Columbia has developed a formidable craft beer scene over the years, making it a great city for beer enthusiasts and beginner beer drinkers alike. You’ll find everything from an old converted hangar to breweries with fantastic rooftop bars on this list.
Check out our list of the best breweries in Columbia, SC and read down to the bottom to find a few bonus spots for beer lovers!
Guide to Columbia Breweries: Table of Contents
- Map of breweries in and near Columbia
- Columbia breweries
- West Columbia breweries
- Lexington, SC breweries
- Other Spots in Columbia for beer lovers
- Breweries coming soon to the Columbia area
Map of the best breweries in and near Columbia, SC
We always like to start our guides with a map of the spots mentioned. Oftentimes it’s easier to see what’s near you or near the area you’ll be so that you can easily make a decision. Hopefully this map can help with that!
Our Favorite Breweries in Columbia
1. Hunter-Gatherer Alehouse (downtown Columbia)
You can’t have a list of the best breweries in Columbia without mentioning Hunter-Gatherer Brewery– they take the craft of beermaking seriously!
After learning the art of brewing in Seattle, WA, Hunter Gatherer’s founder Kevin Varner has been honing his craft and developing institutional knowledge since opening in 1995. They keep it simple with a hazy IPA, golden ale, amber ale and lager but do add a twist with their raspberry sour as well as other seasonal beers.
Hunter-Gatherer has two great locations: 1. their original Alehouse located downtown and 2. their hangar brewery located at Owens Field Municipal Airport. First we’ll chat all things Alehouse!
If you’re looking for a low-key place to stop in for a beer and good food you can’t go wrong with the Hunter-Gatherer Alehouse.
The original Hunter-Gatherer Alehouse location, near the UofSC, campus is a cool brewpub in a historic building with old exposed brick and timber. You’ll get a warm and cozy feeling the second you walk in the door. It’s a Columbia institution introducing the craft beer movement to the city in 1995.
Along with their great beer, they serve delicious appetizers and entrees. Some of our favorites include the ESB Beer Cheese Spread appetizer, the HG Smoked Brisket Plate and the Baked Mac and Cheese.
2. Hunter-Gatherer Hangar
And now on to the second Hunter-Gatherer location!
Hunter-Gatherer opened a second brewery location in 2018 at the Owens Field Municipal Airport. In our opinion, the Hunter-Gatherer Hangar is one of the coolest buildings in Columbia for the public to enjoy.
The old abandoned hangar was built in 1929 and has been repurposed into a state-of-the-art brewery and taproom. What’s awesome is that all the old architectural details have been kept in tact!
The open space inside the brewery and taproom areas have towering ceilings. It’s even more impressive when the massive hangar doors are opened on nice weather days.
The Hunter-Gatherer Hangar offers its full range of beers on tap as well as appetizers, pizzas and sandwiches. The pizzas are amazing and they even offer gluten-free crust and vegan cheese.
In addition to the impressive space inside the hangar, they have a great outdoor set up with picnic tables around the property and a rooftop patio that originally served as the hangar’s flight observation deck. It’s a great place to sit outside at the sleepy municipal airport and watch hobby planes and the occasional private jet take off and land. The space is kid-friendly, with a lawn for kids to play and roam (and what kid doesn’t like an airport!)
3. Columbia Craft Brewing Company
The award-winning Columbia Craft Brewing Company is one of Columbia’s brewery gems. It opened its doors in 2017 and hasn’t stopped cranking out a wide selection of beers since. Columbia Craft is easily accessible and close to all the action in downtown Columbia. It is located on Greene Street– just one block from Huger Street on the south end of The Vista
Columbia Craft’s selection of beers is pretty impressive. They have a large selection of ales, lagers, IPAs, sours and barrel-aged beers. We love that they aren’t afraid to experiment with hop and flavor combos and there is always something new to try with their small-batch brews.
Not only does Columbia Craft offer outstanding beer, but they also have an excellent selection of pub food made in-house as well as rotating food trucks from Wednesday to Saturday (check their event calendar to see who’s on deck). Columbia Craft always has a great vibe and we love hanging out on their covered patio. It’s definitely worth checking out!
4. River Rat Brewery
If you’re looking for a great place to hang out when the weather is nice, River Rat’s beer garden and rooftop deck can’t be topped!
River Rat Brewery has been brewing high-quality beer since 2013. They’re located on Shop Road near Williams Brice Stadium. It’s a popular spot for Gamecocks fans!
River Rat has an excellent selection of beers, including their New England Style IPA Astronaut Sauce (best name ever!) Their offerings also include but are not limited to a pilsner, stout, double IPA and even a peanut butter porter.
You’ll also find a great taproom, a covered rooftop deck for hanging out and an in-house kitchen serving up appetizers, burgers, wings and tacos. River Rat even serves a Sunday brunch that’s worth checking out.
You’ll also find plenty of events, including Thursday night trivia, so be sure to check their website for the latest.
5. Twisted Spur Brewing
Twisted Spur Brewing is a small brewpub located on Gervais Street in the heart of The Vista. They are a high-end brewpub that takes the quality of their craft very seriously.
Twister Spur has a unique selection of small-batch brews that covers the full range of beer styles including IPAs, German-style wheat, a pilsner, a Belgian strong ale, and a few barrel-aged sours.
Their gourmet pub fare menu includes charcuterie, mussels, fish and chips, shrimp and grits and much more. They make a point to serve high-quality food that pairs with their high-quality beer.
