unique brewing philosophy and flavorful offerings.

From the organic and locally sourced ingredients of COAST Brewing Company’s HopArt IPA and 32/50 Kölsch to Westbrook Brewing’s highly-rated Westbrook Gose and Mexican Cake, these breweries exemplify the state’s brewing excellence.

Add to that the hop-forward and yeast-centric brews of Charles Towne Fermentory and the creative stouts from The Eighth State Brewing Company, and you have a craft beer scene in Mt Pleasant that’s as diverse as it is fascinating.

Charleston’s Champions of Hops and Barley

Charleston, renowned for its rich history and coastal charm, also hosts some of South Carolina’s award-winning breweries. Holy City Brewing and Revelry Brewing Company have put this historic city on the craft beer map with their impressive lineup of brews and accolades.

Holy City Brewing, known for its Pluff Mud Porter and Overly Friendly IPA, impresses with its innovative approach to brewing, as well as its commitment to the local community.

Not to be outdone, Revelry Brewing Company offers an inviting rooftop atmosphere where patrons can enjoy award-winning beers like Crosstown Brown and Pass the Lemongrass.

Their Beer in the Key of Lime even bagged a silver medal in the Barrel-Aged Fruit Sour category, further cementing their place among the top breweries in South Carolina.

Greenville’s Gateway to Ale Adventures

Beyond the coastal allure of Charleston and Myrtle Beach, Greenville provides an additional entry point into South Carolina’s ale adventures. This city, known for its vibrant arts scene and beautiful parks, has become a noteworthy destination for craft beer lovers.

Breweries like Double Stamp Brewery, with its 90s vibe, and Think Tank Brew Lab, boasting a trailside location on the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail, are more than just places to enjoy a pint; they are experiences in themselves.

The diversity of the city’s beer offerings is as impressive as its cultural scene. Thomas Creek Brewery crafts a variety of ales and IPAs with Blue Ridge water, while Tetrad Brewing Company specializes in small-batch brews using only four ingredients.

This innovative approach to brewing and the diverse range of beer styles make Greenville an essential stop on any South Carolina ale adventure.

Discover Unique Flavors at Each Stop

Traversing South Carolina’s craft beer landscape, it becomes evident that this is a state with a passion for experimentation.

South Carolina’s breweries are continually pushing the boundaries, offering an expanding variety of beers to enthusiasts. Using local ingredients, these breweries craft unique flavors that define the state’s craft beer culture.

From seasonally harvested yeasts to experimental brews, each stop on this journey offers something new and exciting that challenges the palate.

Seasonally Harvested Yeasts and Wild Ales

If you’re a fan of wild ales, South Carolina has you covered. Breweries like Carolina Bauernhaus Ales are known for using local and seasonally harvested yeasts to produce their experimental beers.

From ales and ciders to meads, Carolina Bauernhaus Greenville sources local ingredients to craft beverages that are as unique as the state itself.

The partnership between SouthYeast Labs and Carolina Bauernhaus enables the use of wild yeasts with immediate testing for robust quality control. American wild ales crafted at Carolina Bauernhaus, using yeasts harvested from regional fruits such as nectarines and prickly pear cactus, offer a local twist on Belgian and German styles.

Seasonal offerings, including the American wheat ale infused with cherry and lime, cater to the palate with a balance of sweet and tart flavors suited for spring.

Experimental Brews That Challenge Taste Buds

South Carolina’s breweries aren’t afraid to push the envelope. If you’re up for a challenge, breweries like New Realm Brewing Co. and The Eighth State Brewing Company have something for you.

New Realm Brewing Co. in Charleston received third-place recognition for their chili beer, showcasing South Carolina’s skill in creating unique stouts like the Oaxaca Choca Mexican Chocolate Stout.

The Eighth State Brewing Company, on the other hand, offers inventive stouts with unconventional ingredients, like Turkish pistachios and coconut macaroons, that challenge the palate.

From goses and sours with traditional characteristics to beers with modern flavors such as blackberries, key limes, and blue raspberry, breweries like Angry Fish and Westbrook Brewing are crafting beverages that are as intriguing as they are delicious.

So, if you’re ready to challenge your taste buds, South Carolina’s craft beer scene won’t disappoint.

