The Upstate's Best Breweries: Local Brews Flow Strong

It was not all that long ago when you could count all of the breweries in the Upstate on one hand and still have plenty of fingers left over. Thankfully, the nationwide craft beer craze has come to town and we now have more than enough options to choose from. Whether you want a classic IPA or Belgian Ale from Quest Brewing Company, something sour and funky from Birds Fly South Ale Project, or a unique twist on any number of traditional styles from Fireforge Crafted Beer, the Upstate brewing community has you covered.

It is important to note that while the breweries on this list each have a number next to their name, how you rank them is entirely up to you. Each brewery emphasizes a particular style or flavor profile and puts their own signature touch on their lineup of brews. What styles you prefer are entirely up to you and this list could be arranged 3,628,800 ways and it would not be incorrect. Also, yes, I used a permutation calculator to determine how many different ways you can arrange a 10Best list.

I hope you enjoy our 10Best list of the Upstate’s best breweries. Cheers!


Quest Brewing Company
Photo courtesy of Brett Barest

Disclaimer: While I am friends with many of the brewers on this list and have the utmost respect for all of them, my ties to Quest run just a bit deeper. I helped open the brewery as a construction worker in a former life and now host trivia there every Wednesday. My bias is public and undeniable and it would unfair of me to rank Quest ahead of any of the breweries on this list, so I take the unarguable position of putting them at number 10. That out of the way, Quest's seasonal FunkSCursion sour IPA is one of the best things going today and the Kaldi Imperial Coffee Stout really makes beer with breakfast sound like a good idea. The live music calendar is always full making it the perfect place to enjoy a tasty beverage with some local and regional talent all year long.

13 Stripes Brewery

There are a lot of reasons to visit Taylors Mill but 13 Stripes stands at the top of the list. The old mill turned creative center is a great destination just over ten minutes outside of Downtown Greenville. This a true oasis just off of the hustle and bustle of Wade Hampton Blvd. and the perfect place to relax with a cold one with friends. The brewery's 12 taps offer up everything from lagers and blondes for the casual consumer to big stouts and Belgian Quads for those looking for something a little bolder. The patio outside sits in the middle of Taylors Mill making it a great destination for some easy day drinking on a sunny afternoon.

The Velo Fellow
Photo courtesy of The Velo Fellow

It might surprise you to see this English style publick house on the list but it's true – they have a fully functioning brewing operation in the back. It might be the smallest operating brewing system in town but that does not keep them from cranking out a steady flow of craft beer for the bar's taps in the dining area. This is actually Downtown Greenville's only full service "brewpub" if you will and is a real treat when spending a night out on the town. Velo Fellow has always been a great spot for some classic pub fare but now that they are brewing their own beer and booking a steady flow of live music, the deal is even sweeter.

Thomas Creek Brewery

When it comes to experience, look no further than Thomas Creek who has been serving up local craft beer since before we even called it craft beer. Their bottles and drafts are widely available in restaurants and grocery store shelves across the Upstate (and beyond) but don't let that stop you from visiting the brewery in person. There you will find their latest and small-batch brews that you cannot get anywhere else and it is always a rewarding experience. Not a bunch to rest on the laurels of past success, they are always brewing something new and different that you need to visit the tasting room try out.

Liability Brewing Co.

The newest addition to the Upstate brewing community, Liability Brewing serves up a solid lineup of brews just outside of Downtown Greenville on Stone Avenue. Their nine taps offer a little something for everybody and are always pouring out something fresh, new, and tasty. The space includes indoor and outdoor seating and some great neighbors that make sure a bite to eat is never more than a few steps away. Moe's Original Bar B Que is right next door and World Piece is serving up pizza just two doors down. You can even grab a pick-me-up from Coffee on Stone right there in the same plaza for a complete craft beer, food, and beverage experience.

Eighth State Brewing Co.

The brewery formerly known as Upstate Craft Beer recently reinvented itself with a more esoteric mindset and approach to the traditional brewery model. The brewery serves up a delicious line of their own craft beers along with cans, bottles, and drafts of other local, regional, and nationally distributed brands. This is combined with a display of local art that serves up an art gallery sort of ambiance and a strong commitment to live music every weekend. It all comes together for a truly unique brewery experience in the historic Claussen's Bakery building just outside of Downtown Greenville on Augusta St.

Whether you get there by car, bicycle, or running shoe, no trip to Travelers Rest is complete without a visit to Swamp Rabbit Brewery. Located just a stone's throw from the Swamp Rabbit Trail, this is the quintessential trailside watering hole to start, finish, or break from your weekend adventures. The small town brewery has taken home hardware from both the Great American Craft Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup, all for good reason. They deliver classic German, Belgian, and American style ales in a community setting where you will be hard pressed to leave after just one pint. There are a lot of reasons to visit Travelers Rest but Swamp Rabbit Brewery stands alone at the top of that list.

Carolina Bauernhaus

When I first heard that a brewery specializing in farmhouse and sour ales was opening up in Downtown Anderson, I was the first to tell you that they were at least a few years early to that market. Shame on me as the brewery is cranking out some truly remarkable beer and integrating themselves quite nicely in the little downtown just south of Greenville. The brewery took home a prestigious Great American Craft Beer Festival gold medal in the Experimental Beer Category in 2017 and continues to crank out unique brews with a focus on locally sourced yeast, fruit, and any other ingredients they can work into the mix. They are also right around the corner from Summa Joe's – one of the best eateries in the Upstate – making a trip to Anderson more than worth your while.

Birds Fly South Ale Project
Photo courtesy of Brett Barest

Hampton Station is an oasis just outside of Downtown Greenville and Birds Fly South Ale Project is the watering hole at the front and center of it. With an emphasis on sour and farmhouse ales and saisons, the brews are as innovative as you will find at any brewery in town. The tasting room is warm and inviting and the outside green space is a true gem when the weather calls for enjoying a tasty beverage out in the sun with the family. If you are out on a ride on the Swamp Rabbit Trail, check out the new Orange Line extension which gives you no excuse not to stop in for a beer as part of your adventure.

Fireforge Crafted Beer
Photo courtesy of Brett Barest

For all that Downtown Greenville has to offer, it inexplicably lacked a brewery until very recently. Brian and Nicole Cendrowski were on a mission to change that and, after a long search for the perfect fit, opened up Fireforge Crafted Beer just steps off of Main St. in Downtown Greenville. In addition to the quality of the brews, they might own the title of best-named beers in town with gems such as their Metrosexual Chocolate Stout, John Hopcock New England IPA, and the Rhombus Belgian-style Quad (because Quad, get it?). No matter what style he brews, Cendrowski is a master, putting his own twist on as wide an array of influences as you will find anywhere in town. Having access to 100+ dining options so close by makes this a place you cannot miss on your next trip to Downtown.


Meet Brett Barest

Brett Barest is a freelance writer in Greenville, South Carolina that has watched the city grow from cow pastures and boarded up buildings to the tourist destination it has become today. He...  More About Brett