CRAFT BEER CONNOISSEUR
From lagers and IPA’s to sours and seasonal pours, Columbia SC is a hub for all things hoppy and delicious. With 11 breweries and plenty of brewpubs to welcome thirsty travelers, the capital city makes for a perfect weekend escape for the self-proclaimed craft beer connoisseur. Use this trip itinerary or be inspired to build your own!
In the heart of The Vista, SpringHill Suites by Marriott will be your home base for the weekend. After you get checked in and settled, it’s time to go back out and hit the streets. We’re sure you’re dying to stretch your legs after your journey, so head up Gervais Street to explore this vibrant district and get some fresh air.
If you need a caffeine pick-me-up or a small bite, pop into smallSUGAR for a Mocha Latte or Charleston Fog with a warm, flaky croissant to awaken the senses. While you’re out, you’ll want to stop by the Visitors Center on the corner of Lincoln & Gervais Streets for an Insider’s Guide with all the info you need to feel like a real local (sporting some Columbia SC merch can help with that too). On your way back, be sure to keep an eye out for the colorful murals and other public art pieces that can be found around almost every corner.
Now that you’ve worked up an appetite, it’s time for the first stop on your craft beer tour: River Rat Brewery. Located right near the action at Williams-Brice Stadium, River Rat boasts a wide selection of seasonal delights and core favorites like the 803 IPA and Astronaut Sauce, with a mouth-watering bites menu to match. Kick back with a cold one while you munch on some nachos with beer queso or the famous smoked wings on the open outdoor patio (social distancing approved!). If you’re traveling with a pup, make sure to bring them along for the fun. Trust us, your four-legged friend might just have more fun than you do.
Bonus Round: If you have time, check out the capital city's newest brewery, Savage Craft Ale Works. Located in West Columbia, you'll love the huge rooftop bar and the magical cup holders in the tables that keep your beer ice cold.
After you’ve gone back to the hotel to freshen up, an evening of brews and tunes awaits you. Make your way to Cayce, where you’ll find Steel Hands Brewing - Columbia's largest brewery equipped with an outdoor stage, patio, and expansive taproom. You’d be remiss not to try the Coffee Lager, which has quickly become a crowd favorite, infused with local roaster, Loveland Coffee. Their large outdoor space is equipped with plenty of fire pits to go around for locals and visitors alike to enjoy live music safely and keep cozy. And the best part? If you start feeling a little hungry after dinner when the sun goes down, the late night menu is there to quickly revive you.
Treat yourself by sleeping in a little. Once you wake up feeling refreshed, it’s time for brunch. Just a short walk from your hotel, Twisted Spur is begging you to sit down and enjoy one of their mouth-watering creations. Stick with the classics like eggs benedict and hash browns, or try something a bit more adventurous. Whatever you order, just make sure you get something on tap to wash it down with - who said Mimosas and Bloody Marys are the only acceptable brunch libations?
Next, you’ll be heading to Columbia Craft Brewing Co. (close enough to walk if the weather’s nice and you feel like moving). While you’re en route, check their social media to see what special brews they have on tap that day so you can start planning your flight lineup. Once you start sipping, you’ll quickly notice that these master beer crafters are quite creative with their flavoring. Prepare to stay a while and for your taste buds to be surprised. You won’t want to leave until you’ve tried everything in the taproom.
If you’re not still full from brunch, you can order up some bar food staples like beer brats and pretzels to tide you over until dinner. Need something a bit more filling? You can typically find a local food truck parked outside. Just check the schedule online to see which tasty truck will be pulling up.
After lunch, take a nap and get ready. It’s time to experience one of the capital city’s coolest brewery locations. Located in the Rosewood neighborhood in a historic airplane hangar, beer lovers take delight in Hunter-Gatherer’s English and American-style ales and the views of Owens Field Airport. This hangar hosted many notable guests back in the day including Amelia Earhart and President FDR, making this brewery’s history just as mind-blowing as its beer.
Sip and relax with a Golden Ale or Hazy IPA until dinner starts calling your name. As your last meal in Columbia, we promise Hunter-Gatherer will not disappoint. Start with the hummus with crostini as an app, and for your main course ask for one of the pizzas crafted with handmade dough and pizza sauce. From Taco to Vegan Dream, there’s a pizza for everyone.
It’s the final day. You’ve definitely made the most of your time in the heart of SC, but we have a couple more stops to top off your trip. Head to Devine Street to pick up a drip coffee or a cold brew from Blūm Coffee for that much-needed energy boost to get you through the journey home. Add unique house-made flavors like lavender, honey, and ginger to give your drink with that special touch. And if you need something to nibble on, you’ll want to grab a delicious pastry made by local bakery Ally & Eloise Bakeshop.
We can’t send you on your way after a whirlwind beer-filled weekend without some beer to take home with you. Just down the street from Blūm, you’ll find a seemingly endless selection of local and regional brews at Craft & Draft (part craft beer market, part taproom). They have it all. Boasting IPAs, porters, sours, seltzers, and more, plus the eye-catching labeling makes the options even more enticing. Can’t decide because it all looks too good? Ask for samples at the bar before you buy and create your own six-pack to get a taste of a bit of everything.
Well, that’s it, folks! Your weekend has come to an end, but we’ve only scratched the surface of the places to go and craft beers to try in Columbia SC. Learn more about the capital city’s thriving craft beer scene on our breweries page.