South Carolina may have been one of the more recent states to start craft breweries, but they are now making up for lost time. They’re now found all over the state but are more concentrated to the Lowcountry.
Many started as brewpubs, but changes in laws allow breweries to work independently and sell to go. I visited two breweries on my most recent trip and another a few years back and am eager to test out more in the Upstate and beyond.
Edmund’s Oast Brewery
Edmund’s Oast started as a wildly popular beer-focused restaurant and has since expanded to a second brewing location. They have a large courtyard at a former box warehouse and are known for their unique brews.
Beer to Try: The Sour Blackberry Raspberry is an American sour ale that shows what the brewery is capable of.
Holy City Brewing
Holy City Brewing is located in an industrial area of North Charleston, so I was surprised to find it on a back road. They have a patio at their tasting room where people were playing cornhole during my visit.
They even have a kitchen, serving up small bites. Their beers are inspired and named for elements of the Lowcountry, like their Pluff Mud Porter, Washout Wheat, and Holy City Pilsner. They can be purchased in pints, half-pints or sample sizes.
Beer to Try: The Pluff Mud Porter is my favorite, dark with a hint of sweetness.
Palmetto Brewing Company
Palmetto Brewing Co is the only brewery in downtown Charleston, located near the exits for both major highways. They were the first in the state, opening in 1993. A brewery by the same name has been in existence since the earthquake of 1886.
Palmetto creates drinkable brews in styles like pale ales, ambers, lagers, and porters, as well as special release beers. Some are only available at their brewery.
Beer to Try: The Espresso Porter, pictured, is my beer of choice.
Set in the East Central neighborhood, Revelry Brewing has a large space with a downstairs taproom as well as a rooftop bar and a barrel room nearby.
Beer to Try: Partly Sunny is a double IPA that is perfect for those humid Charleston days.
Located alongside the busy highway is Tradesman Brewing, a laid-back brewery. It has a massive patio with covered (and distanced) seating as well as an indoor taproom.
Beer to Try: Brut Reynolds IPA is a crisp IPA with Citra hops.
Westbrook Brewing Company was founded by a husband and wife team and has become well known in the craft brewing world for its unique styles and special releases. They also team up with fellow breweries.
Beer to Try: I’m a fan of all of their brews, but a few you definitely need to try are the Göse, Weisse Weisse Baby, and the Mexican Chocolate Cake.
Thomas Creek Brewing
Thomas Creek Brewery and Homebrew shop is family-owned and operated since launching as a brewpub in 1994. Their brewery and taproom in Greenville have a bunch of friendly dogs running around to keep the brewers’ company.
Among their lineup is the River Falls Red, Dockside Pilsner, and Appalachian Amber, but you can also sample beers at the taproom unavailable anywhere else.
Beer to Try: The Shoga Ginger Saison was tasty and is not sold in stores.
Cyclops Cideri and Brewery
Cyclops Cideri and Brewery is a family-friendly brewery across the street from the Chapman Center museums. The large tasting room has games and trivia and supports local groups like teachers and LGBTQ+ organizations. There’s a mug club for members and a great lineup of brews including a brown ale, amber, sour, and milk stout. You can also have cider.
Beer to Try: Dippy Pterodactyl IPA is an American-style double IPA.
Located in the former Drayton Mills building, Holliday Brewing has a large tasting room with taps and to-go crowlers. It has a variety of beers ranging from IPAs to porters, along with cider and seltzer. There is both indoor and outdoor seating.
Beer to Try: Holiday Haze is a beginner-friendly hazy IPA.
RJ Rockers Brewery
RJ Rockers was one of the first craft breweries to open in South Carolina in 1997. The humble taproom has expanded into a restaurant with a rooftop bar and live music. The lineup of beers varies based on the week but includes sours, saisons, and IPAs.
Beer to Try: The Mexican Lager is the perfect drink for a hot day.
Other South Carolina Breweries
New South Brewing, Myrtle Beach
The tasting room is open for draft pours and retail sales on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 4:30 to 7 pm. Food trucks set up outside to keep visitors full and happy. It’s also the only place to try their specialty brews.
Beer to Try: White Ale is their interpretation of Belgian ales and is drinkable on hot summer days.