The Award-Winning Brews of South Carolina

South Carolina’s breweries not only innovate but excel in their craft. This is evident in the numerous awards they’ve bagged at prestigious beer competitions like the World Beer Cup and Open Beer Championship.

Columbia Craft Brewing Co., Liability Brewing Co., and Iron Hill Brewery of Greenville have all showcased their brewing excellence with several wins in these competitions.

Truly, the state’s brewing prowess is not just about the quantity but the quality of its beers.

Open Beer Championship Medalists

The Open Beer Championship is a prestigious award competition in the craft beer industry, recognizing the best of the best in beer production. Several South Carolina breweries have distinguished themselves by winning gold medals at this highly competitive event.

Notable gold medal beers include the Belgian-Style Tripel from Monksville Brewery, the American IPA from Hopsters Alley, the Imperial Stout from Barrelsmiths Brewing, and the Boy King Double IPA.

These achievements reflect the creativity, skill, and dedication to quality that South Carolina breweries bring to their craft, elevating the state’s standing in the national beer community.

Flagship Beers That Define Excellence

In the world of craft beer, flagship beers often define a brewery’s identity. South Carolina is no exception, with several breweries boasting flagship beers that have left an indelible mark on the state’s craft beer scene.

Sun King Brewery’s Sunlight Cream Ale has been honored with a gold medal at the 2022 U.S. Open Beer Championship, underscoring its stature as a flagship beer.

Other breweries like Birds Fly South Ale Project and COAST Brewing Company have also made their mark with their unique offerings. Charles Towne Fermentory is celebrated for their Profunda and Yacht Party lagers, while Birds Fly South showcases their mastery in farmhouse ale production.

These beers not only offer unique flavors but also tell the story of South Carolina’s brewing journey.

South Carolina Brewery Experiences Beyond the Pint

Experiencing breweries in South Carolina goes beyond just the beer; it’s about the entire engagement. The state’s breweries offer a range of activities beyond the pint, from brewery tours and tastings to unique events that celebrate the craft beer culture.

The Brewery Experience tours in Greenville, for instance, offer a guided journey through local craft breweries, emphasizing education and enjoyment of the beer culture. Brewlab in Charleston brings a unique spin to the brewery scene by hosting events that pair beer tasting with diverse activities, fostering a sociable atmosphere.

Brewpubs and Restaurants with House-Made Brews

South Carolina’s brewpubs offer a unique blend of craft beer enjoyment and diverse food menus. Combining the sale of craft beers with an array of culinary delights, these establishments offer a unique experience for both food and beer lovers.

Some popular brewpubs in South Carolina include:

  • Edmund’s Oast in Charleston
  • The Velo Fellow
  • The Southern Growl Beer Company
  • Blue Ridge Brewing Co.
  • Southernside Brewing Co.

At these brewpubs, you can enjoy a variety of house-made brews paired with food menus that range from Southern-inspired dishes to British-style pub fare.

Revelry Brewing Company has even taken it a step further by offering a fine dining experience with their house beer, serving a variety of tacos designed to complement their brews.

Brewery Tours and Tastings

Brewery tours and tastings are a great way to immerse yourself in South Carolina’s craft beer scene. Certified Cicerone® Gary Glancy offers The Brewery Experience tours, where visitors can learn about brewing methods, flavors, and the craft beer history in the Carolinas.

These tours have been commended for their educational and enjoyable experiences, ranking #1 of 27 Food & Drink experiences on TripAdvisor in the area.

Other breweries like RJ Rockers Brewing Co. in Spartanburg and those in Rock Hill enhance the customer experience with an outdoor beer garden, an indoor golf club, and improved restaurant services.

So whether you’re a local or a visitor, these tours offer a unique way to explore and learn about South Carolina’s craft beer scene.

The Community of Brewers and Beer Lovers

South Carolina’s craft beer scene extends beyond just the breweries and beers; it also revolves around the people. The South Carolina Brewers Guild plays a crucial role in uniting the state’s craft beer community by promoting and advocating for the interests of local craft breweries.

Through exclusive events like ‘Meet the Brewer Happy hours,’ the Guild facilitates networking and interaction between brewers and beer lovers in South Carolina.

It’s a community that’s as vibrant and diverse as the beers it produces.

