Beer fest is right around the corner and we’re looking forward to spending the day celebrating the world of craft beer while enjoying live music from the Jebb Mac Band and munching on food truck dishes. This year, we are excited to welcome 36 breweries to the garden for this exciting event! Below are spotlights from the breweries attending that are based right here in South Carolina.
Seminar Brewing LLC is a partnership of four brewers: Bryan Fisher, Travis Knowles, Shawn Steadman and John Mattheis, along with business partner and project manager Dave Peters. Collectively, the brewers have over twenty-two years of brewing experience. They’ve spent the last four years fine tuning hand crafted ales, and are now brewing them for the fine people of Florence, Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Sumter, Columbia, Lexington, Aiken, Greenville and Rock Hill, South Carolina.
Seminar has created an exciting standard tap list, along with a solid reservoir of recipes for special releases and seasonal ales. Their 17bbl brew house is supplemented by a Sabco Brew-Magic system, for further recipe development, refining and small batch releases.
The brewers consider themselves fortunate to live in the golden age of craft beer in America. Never has so much fresh, exciting and local craft beer been produced. It’s an explosion that has paralleled the appreciation of local foods across the nation, and it has been a big part of reviving the restaurant and bar life of many cities and towns.
The Holy City story is about a team of four guys dedicated to craft beer and their community, aiming to bring more of one to the other.
Joel Carl (a local) and Sean Nemitz (CofC grad from VT), business partners in Charleston’s rickshaw industry, found themselves less-than-slammed in the winter months. Idle hands are the devil’s playground, so, being good boys, they took up homebrewing.
Soon they had a custom, 15-gallon, all-grain pilot system in their garage. That bad boy – made of used welded bicycle parts, elbow grease, and love – became a central part of the rickshaw garage, and now sits on display in the brewery. Roughly a dozen full-production Holy City offerings are recipes born on that system. Holy City Brewing has grown into a place where people come to relax, connect with friends and family, and let their hair down for a little while.
McLain was dubbed “Fatty” by his fraternity brothers after he gained even more than the infamous “freshman 15” pounds at Clemson. He lost the weight but kept the nickname for his craft beer. In addition to this inspiration, Fatty’s slogan – “We tell the story of our favorite beverage through the history of the greatest time-traveling brew master the world has ever known” – reminds us that beer goes back at least to the fifth millennium B.C. The stylized Time Traveler logo, created by graphic designer Jay Fletcher to look like Napoleon, at David’s request, dominates the new Fatty’s Beer Works Building at 1436 Meeting Street in Charleston. McLain plans to use the somewhat comic but also commanding image of the Time Traveler to put his product in a historical perspective and provide an interesting twist to the story of the brews he creates.
McLain does the entire brewing process himself—mash, fermentation, and aging. He doesn’t publish his proprietary recipes, but he has learned that commercial brewing is more about the process than the recipe, and it is the brew process which makes the batches hard to replicate. At his 3,000-square-foot facility, McLain has a 10-barrel system consisting of a 10-barrel mash tun, a 10-barrel boil kettle, and a 20-barrel hot liquor tank. The fermentation takes place in Fatty’s cellar, which houses three 10-barrel tanks and one 10-barrel finishing tank.
Info from Aiken Bella Magazine.
While riding a chairlift high atop a mountain in Pocatello, Idaho, Mark Johnsen had an epiphany: Why not start your own brewery and have free beer for life? And fifteen months later, the dream became a reality. RJ Rockers Brewing Company opened its doors in Spartanburg, South Carolina, in April 1997, on a mission to provide delicious, hand-crafted beer to the good people of the Upstate.
Originally a brewpub, Rockers quickly became the soul of downtown nightlife and served as a catalyst for the revitalization of Morgan Square. 5 1/2 years and thousands of “SpartanBurgers” later, Rockers ended Chapter 1 as a brewpub in November 2002 and began Chapter 2 with the transition to a production brewery. Over the next six years, and with a lot of help from the Sons of the Fermentation, RJ Rockers flourished throughout South Carolina and could be found at favorite watering holes and fine stores everywhere…sort of.
