Charleston, South Carolina, the heart of the Lowcountry, is a city with a robust culinary scene full of delicious restaurants. From this foundation of food, craft brewing began to emerge in the 2010s as the next big thing, starting in restaurants with smaller beer-forward operations becoming more and more popular! From downtown to the islands, Charleston brewing is getting big! But with so many thriving breweries, it can be a challenge for any beer-lover to decide where to go and what to drink, luckily we’re here to help guide you through Charleston’s brewing scene!
Featuring breweries big and small, local and regional, this list of the Best Breweries In Charleston will help you answer the question: just what are the best Charleston breweries to visit when you’re next in town?
New Realm Brewing
While their Charleston location is not the original, New Realm Brewing has everything you could ask for from a Charleston brewery, earning it the first spot on our list of best Charleston breweries! Founded in Atlanta, Georgia in 2016 New Realm Brewing’s beers are so good that they’ve been expanding across the South! While they have many locations, New Realm Brewing’s Charleston brewery brews beers just for their Daniel Island taproom and restaurant. IPAs, Pilsners, and small-batch brews flow nightly from their 27 taps.
If their good food and great beer aren’t reason enough to drop in, they have live music, trivia nights, and family-friendly fun nearly every night. New Realm Brewing isn’t just a place to have amazing craft beer, but a place for a fun and family-friendly night out!
Whether you drop by for just a beer, or a meal and music be sure to try their Hoptropolis, a hop-forward beer with notes of mango and pineapple built out of Citra, Mosaic, Azacca, and Loral hops.
Located down by the Ashley River, Freehouse Brewery is known for its organic brews. With a commitment to ethical brewing practices, they’re making the case that organic, sustainable beer is good beer! Their ingredients are free from GMOs and grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers. This commitment to the environment is not only good for the earth, it’s good for you and makes darn tasty beer!
Freehouse Brewery’s organic craft beers capture the real flavors of Charleston, which made it an obvious choice to include on our list of best breweries in Charleston. By making beer with seasonal, local ingredients and taking inspiration from the natural setting of the brewery on the Ashley River, Freehouse Brewery has crafted unique flavors that cannot be found anywhere else in the country. Lagers, IPA, and sours made with house cultivated yeast make up this brewery’s ever-changing selection.
Try their Hoodoo Imperial Stout, at 10% ABV you’ll have a wicked good time with this magical dark and roasty Lowcountry stout. Additions of organic flaked oats support the rich coffee and chocolate flavors from this beer’s malt. Best enjoyed cool on a warm Charleston evening. Be sure to stop and sit in their dog-friendly beer garden!
Cooper River Brewing
In 2015 after a total revocation of their location, a 7,500 square foot warehouse, college friends Jamie Martin and Michael Gates brought their skills as beer drinkers and homebrewers together to open up Cooper River Brewing. They pride themselves on their all-American equipment and on having their tasting room inside their brewhouse.
Their in-house tasting room is no small affair! Hop up to a long sleek counter with a view of their vats, or head outside where they provide a southern back porch vibe, a laid-back contrast to the industrial interior, to their establishment with an outdoor courtyard! Their beer is classic and American, but they mix unique flavors with their traditional brewing style to make something special, and always have a large selection available on tap.
Try their Double Berry Wheat, a simple and delicious southern beer featuring Raspberry and blueberry puree added to this light wheat ale after fermentation. This beer alone makes them worthy of our list of best breweries in Charleston.
Indigo Reef Brewing Co
New on the Charleston scene, Indigo Reef Brewing was opened in 2019 but can compete with more established Charleston breweries. Named after the owners’ love of scuba diving, this brewery has as much to explore as any deep-sea dive. Their novel theme and high-quality craft brews meant we had to list them as one of the best breweries in Charleston.
Their commitment to sustainability and inventive flavors think West Coast IPAs and a Mackinac Pale Ale using only hops from Mackinac, Michigan, makes them a truly unique stop for any craft brew aficionado.
Give their Drift Dive a try. This Citra IPA is used Nugget, Mosaic and Citra hops to create a clean crisp, hops-forward, IPA flavor!
