Charleston may be best known for its Low Country comfort food—think shrimp and grits, crab soup, corn pudding, and oh-so-many oysters—but the growth of craft beer breweries knows no bounds. What’s been dubbed the “Charleston Brewery District” is a part of the city housing many of Charleston’s most beloved breweries, making it easy to hop from brewery to brewery.
Whether you’re interested in experiencing Charleston culture through its craft beer scene or just looking for a lazy way to pass the day, exploring Charleston’s Brewery District (and beyond) does not disappoint.
Here are 12 of the best breweries in Charleston to try.
Snafu Brewing Company
When it comes to fruited sour beers, Snafu Brewing Company in North Charleston is tough to top. The self-described “old school warehouse brewery with new school beers” brewery features a beer lineup that changes weekly.
Everything is brewed on site, with both seasonal and flagship beer available. There’s definitely a playful energy here and a sense of inclusivity. Locals even bring their dogs.
A big draw to Snafu Brewing Company is their regularly hosted food truck days. These events are hosted several times a month and usually take place in the late afternoon or early evening.
Aside from the beer and bites, some food truck events incorporate “brewery bingo” and even Brewery Yoga—a class inside the brewery and a free pint at the end.
There are four categories of beer to try: sour, “the dark side”, hoppy, and light. The Watermelon Lemonade Sour will quench your thirst on hot summer days, while Cherry Pie Milkshake Sour is a clever mix of both sweet and sour flavors.
Ingredients like bananas, vanilla, and cinnamon are common ingredients found in many of their concoctions.
Read: One Day in Charleston
Munkle Brewing Co.
If you can’t get enough of that great-tasting Belgium beer, The Munkle Brewing Company has you covered. This brewery brings traditional, Belgian-style beer to the streets of downtown Charleston.
After nine years in Colorado, head brewer, Joe Bowden, returned home to Charleston and got straight to work. As the company’s first hire, Brewer has had a real hand in not only crafting the beer, but also in creating a relaxed atmosphere for his patrons.
The space is super welcoming and perhaps best described as classic with modern accents. There’s an indoor/outdoor bar, a billiard table, and an outdoor area with rocking chairs where you can chill out and drink up.
One perk of the menu is that you can choose between half pours and full pours, making it easy to try several beers before committing to your favorites. The Brugge City Brune is a Belgian brown ale and is aptly named after the Belgian city of the same name.
Frothy Beard Brewing Company
Frothy Beard opened in 2013 as the 10th brewery in South Carolina. Four years later, the brewery moved to a second location that features a large indoor taproom. There are 32 different taps at any given time and it’s a go-to for casual hangouts with friends, and family gatherings.
Start out with one of the flagship beers, like the Sip Sip Pass IPA or the Tides Irish Red Ale before getting adventurous with the seasonal pours.
Their menu covers all the basics, and then some. Options range from blonde ales and cream ales to Porters, sours, Roggenbier and more.
Holy City Brewing
Before launching Holy City Brewing, Joel Carl and Sean Nemitz first teamed up in the Charleston rickshaw and pedicab industry. Winters were slow, so the duo started home brewing in the rickshaw shed to pass the time.
Before they knew it, they had a custom 15-gallon all-grain pilot system, hobbled together with beer kegs and bicycle parts, up and running.
After some setbacks during the peak of the pandemic, Holy City Brewing was able to bounce back. At the time, the pair went about selling packaged beer to go and offered family take-and-bake meals before they could safely reopen post-lockdown.
Then, in 2021, the team opened a new property with an outdoor stage, a stand-alone can bar with twelve taps, and the Porter Room, which fits up to 450 people.
As an extension to HCB’s brewery, the taproom offers a diverse tap list and a full food menu. Start with their German-style Holy City Pilsner before trying something a bit more adventurous.
After a long day, this is the perfect place to chill out with a cold beer, live music and great company. Holy City Brewing also offers guided tours, no reservations needed.
Edmund’s Oast Brewing Co.
First up at Edmund Oast is the Restaurant & Brewpub, which is the company’s original dining location focused on cozy comfort food. The drinks menu offers several house beers such as a crisp house IPA, a sour ale with cherry and dark American strong ale.
There’s a section of guest beers too, in case you’re up to try something new. On warm days, opt for a table in the outdoor courtyard or covered patio.
Next up is Edmund’s Oast Brewing Co. & Taproom restaurant where you’ll find light bites like sandwiches and snacks and sides. Come here for all-day casual food, 20 house-brewed beers on tap, plus wine and cocktails. Fun fact: every Edmund’s Oast beer found across eight states in the USA was brewed here.
Charles Towne Fermentory
Say hello to this small neighborhood brewery in Avondale, just west of the Ashley River. The brewhouse produces a variety of craft beers, all showcasing the many nuances of traditional ingredients.
The Charles Towne Fermentory taproom is open seven days a week and the small open kitchen serves up a rotating menu of dishes created by local chefs.
The beer menu is pretty extensive, with taps ranging from light American lagers and dry Irish stouts to fruited gore-style ale and New Zealand-style pilsners.