After maxing out capacity at their 1,200 barrel, windowless, cinder block, location, and suffering from a severe Vitamin D deficiency, Rockers made its triumphant return to Downtown Spartanburg in August 2009. The brewery now anchors the West End of Downtown Spartanburg, affectionately and appropriately known as the Grain District. We host Tours and Tasting and “Hoppy Hours” every Tuesdays – Saturdays, and with over 16,000 barrels of capacity, RJ Rockers beer can now be found throughout the Southeast on draft, in bottles and cans in fine stores everywhere, but they’re not done yet.
New South Brewing is a small microbrewery located in the heart of Myrtle Beach, S.C. Since its beginning in 1998, the mission of New South Brewing has been a simple one: supply those living in or visiting South Carolina with fresh and flavorful ales and lagers. Nearly 15 years later, new South Brewing is proud and honored to still be doing what we set out to do. The best part is that making beer is what we love to do!
When they started out, being a draft only brewery made sense, because draft beer will always be the freshest way for a brewery to get beer out to the public. As a small brewery, New South works very hard to make sure every ounce of beer they make is of the highest quality when it leaves the brewery on its journey to you. We believed so much in draft beer that it was the only way they packaged beer for 11 years. In 2009, New South added cans to the package lineup. Canning beer is a more laborious, time consuming process for a small brewery, but they are really happy with how fresh their beer stays in the can. We believe that behind draft, cans are the best way for all of the brewer’s hard work and attention to detail to “shine through” when it gets to you. New South hopes you enjoy fresh ales and lagers as much as they love brewing them.
Birds Fly South makes craft beer with a throwback approach. Through a combination of time-tested brewing/blending methods and modern practices, they create beer that is complex, thought-provoking, and above all delicious.
BFS focuses on Farmhouse Saisons and Sour beers. With each barrel, puncheon, and foudre, their beers develop their own sassiness – their own mind. Birds Fly South says “we don’t make beer, we wait for the beer to tell us what it wants to be.”
The name Birds Fly South is a Johnson Family inside joke. For the last 22 years, we lived the Coast Guard life, migrating across the country. Our family is a flock, always looking to make our way south. Once we landed in Greenville we knew we had found our home. This is where we as a family, and as a brewery, are supposed to be.
Local Motive Brewing Company is excited to be opening their doors in Downtown Florence. They offer a comfortable atmosphere in which to enjoy a local brew and a simple menu. Part of the Kress Corner revitalization project, there location is at 121 and 123 North Dargan Street.
Local Motive typically offers 10 to 12 unique brews on tap as well as occasional guest taps. Brewing on a compact three barrel system, the venue has the ability to brew smaller, more specific batches and offer a variety of styles. In addition, the food selection compliments the feel and intent of the brewery space.
The brewery is the culmination of years of work by brothers Doug and Ed Boyd. The brothers have lived in Columbia since the 1980s, and their interest in making beer began with an impulse visit by Doug to a home-brewing store. Their interest grew and turned to a plan around 2009.
“We started getting more serious,” Doug said. “We visited other breweries and found that two people can do it, with a lot of hard work.”
The two spent a lot of time researching and planning and began buying equipment. And in July of 2014, as Doug put it, “We’re finally getting some beers into production.”
Doug and Ed’s “employees” are their wives, Maria and Melissa. Doug said the presence of other local breweries like Conquest and River Rat has been a help in getting started.
“We all kind of work together,” he said. “It’s very friendly competition. Having more of us in town draws more people down there.”
“We really appreciate all the support everyone is showing us,” Ed said as he looked at his launch party crowd.
Info from Cola Daily.
James Island’s first brewery, and the City of Charleston’s second, opened their doors in 2014. Tradesman Brewing Company occupies a taproom and small warehouse brewery space near the juncture of Maybank Highway and Folly Road, tucked behind an Exxon station beside a laundromat.