CLOSED: Swamp Cabbage Brewing Company
We are so sad to share that Swamp Cabbage closed in December 2022. The news was shared on their Facebook page.
Swamp Cabbage Brewing Company is located in the industrial area surrounding Williams Brice Stadium. It’s a super popular and fun tailgate spot on gamedays. They have great outdoor seating with a shady pergola-covered patio.
The small brewery has a no-frills atmosphere that just exudes good beer and a good time.
Now, you might be wondering about the name and why you would drink something described as swamp cabbage!! But don’t let it deter you. Swamp cabbage is a colloquial name for the Sabal palmetto, which is the state tree of South Carolina and adorns the state flag.
Their beer ranges from a White IPA to Chocolate Brown to Sabal Palm Blonde and trust us, none of them taste like cabbage!
Swamp Cabbage Brewing hosts tons of events from crawfish boils to oyster roasts to a weekly trivia night on Fridays (check their event calendar to see what’s coming up!) Whatever you end up doing at Swamp Cabbage Brewing, you are sure to have a good time!
Breweries in West Columbia
1. Steel Hands Brewing
Named for the CMC Steel Plant located across the street, Steel Hands Brewing is the largest production brewery in the Midlands. They are located a bit away from the main commercial districts– just across the Congaree River in Cayce. Their indoor and outdoor facilities make the destination well worth the visit and give you a reason to settle in and stay awhile.
Steel Hands’ 10,000 square-foot taproom is a great place to hang out with friends and family. The outdoor space has picnic tables, umbrellas and an open air stage that features great live music on weekends. Check their website for the latest event schedule!
There is always a great vibe at Steel Hands, especially on beautiful weather weekends. The family-friendly atmosphere is an ideal place to take kids with plenty of space to roam safely outside.
Now on to the beer! Steel Hands has a great selection of classic beers. Their popular Tropical IPA has notes of tropical fruit flavors reminiscent of a sandy beach. It’s perfectly refreshing on a famously hot Columbia afternoon! Their brews range from IPAs to coffee porters to classic golden ales. Steel Hands also usually has some additional unique seasonal flavors on tap.
If you’re looking for a brewery with food in Columbia, Steel Hands has a full-service kitchen. You’ll find entrees as well as small plates (perfect for a light snack!) Be sure to check them out for Food Truck Wednesdays as well.
Steel Hands is a great spot to spend an afternoon drinking great beer, soaking in some sun and enjoying local live music.
2. Savage Craft Ale Works
Savage Craft Ale Works is one of the newest and best breweries in Columbia!
They are located in West Columbia in the old Brookland Fire Station and City Hall building. It’s a striking old space that has been beautifully renovated. Savage Craft has three distinct areas to hang out: the rooftop bar, jailhouse taproom, and outdoor beer garden. There is plenty of space to spread out and enjoy some fresh air.
Savage Craft brews some very refreshing and unique beers including IPAs, pilsners, sours and others.
As far as food goes, they pull out all the stops in the food department. All of their dishes are outstanding– wild boar shank, duck confit baguette, Nashville hot chicken, and their delicious Savage Burger. They also have a separate menu of appetizers and bar snacks at their rooftop bar. Oh and be sure to check out their brunch!
Best Breweries in Lexington, SC
Just a 20-minute drive from downtown Columbia is the smaller town of Lexington, SC. There are a few breweries located in Lexington that we would be remiss not to include in our list of the best breweries in (and near!) Columbia for all you beer enthusiasts.
Old Mill Brewpub
Located inside Lexington’s historic Old Mill, the Old Mill Brewpub brews a handful of solid beers. They also offer an extensive pub menu that pairs well with their beer. Overall it’s a great atmosphere in a historic building.
Hazelwood Brewing Company
Hazelwood Brewing Company is located on the other side of Lexington’s Old Mill from Old Mill Brewpub in the mill’s old boiler room.
They brew some of the best beer in the midlands with a focus on sourcing local ingredients (including from their own farm!) They’ve done an awesome job renovating the boiler room and have a great vibe inside and outside with patio seating.
Other Spots in Columbia for Beer Lovers
Craft and Draft
While not a brewery, Craft and Draft knows its beer! Located on Devine Street just down the road from Five Points, they offer 12 beers on tap and a wide assortment of canned beers for sale in their market. Craft and Draft is a great spot to discover the best craft beers out there.
Weco Bottle and Biergarten
West Columbia’s Weco Bottle and Biergarten offers a space to try out great beer in a classic beer garden atmosphere. They also have a food truck on-site every day so be sure to check out their food truck schedule!
Bierkeller Columbia (weekly beer garden pop-up)
Bierkeller Columbia brews their own beer, but they don’t have a permanent brewery location so we are listing them down here.
They specialize in German-style beer— a refreshing change of pace from the standard American craft beer styles. In true spirit, they also have a German-style community feel that a traditional Biergarten offers
Bierkeller is definitely worth checking out on Saturdays at the Saluda Riverwalk!
Breweries coming soon to Columbia
Peak Drift Brewing Company
We’re very excited about the announcement of the Peak Drift Brewing Company that will be located on North Main Street.
The brewery will be one of the largest in the state and the 63,000 square foot building currently undergoing renovation will have some exciting amenities for patrons.
Construction is underway so be sure to keep up to date on the latest on their website and social media.
If you want to try out their beers now, they are selling in select bars and stores in the midlands. You can also check out their microbrewery at Smoked on Main Street.