But if you’re not sure of your choice never-fear, their staff has a true commitment to southern hospitality and is happy to help you find the perfect beer.
Next up on our list of best Charleston breweries — Snafu keeps it sour! Founded in 2016 this unique brewery is as funky as its name. Focused on sour beers they have a tap list that’s cool, creative, and adventurous with flavors from the truly puckering to the lightly fruity. If you like playful flavors and out-of-the-box brewing, Snafu is a must-visit spot!
Give their Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test: Purple a try for a grape flavor that’s purple with shades of purple, or if pay homage to The King with their Elivs Milkshake Sour, a rock n’ roll beer brewed with banana, peanuts, honey, vanilla bean, and milk sugar.
Though they don’t have a restaurant in-house, food trucks drop by regularly, and they have trivia night, games, and sports for a real good time.
Revelry Brewing Co.
Revelry is unique in Charleston for its rooftop bar, so it definitely deserves a spot on our list of best Charleston breweries! With live music on Fridays, this happening spot is a classic on the Charleston craft beer scene, and their reliably good beers are well worth the trip, even if you can’t manage to catch a gorgeous sunset from their rooftop bar.
Their beers run the gamut from classic to playful, but all capture a unique local flavor. There’s always something new to try at Revelry ales, stouts, IPAs, Saisons, and more capture their commitment to experimental brewing.
We think that the Hotel Rendezvous is especially worth a sip. This unfiltered Bavarian Wheat ale is a little less familiar, a little more untoward. Your tastebuds will rendezvous with a hint of banana esters and clove phenols on top of a wheat base.
Lo-FI Brewing is one of the most enigmatic of the best Charleston breweries listed. Secretive about its owners and their history, with a hip pared-down website that sticks to the facts, this brewery is about the beers and not the southern hospitality. Though you will see the brewery’s cat on their social media, they’re not trying to be like other more homey breweries — bit don’t let that keep you away! They may not have a story to tell about their brewing, but they do have the flavor and a good time. Their funky space has a constant roster of shows, and they know how to throw a party!
With a limited selection, the beers they have are always excellent! There’s no room for error in this paired-down selection. We recommend the popular LO-Fi Glitter Pony. This Belgian tripen is a complex modern classic, fruity and spicy it’s as bold and unique as the LO-FI brand.
Munkle Brewing Co.
Our final selection for best breweries in Charleson, Munkle Brewing Co. has a taste of monastic! Inspired by Owner Palmer Quimby’s uncle, who began to brew beer at a Benedictine monastery, the Belgian and German styles of Munkle Brewing Co.’s beers have an old-world taste. This commitment to traditional Trappist brewing styles provides tried and true flavors that anyone can enjoy. Focusing on perfecting the craft, rather than veering into the experimental, their selection of lagers, pilsners, ales, and stouts are all crafted with care.
Visit their brewery and taproom where traditional warm tones combine with a view of modern machinery to craft an inviting space for all. From game night to a cool beer on a warm day, this space is a wonderful getaway for any beer lover!
Sit down for a cool glass of their classic Monk Pilsner, a sweet malty beer with floral and spicy hops. There’s nothing out of the box about this beer, but crafted with care and an eye for perfection, its classic flavor goes down smooth.
Final Words On the Best Breweries In Charleston
From a night out to an afternoon tasting, there are plenty of great ways to enjoy the craft beers available at these great Charleston breweries. Many of these breweries distill or have attached restaurants making it easy to pair great beers with wonderful meals! Even better Charleston’s brewing scene is full of live music, with many breweries stating they believe good beers are about a good time! Tourists and locals alike can stop in to enjoy one or more of these best breweries in Charleston or buy cans to take back home and enjoy. Have fun exploring these unique Lowcountry breweries!
As we mentioned, the brewery scene in Charleston is expanding — is there an up and coming brewery that needs to be on our list of best Charleston breweries? Let us know in the comments section below! To read about must-visit breweries in other cities, click here for our other “best breweries” blog posts.