There are also several IPAs on tap at any given moment, with varying amounts of alcohol content. Their Sub Rosa Strong Ale’s name doesn’t lie; the American strong ale is 10.5% alcohol. Drink responsibly!
Palmetto Brewing Co.
Sitting at the corner of Market St. and Hayne St. in Charleston’s historic center, Palmetto is the city’s original brewery. Opened in 1888 by John Doscher, the brewery was briefly renamed to Germania Brewing Co.
in 1896—in an effort to attract customers during the height of the German beer scene in the US—but returned to its original name soon after.
Palmetto Brewing Co. has had its fair share of struggles. The brewery survived the hurricane of 1886, the earthquake of 1887 and even the Civil War. It was ultimately the Prohibition that forced the company to shutter its doors for almost 80 years. More than 100 years later, in 1993, Palmetto opened once again.
The facility consists of a warehouse taproom, a speakeasy taproom and a courtyard where different entertainment, such as live music and interactive games, take place regularly.
Sitting on their outdoor patio is always a treat, especially when you need a break from the Charleston heat. There are a few picnic tables with umbrellas for shade, bar stools, and bench seating.
Indigo Reef Brewing Company
Still relatively new on the Charleston beer scene, Indigo Reef Brewing owners, Christopher and Nicole Ranere, opened in June 2019.
Five years before that, the pair began home brewing, all the while working to find the capital to start their dream business. Lots of experimentation led to real expertise and their very own brewhouse.
The name “Indigo Reef Brewing” comes from Christopher and Nicole’s love for Charleston; as a side note, indigo was once used as a cash crop. The seahorse in their logo pays homage to their other love: scuba diving.
Indigo Reef Brewing is one of the best breweries in Charleston when it comes to sustainability. Everything, from the reclaimed wood used as the tap wall to donating spent grains to a local goat farmer, environment is always top of mind.
As for which beers to try, you can’t go wrong with their Bottom Line German pilsner or the Carolina Comrade Imperial stout. Hive Another honey cream ale is another local favorite.
Revelry Brewing Co.
On hot summer days, a cold pint at Revelry Brewing Co. is just what the doctor ordered. Start by getting the lay of the land. The brewery itself is on the ground floor, complete with a small patio and open-air vibe.
Upstairs you’ll find a rooftop space with high-top tables overlooking a park next door. Regularly scheduled live music is always a plus.
Beer is the great equalizer, bringing people from all walks of life together, bonded by their love of brews and great views. The menu is extensive and if you’re unsure where to start, go for God’s Favorite; it’s a Belgian pale and a good gateway to other, bolder creations.
Also located in North Charleston, Commonhouse Aleworks is a beer drinker’s favorite. The Park Circle area is among the country’s first garden-style communities, with flora and fauna found among the more industrial buildings.
On any given day you’ll see people walking, jogging, pushing strollers, and biking. Life slows down here, and that’s all part of its magic.
The deep focus on community is what makes Commonhouse Aleworks extra special. Events are hosted on most weekend evenings, with many including live concerts from artists such as Virginia Sweet and Greg Smith.
Every second Sunday there’s a “Drag Brunch” and every so often, live poetry sessions. Best of all, a portion of proceeds from all earnings is donated to community impact organizations.
The menu organizes beers into three categories: core, seasonal release and limited release. Among the core beers is a rose-style sour ale, a west coast IPA, a pale ale, a lager, and a Hefeweizen.
Pair your cold brew with one of the hearty (and healthy) sandwiches or bar bites like chicken wings, chicken tenders, or truffle fries.
Rusty Bull Brewing Co.
Co-owned by Ben Mayer and Brian Bogstad, the two opened Rusty Bull Brewing in May 2017. Both men wanted to honor the two most influential forces in their life.
Rusty is the name of Ben’s dad, and Bull is the name of Brian’s uncle-in-law. Rusty and Bull were “larger than life” and generous; two qualities that Mayer and Bogstad try to incorporate into their business.
In addition to a rotating list of craft beers, Rusty Bull Brewing also has a full kitchen serving up daily specials. Outside the taproom, you’re likely to spot Rusty Bull beers at some of the top restaurants in the Carolinas and Georgia. Choose among standards and seasonal craft brews.
The taproom shares a roof with Chucktown Axe Throwing, making for great ambiance should you wish to try something completely different – and surprisingly cathartic.
The Brewlab is a new addition to the Charleston Brewery District, having opened in late 2020 after an extensive renovation. Boasting several big-screen TVs, ample indoor and outdoor seating and a large bar, the pet-friendly brewpub has quickly gained traction in the local community. Choose from a rotating list of sours, stouts and IPAs.
Like several other Charleston-based breweries, Brewlab hosts events on a regular schedule. Thursday happy hours are taken to a whole new level when you sign up for a yoga class with Reagan Sobel.
Come for the class, stick around for the food and drinks that follow. Not a bad way to stretch and reset.
A cruise to Charleston is an incredible way to discover the art of craft beer, with visits to local breweries, and of course, plenty of time to taste. From historical tours and beer sampling in cozy tasting rooms to delicious culinary pairings and souvenir shopping, there’s no limit to where your beer tasting explorations can take you.