Charleston, South Carolina, has been celebrated as a culinary destination for years, but every foodie knows that a rich serving of shrimp and grits deserves an equally tasty beverage. That’s where the city’s craft brewers come into play. While Charleston has several well-established purveyors of local suds, new breweries are opening at a rapid pace.
“Every day it gets harder to keep up with them,” says Darcy Shankland, Charleston Magazine editor-in-chief. To help visitors determine which merit a taste test, U.S. News asked local experts to chime in.
Palmetto Brewing Co.
Palmetto Brewing Co., which opened in 1993, is the oldest brewery in South Carolina. Its brewers were pioneers in the craft beer scene in Charleston and the Southeast, and today, the brewery is well-known for beers like its traditional, hoppy Huger Street IPA. Relatively close to the downtown historic areas, it’s an easy stop for visitors who can sample suds in the tasting room or outdoors in the courtyard.
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The tasting room serves specialty and seasonal varieties, as well as Palmetto Brewing Co. standards Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 10 p.m.
An acclaimed eatery and small-batch brewery, Edmund’s Oast restaurant is a favorite among local experts, including The Spectator Hotel’s head butler David Hood. He touts both the cuisine and the large beer selection, "plus the outdoor courtyard is really fun." Edmund’s Oast’s 48 taps include unique house brews, as well as curated drafts from regional, national and international specialty brewers. Edmund’s Oast is also expanding brewing operations to a new 20,000-square-foot site, called Edmund’s Oast Brewing Co., with an outdoor patio.
Edmund’s Oast restaurant's bar is open Monday through Saturday from 4:30 p.m. till late and it opens at 10 a.m. on Sundays. When it opens in late summer 2017, Edmund’s Oast Brewing Co.'s operating hours will be Wednesday through Monday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Tradesman Brewing Co.
After winning two gold medals in the 2017 U.S. Open Beer Championship – one in the Belgian Tripel category and one in the American Amber category – Tradesman Brewing Co.'s profile has been on the rise. The Tradesman's beer-makers take the craft part seriously, constructing sturdy, memorable beers that hold up to its “well built” mantra. Located on James Island behind an old gas station, Tradesman has a loyal following among those who appreciate the hardworking vibe and good beer, and its popularity is driving the brewery’s expansion to a new King Street facility on the peninsula.
[Read: 6 Tours Unique to Charleston.]
Local beer aficionado Stephen C. Warner, vice president of global competitiveness for the Charleston Regional Development Alliance, says the brewery continues to offer “experimental takes, like the Fig Harvester Saison made with superlocal figs harvested from the neighborhood behind the brewery. Always something interesting and fun."
Tradesman's 15-tap taproom is open Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 8 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.
Revelry Brewing Co.
For adventuresome beer paired with stellar views, you can’t beat Revelry Brewing Co.’s breezy rooftop terrace on Charleston’s hip upper peninsula.
“It’s one of the closer options for seeing an actual brewery,” says concierge Robbie Fagerstrom of The Vendue. It's home to a number of award-winning brews: Revelry Brewing won two gold medals and one silver medal in the 2017 U.S. Open Beer Championship, earning it a national ranking of ninth best overall brewery. The Gullah Cream Ale brought home a gold medal at the U.S. Open Beer Championship the previous year. The brewery also donates a portion of the cream ale's proceeds to the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission.
Revelry Brewing opens at 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and at noon on the weekends. It closes at 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and at midnight Friday and Saturday.
Coast Brewing Co.
A short drive up the peninsula on an old Navy base, Coast Brewing Co. is a family-run brewery near a serene marsh creek, but don’t be fooled by the laid-back ambiance. Coast brews exceptional beers, including the first all-organic commercially brewed beer in South Carolina. The graphic designs on the beer cans and apparel turn heads, too – including the nautical logo on the Dead Arm Pale Ale, meant as a nod to owner David Merritt's love of surfing.
“In terms of quality and consistency, I think Dave Merritt is the best brewer in town,” Warner says. “If you like hops, you have to try the Hop Art IPA and Boy King Imperial IPA. And if they have any bourbon-barrel-aged Blackbeerd Imperial Stout in stock, buy all that you can carry. It’s that good.”
The tasting room is open Thursday and Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m. Tours are available upon request.
To experience more of what Charleston has to offer, check out the U.S. News Travel guide.
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