We started in familiar territory with Palmetto Brewing Company. Having tried several of their beers in bottles we decided to head over to the source. We parked in front of the brewery and walked through the front gate into a large courtyard. When we entered the taproom, Trampled by Turtles was playing overhead. We sat down at the bar and instantly found ourselves in conversation with other visitors, other tourists, looking for the best in craft beer. The couple next to us even recommended other breweries in the southeast region to try, Southern Pines Brewery and Railhouse Brewing. Two new places to visit added to the never ending list of new breweries to try. The bartenders were friendly and knowledgeable. We ordered a flight of four beers: an amber, a California common, a pale, and an Imperial stout. The two that stood the most were the Amber Ale and the Ghost Rider Pale.
The Amber Ale is one of their flagship beers. It was very light and easy drinking at 5.4% ABV and 27 IBUs. The Ghost Rider Pale was probably my favorite beer this entire trip. A citrusy American Pale Ale with smoked ghost peppers. I am a huge fan of spicy and this beer had the bite that I love, yet it was mellowed out nicely by the use of cherries. I believe this beer was a limited release, part of their 843 Series. Should have taken more home!
Next we drove up to North Charleston and had an interesting time with google maps trying to find our next destination. When we finally found it, we discovered that the view alone was worth the driving around. Freehouse Brewery is in an old building along a stretch of railroad tracks that makes it look like it used to be a warehouse of some sort. The front yard is a large grassy place next to the Ashley River. There was a woman sitting on a picnic blanket with two small children who waved when we stepped out of the car. Even though the weather is mild, yet warm for this time of year, the porch is full. We make our way inside and realize just how small the brewery is, but obviously it’s not the size that matters. Most, if not all, of their beers use organic ingredients. This is not an easy task for microbreweries as ingredients become more costly and harder to find. However, their prices remained reasonable. We tried six beers. Freehouse had a lot of brave flavor combinations. A favorite was one that I ordered out of sheer curiosity; the Kiwi Blueberry Sourlina. This was a very easy drinking sour ale that was not too complex with a perfect balance of tart and sweet. Would love to visit this place again to see what other bold flavors they can think of. The staff and patrons were both friendly. I even ended up leaving my bag there by accident, when I returned later it hadn’t been touched and the bartender jokingly asked if I could prove that it was mine.
South Carolina craft beer is on the rise and we were happy to support these two fine breweries. Next time we’ll have to take some tours. This time was purely for relaxation and beer drinking. Thanks Charleston. See you again soon.