Collaboration Brews and Community Events

One of the most exciting aspects of South Carolina’s craft beer scene is the spirit of collaboration. Breweries often come together to create special releases and events, significantly contributing to the proliferation of the state’s craft beer scene.

Community and celebration are fostered through themed brewery events, such as Charles Towne Fermentory’s ‘Hoppy Holidays 5k’.

The South Carolina Brewery Running Series even merges running and craft beer enjoyment through 5k events at various breweries. These collaborations and events bring South Carolina’s craft beer enthusiasts together, fostering a sense of community and shared love for craft beer.

Supporting Local Breweries and Their Stories

Supporting local breweries is not just about buying their beer; it’s about understanding and appreciating their stories. Enthusiast members of the South Carolina Brewers Guild gain access to pre-sale tickets for events, fostering engagement and support for local craft breweries.

Breweries like Shoeless Brewing Co. | Grapes & Grains have interesting stories to share. As both the smallest brewery in Upstate South Carolina and the largest home-brew store, it showcases the diversity and passion within the local brewery community.

Planning Your South Carolina Brewery Road Trip

So, you’re prepared to set off on your South Carolina brewery road trip? That’s fantastic! To plan the ultimate adventure, consider the state’s diverse regions: the Lowcountry and coast, the Midlands, and the Upstate, each offering unique breweries and beer experiences.

From the organic the offerings of COAST Brewing Company in the Lowcountry to the innovative stouts from The Eighth State Brewing Company in the Upstate, every region has its unique brews waiting to be discovered.

Mapping Out Must-Visit Breweries

To ensure you don’t miss any hidden gems, consider using an online brewery map specializing in South Carolina’s craft beer landscape. Such a map ensures that every significant brewery, including local favorites and hidden gems, is on your itinerary.

Some highly recommended breweries in South Carolina include:

  • Ciclops Cyderi & Brewery, with a 4.5 out of 5 rating
  • Swamp Cabbage Brewing Company, with a 4.6 out of 5 rating
  • Holy City Brewing, with a 4.7 out of 5 rating

These breweries are top destinations for craft beer enthusiasts. So, start your brewery exploration with high-rated breweries like Ciclops Cyderi & Brewery to ensure a quality experience.

Travel Tips for Beer Enthusiasts

To make the most out of your South Carolina brewery road trip, here are a few travel tips. Look for accommodations close to brewery clusters or in towns with a vibrant nightlife to maximize your time and experience in each locale.

Consider bed and breakfasts, inns, or Airbnb rentals near popular breweries to reduce travel time from one brewery to another.

Also, before visiting, check each brewery’s website or contact them directly to learn about their operating hours and any COVID-19 related requirements. These tips will ensure a smooth and enjoyable brewery-hopping experience in South Carolina.

Summary

In conclusion, South Carolina’s craft beer scene is a vibrant tapestry woven with creativity, innovation, and a deep-rooted love for brewing.

From the organic and locally sourced ingredients of COAST Brewing Company to the wild ales and seasonally harvested yeasts of Carolina Bauernhaus Ales, every brewery in the state offers a unique experience.

Whether you’re planning your South Carolina brewery road trip or simply exploring the state’s beer culture from the comfort of your home, remember that every pint tells a story.

So, here’s to the stories yet to be told, the beers yet to be brewed, and the adventures yet to be had in the Palmetto State!

Frequently Asked Questions

How many breweries in greenville sc?

There are four breweries in downtown Greenville, South Carolina that are all walkable. They include The Eighth State Brewing Company, Fireforge Crafted Beer, Yee-Haw Brewing Company, and The Velo Fellow.

How many breweries in charleston sc?

There are 37 operating breweries and brewpubs in the Charleston area.

How many breweries are there in South Carolina?

South Carolina has over eighty licensed breweries, offering a wide variety of craft beers to explore.

What is the ‘pint law’ and how has it affected craft breweries in South Carolina?

The ‘pint law’ in South Carolina, enacted in 2013, allowed customers to buy up to three pints on-site at breweries, leading to a more than 1000% increase in brewery establishments. Craft breweries have significantly benefited from this change.

What are some of the top breweries in South Carolina?

Some top breweries in South Carolina are COAST Brewing Company, Westbrook Brewing, Charles Towne Fermentory, and The Eighth State Brewing Company. If you’re looking for great beer, these are worth checking out.