A travel destination is only as interesting as its uniqueness. Its history, environment, local culture, and many other factors combine to create its special flair. As a result, the heart and soul that goes into brewing a beer in one city will be completely different from that of another city. Thus, a brewery tour can be a fun way to experience the individual character of your destination through the eyes of your taste buds.
Hop on a flight destined for the palmetto-lined white sand beaches, the alligator-owned and -operated salt marshes, the Spanish moss-accented historic plantations, and the fresh-caught shrimp and fried okra of Lowcountry cuisine. Myrtle Beach is a unique South Carolina town, where a rich coastal environment, colonial influence, and laid-back beach culture intermesh into a one-of-a-kind experience. The flavors to be found at these Myrtle Beach breweries have a lot to say about their place of origin.
New South Brewing
New South Brewing has been providing South Carolina locals with refreshing brews since 1998. This 20-barrel microbrewery specializes in ales and lagers, such as their flagships Nut Brown Ale and White Ale. If your Myrtle Beach adventures take you up the road to Charleston, Columbia or Florence, you’ll still be able to find New South Brewing beers like the Braubeater Lager, Waccamaw Red Ale, and Dirty Myrtle Double IPA. However, a visit to their taproom on Campbell Street is highly recommended if you want to try some original beers that don’t get distribution anywhere else in the world. A few standout beers to ask for with your flight are:
- Dark Star Porter – a sweet black ale of roasted malts, well-rounded out with a mild hoppy finish.
- Java the Nut – a brown ale of rich cocoa and chestnut flavors thanks to locally roasted Peruvian and El Salvadoran coffee beans.
- Fruit Loops – an eccentric take on a witbier tasting exactly like the cereal brand.
Independent Republic Brewing Co.
It doesn’t get much better than sipping on a cold one over views of the water. Located on the Intracoastal Waterway at the Landing at the Boathouse, Independent Republic Brewing Co. prides itself in producing lagers, IPAs, pale ales, and stouts. Thanks to the talented and award-winning Head Brewer, Sean Taylor, you can taste the independent spirit of Horry County, whose success stems from doing business apart from the other South Carolina counties from which Horry is geographically isolated. Stop by for burgers, bar snacks, and seafood-inspired lunchtime munchies, and have fun at their weekly events like Theme Trivia, Taco Tuesday, and happy hour with dogs. Most importantly, look forward to tasting unique beers like these:
- Nellie Light Lager – a crisp, easy-going ale with citrusy Hallertau and Citra hops, much like what a golden retriever puppy would taste like in beer form.
- Cybernetic Organism – Galaxy, Centennial and Citra hops join forces in a trifecta of tropical fruit tempered with oat and wheat.
- Water Malone – a wheat beer that’ll give you a foam mustache, made from a whopping 20 pounds of puréed and pasteurized watermelon.
Tidal Creek Brewhouse
There’s only one way for an honest person to live their life: to have a hot coffee in the morning and a cold beer at night. At Tidal Creek Brewhouse, you can do both! This revolutionary coffeehouse turned brewery serves weekend brunch of crab cake benedict and shrimp and grits as early as 9 am and stays open until 10 or 11 pm for your nighttime social hours. You can also grab lunch any Monday through Friday or dinner any day of the week from their craft kitchen. Don’t leave the kids or pups at home either. Kids are welcome to play in the Crabitat Kids Korner, and dogs will love playing and making new friends at the K-9 Korral. Tidal Creek Brewhouse provides a family-friendly scene for those who enjoy adult beverages.
In terms of craft beers, a few interesting finds include:
- La Cala – a Mexican lager like the sweet golden bready aftertaste of corn cereal, enriched with a malted base and delicate floral notes.
- Discordant Dunkles Weiss – a dark-malted twin to the Harmonic Hefeweizen; a wheat beer with the roasted, caramel, clove and spice flavors of your favorite banana bread or aged dark rum.
- Brewhouse Blend #1 – an original coffee porter reaching 5.5%, an obvious must-try for a brewhouse-coffeehouse concept.
Crooked Hammock Brewery
Located at Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach, Crooked Hammock Brewery brings the best of the beach lifestyle to the frontiers of craft brewing. Come through to relax in the Backyard, a sizable outdoor space devoted to picnicking, yard games, live music, dog play, and comfy hammocks. Easily the best place to relax on a hot summer day, Crooked Hammock Brewery is also open for brewery tours and tastings of their year-round and seasonal homebrews. Don’t miss out on the following varieties:
- Brand New Day – a springtime seasonal sour for those daydreaming of endless Caribbean days, an eruption of South American tropical fruits like pink guava, soursop and passion fruit.
- Lift Ticket – a unique take on a stout, golden in color but dark in flavor with notes of cacao, coffee and vanilla.
- Savagely Delicious – with a big 10% ABV, this triple IPA bursts from tropical fruity notes into milky breakfast cereal reminiscent of the rainbow marshmallows in Lucky Charms.
In Conclusion: Seek the Unexpected
Are you traveling the country on a craft brewery tour? Your quest to find the nation’s most perfect draft is not so far-fetched if you plan your destinations carefully and patiently check them off your travel bucket list one by one over the years. Your adventures could take you from Boulder to Asheville and Portland to San Diego!
However, as you conquer the giants of craft brewing, don’t leave out the more unexpected pockets of brown bottle talent scattered across the U.S. On the edge of the Atlantic in South Carolina, Myrtle Beach may seem like a simple beach town. Yet, with each flight of Myrtle Beach beers, you’ll come to realize there is so much more about this special place than meets the eye.