There is something whimsical in the air. The weather may be hot, cold or have just enoughwarmth to justify a brisk run along the beach. It doesn’t matter, Charleston has an aura about it that many find so captivating that they never leave.
For those of us in the South, Charleston is easily accessible from land or air and sea. It offers not only rich history and culture, but also beaches, golf, and an unrivaled culinary scape. Ultimately, there is something here for everyone!
As one of America’s oldest cities, originally founded in 1670, the roots of history run deep. Past generations have made their mark as evidenced by The Battery’s beauty at the city’s most southeast point, Fort Sumter’s historical first shots of the Civil War, beautiful antebellum homes, the CSS Hunley, USS Yorktown, and of course, then there is the beer.
Charleston has found a way to so beautifully intertwine food and beer through its renowned chefs and incredibly talented brewers. It’s hard to enter any dining establishment and find not only craft beer but local craft beer on draft. There is a keen sense of community and support of local businesses from the farm, to table, and back… Go…. Go hungry! Expect to move your belt a notch before you leave. Indulge in Charleston with what it has to offer not only in fare, but also what it will offer your soul in rich history and class.
When one arrives in Charleston, the senses are easily captivated by a multitude of choices. While the following list is by no means exhaustive, these are a few of the must stops:
Charles Towne Fermentory
Just west of downtown you’ll find Charles Towne Fermentory which, as of recent, may be creating the most buzz both inside and outside of Charleston. Co-owner Adam Goodwin’s brewing vitae includes Trillium Brewing in Boston which, for hops heads, means Adam knows his way around a good IPA. Hops not your thing? No worries, there’s more to be found here including a kitchen structured to accommodate visiting chefs on a regular basis. No two visits to Charles Towne will ever be the same.
Coast Brewing Company
If you find yourself in North Charleston on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday afternoon, be sure to stop by Coast Brewing Company. While Coast may perhaps be best known for their herculean leadership in the Pop the Cap South Carolina efforts, the art exhibited through their beer will not be forgotten. The 32°/50° Kölsch is a must and it, as well as the Hop Art Pale Ale, can be readily found about town. While you never know what they may have on tap, they are known to play and if you are lucky, you might find their Boy King DIPA, or a barrel-aged Blackbeerd Imperial Stout on tap.
If you do nothing else in Charleston, go here. There are three destinations: the restaurant, the brewery, and Edmund’s Oast Exchange. The restaurant contains a nano brewery—an extensive draft list of both Edmund’s Oast beer and beer from across the globe. Along with the beer being phenomenal, the food may very well outshine the taps. While the menu does rotate, the charcuterie program is exceptionally well done and worth your attention. Go early, stay late, thank me later. The Exchange is right next door with plenty of to-go options of both carefully selected beer and wine from both near and far. The brewery isn’t far away and is a great place to get a bite, enjoy a more expansive Edmund’s Oast draft list, and, like the restaurant, is always worth the stop.
Freehouse can be found just a short drive northwest from Edmund’s Oast. While you may think you are venturing into an industrial area, you’ll be pleased to find Freehouse on the backside of a building overlooking an incredibly picturesque marshland area. Be sure to try their saison and ask the bartender about their use of organic ingredients.
Holy City Brewing Company, Baker and Brewer
Holy City Brewing Company got its start in North Charleston behind a Honda motorcycle dealership. This fall, they will make their final move to their new location in Park Circle not too far away. What began as a small homebrew operation in the back of the Charleston Rick Shaw Company grew into one of Charleston’s most well-known craft beer brands. Each beer pays homage to the area in some way, shape or form with names like Pluff Mud Porter, Washout Wheat, and Slanted Porch Pale Ale. Thanks to a collaborative relationship with the premier wood-fired pizzeria in the area, Evo Pizzeria, Baker & Brewer is another extension of the HCB team that is well worth the stop. This collaborative enterprise combines the excellence of Holy City’s beer via an onsite brewhouse with Evo’s creative and incredibly delicious culinary masterpieces. You can find Baker & Brewer on Stuart Street just north of downtown and within what’s known as the brewery district.
House of Brews
A Charleston favorite, you’ll find HoB in Mount Pleasant just before the bridge going to Sullivan’s Island. It is what it sounds like, a house, and if you aren’t careful, you’ll miss it. There’s always a great draft selection and a very cool bier garden in the back. However, the best part is hunting for beer in the dimly lit converted bedrooms. You never know what treasure you might find. You’ll also encounter a knowledgeable staff who can bring you up to speed on all things Charleston beer while you enjoy a pint or two.
Munkle Brewing Company
Co-owner Palmer Quimby’s uncle Rob, a beer-brewing monk, not only inspired Palmer’s passion for craft beer, but also the brewery name, Munkle. Staying true to uncle Rob’s brewing roots, Belgian and abbey-inspired beers with this brewery along with some barrel aged specialties. Uncle Rob’s teaching has made an impression both within and outside of Charleston as Munkle may be one of the city’s most awarded breweries. Well worth the stop.
Revelry Brewing Company
A short hop north from Baker & Brewer are the innovative folks at Revelry Brewing Company. From their Gullah Cream ale and the Lefty Loosey IPA, to creative sours, Revelry does not disappoint. Their rooftop bar is a must-not-miss as is The Hold, their barrel room and event space just a short walk away.
This article wouldn’t be complete without Westbrook Brewing. Westbrook is one of the most recognizable names in Charleston craft beer as they continue to expand their distribution footprint in the South. While we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention them, you can find a full article on this leading brewery in this issue, so read on.
Charleston. Rich in history, containing a depth of culinary opportunities, and flowing with artfully inspired, quality craft beer. What’s not to love?