Here’s what you need to know the area’s neighborhood hangout:
It’s a family affair. Scott McConnell loved homebrewing. He taught himself, did it for himself, and served it to friends that would visit for the occasional shindig. He and his wife, Sara Gayle, hail from the Charleston area, attending Wando High School together before eventually sealing the proverbial deal and starting a family. The idea of opening a brewery especially clicked for her while cleaning up from a big oyster roast they threw one January. She found three spent kegs of Scott’s homebrew and a fridge full of the beer everyone else brought, but didn’t drink.
An atypical, “typical ale” focus. Asked to describe his approach to brewing, Scott minces no words, leading with: “your typical ales.” This is not something you generally, if ever, hear in today’s American craft brewing world. There will be no triple/extreme/wild/funk-i-fied/anti-aircraft beer being brewed at Tradesman. There will be six solid, quaffable ales on tap for reasonably priced pint pours, flights, and growler fills, and a chalkboard for suggestions.
Two is the magic number. In strict terms, Tradesman will be a nano-brewery, with a two-barrel brewhouse being used to fill four two-barrel fermenters. The system is finding its third home at Tradesman, previously occupying a brew floor in Champaign, Illinois. The grain mill was under construction on a recent visit, but for now Scott will be throwing grain into the mash tun by hand (no auger), and thanks to the non-conical, open (lidded) fermenters, he’ll be “top-cropping” the yeast from each tank for each batch. This hands-on, elbow-grease approach fits right into Tradesman’s angle.
A calloused hand can also hold a pint glass. The aesthetic at Tradesman is decidedly “working class,” from the metal, wrench-shaped tap handles to the classic pin-up girl t-shirts. The idea is to make beer for everyone, but especially for good folks in blue collars. The “builders of the country,” as Scott puts it, deserve a craft beer they can call their own. The beers are approachable and unpretentious, and the space is a homey storefront.
Info from The Charleston Eater.
They love to make good beer. They are excited that their beery dream has come true, and appreciate everyone who has helped make it possible.
Rusty Bull likes to give back. From time to time, you find them committing proceeds and networking with cool people who champion causes that they believe in, to help make this world a little better.
From the kitchen stove, to late night sessions on the pilot system in the garage with the boombox blasting, they’ve enjoyed making good beer for years. Now Rusty Bull gets to share the love with you.
That’s enough of the sappy talk, back to the beer.
Rusty Bull likes their beers to focus on being themselves. You have to raise them up that way, so they have a sense of individualism, in a world filled with categories and those who would “pigeon hole” them. Sure, the beers will come across others that seem to resemble some of their characteristics, but in the end it’s all about getting to let it all hang out.
Life’s different paths brought three men together in Mount Pleasant, SC. For one, it was a corporate transfer. Another landed there after college, and the third was a Charleston native. They met on a golf course, where they enjoyed a few craft beers after each game…and became great friends.
Jamie Martin, Michael Gates and Dustin Pait spent a lot of time on back porches, cooking out with their families and loving life. They talked often about the idea of starting a brewery, and realized their personal strengths would blend into a great business partnership. After ten years and a lot of thought, they decided to take the leap and pursue a dream.
They found an ideal location on Mechanic Street, and renovations are underway. After a top to bottom renovation, the brewery opened in 2015 with a large tasting room and an outdoor courtyard area—for that back porch feeling. Charleston is steeped in history, so it’s only right that the guys insisted on American-made equipment. They’re starting with a 15 bbl brew house, with plenty of room to expand to 30 bbl in the future.
When Mark Fesche signed on as head brewer, he fit in perfectly. After college, Mark got the “calling” and moved to Oregon to work as a keg scrubber for Deschutes Brewing, working his way up to brewer. Mark is a Siebel Institute grad who has been the Head Brewer on brewhouses ranging from 10-50 barrels for almost 20 years.
As Mark says, the goal of Cooper River Brewing Company is clear: “Our approach to brewing will be to brew unique ales in traditional styles. In other words, each beer will be distinctive and flavorful, but follow a time-honored brewing process.” They’ll start with their own Blonde Ale, an IPA and a Stout, and move forward to other blends. Jamie, Michael, Dustin and Mark are four guys with a common dream who want to make excellent craft beers their neighbors will enjoy.