One of the first things I learned about Greenville was that the local (and regional) water quality is exceptional, which is one of the reasons this part of the country has attracted so many microbreweries. Greenville is carving out a name for itself as home to some well-known (and up-and-coming) leaders in the craft beer movement-a cause for celebration for those of us that share a passion for artfully brewed beer! Here are some of my favorite local places for the best brews...it's my Perfect Craft Beer Crawl:
First Round - Take a Brewery Tour:
Without a doubt, Thomas Creek Brewery is the flagship of Greenville's craft beer scene. Located on Piedmont Highway, they offer tours (by appointment) where you'll learn the artistry behind their year-round brews and some of their specialty brews, such as my personal favorite-Banana Split Chocolate Stout. Thomas Creek also brews unique specialty beers on tap at local eateries, such as City Range and The Lazy Goat. You can even purchase bottles of their awesome brews at grocery stores all across the Upstate! Insider's Tip: Visit the "On the Road" section of Thomas Creek's website for upcoming local and regional festivals and special events.
Thirsty for even more brewery tours? Make sure you check out a few new kids on the block, such as Quest Brewing Co. on Airview Drive, Brewery 85 in Greenville and Swamp Rabbit Brewery & Taproom in Traveler's Rest!
Second Round - Discover Downtown's Finest:
After your delicious education on beer brewing, it's time to hit the pavement and pop into some of downtown Greenville's best beer spots! A great place to start is Mac's Speed Shop in the West End. Their extensive beer list runs the spectrum from Gulden Draak to PBR, so you're sure to find a brew that's new to you!
Next, stroll back up Main Street and take a left on Washington, where you can enjoy Trappist delights at The Trappe Door, the sublime brainchild of Josh Beeby (who also happens to own Barley's Taproom & Pizzeria located upstairs from The Trappe Door). Insider's Tip: You'll want to visit Barley's, too, but try to ignore the wall of tempting taps and instead crack open their Reserve/Vintage Beer List for something aged and unusual. Like ghost beers, they may never be seen again, so savor their flavor while you can!
Finally, head up the hill to The Blue Ridge Brewing Company on Main. Check out the rows of individual mugs owned by members of their Mug Club. If you're a fan of fall, you'll definitely want to visit them during the season to enjoy their amazing Oktoberfest brew.
Once you've sampled some of downtown Greenville's best brews, your stroll back to Mac's Speed Shop from The Blue Ridge Brewing Company should be all downhill...literally! Aren't you glad I planned it that way?
Third Round - A "Stone's" Throw to Wade Hampton:
Don't forget...downtown Greenville doesn't end on Main Street! Hop over to The Bohemian Cafe on Stone Avenue for their impressive beer list, and then make your way over to the Community Tap at Stone's Point on Wade Hampton Blvd. Their bottled choices make any beer snob swoon (I personally adore their Mikkeller selection). Be sure to take some time to relax in their back tasting room before leaving, too! Insider's Tip: The parking lot of The Community Tap is also frequented by some of Greenville's most-loved food trucks...the perfect opportunity to grab some gourmet grub!
THAT Something Extra:
Beer Festival Fun
Greenville's been a gracious host to beer festivals and will continue to do so in the future. The Upstate International Beer Festival and Top of the Hops Beer Festival have both met with great success in the past, and the Greenville Craft Beer Fest will be held this November at Fluor Field. Are your beer-loving taste buds ready for it?
Growlers to Go
A growler is not just the sound a Clemson Tigers fan makes, it's also a large jug that can be filled with fresh, draft beer, making it a perfect take-home-to-try option for tasting new brews! Greenville boasts a plethora of growler-filling options, such as Crafted on Fairview Road in Simpsonville, The Greenville Beer Exchange on Laurens Street, The Growler Station downtown, and WHAT'S On Tap? on Woodruff Road. Greenville Hop House also recently opened on East North Street.