From small-batch distilled spirits to quality, locally crafted beer, the Upcountry holds its own when it comes to adult beverage options.
Craft beer and distilled spirit veterans are sharing the spotlight with newcomers to the area thanks to a loosening in South Carolina small-batch liquor laws and demand from consumers for crafted distilled spirits. The trend and demand is so popular, the SC Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism recently kicked off a Satisfy Your Thirst Tour highlighting breweries and distilleries, including those in the Upcountry.
First, for an overall sampling, head to The Growler Haus, which has three Upcountry locations in Fountain Inn, Anderson and Spartanburg serving up multiple, local seasonal craft and micro beers. Once you’ve got an idea on what the area can offer, it’s road trip time.
Beginning in the upper portion of the Upcountry, RJ Rockers Brewing Company in Spartanburg produces more than 18 varieties of hand-crafted beers. If it’s moonshine you’re thirsty for, the Sparkle City’s Rock Bottom Distillers uses cracked corn and flaked barley in their 90-proof, small-batched moonshine packed in traditional mason jars with flavors such as apple pie, pineapple, strawberry and blueberry.
Continue on to Greenville where Pour Taproom in downtown provides a pretty extensive selection of more than 70 locally produced beers on tap and rotates its offerings frequently. Also located downtown, visitors to The Dark Corner Distillery can not only sample moonshine, gin and aged whiskeys, but they also get a glimpse into the storied moonshining past of the famous Dark Corner region of the Upcountry. Over on Piedmont Highway, Thomas Creek Brewery, which has been brewing beer since 1998, provides libations on a large outdoor patio and features special events throughout the year.
Heading south a bit, Six and Twenty Distillery in Piedmont produces whiskey containing South Carolina grown, soft red winter wheat- the same type bakeries use to make pastries & sweet cakes. Continue a little further south to Anderson where Carolina Bauernhaus Ales converted a former auto garage into a tasting room. Beers are made from yeast that’s cultivated from local sources and wooden casks provide a place to barrel-age or ferment brews. Also in Anderson, stop in at Palmetto Moonshine, started by two brothers who found many retired moonshiners in their own family tree who were willing to share their 100-200 year-old recipes to keep the tradition alive.
By Sherry Jackson, a freelance writer based in Greenville. See more of her work at Dragonfly Ventures.