A few weeks ago, I heard that the always stellar Homegrown Brewhouse would be hosting a tap takeover at their establishment by a South Carolinian brewery, River Dog Brewing Co. Now I enjoy a tasty brew and a friendly pup as much as the next guy, yet I had never heard of this brewery despite the fact that they were advertising bringing along 15 different beers to the tap take over! Hoping to remedy this oversight as quickly as possible, I took to the interwebs in order to ascertain where exactly in the state this brewery is located. Well, it turns out that it is significantly south of the Charleston area (more specifically in Ridgeland, SC). One may even say that the brewery is “practically in Georgia”…
After reading a bit about the brewery and being very intrigued by the large number of brews they were reportedly bringing to the tap takeover, I rationally decided that I had to check them out! Unfortunately, the tap takeover timing at Homegrown Brewhouse wasn’t going to jive with my schedule (incidentally, the first tap takeover had to be postponed due to the crippling Icepocalypse). Thus I resorted to the next most logical step–planning a road trip down to the brewery!
Maintaining some level of rational thought, however, I realized that a nearly two-hour (one way) drive down to a brewery was teetering on the brink of low-level insanity (yes, only low-level). However, upon further inspection of Google Maps, I found that a wildlife management area that I have been wanting to check out, Donnelley WMA, is conveniently located on the way to River Dog (stay tuned (or not) for a future blog entry about that spot). Perfect! I sold the idea of a Saturday road trip to the always skeptical Alicia and to a regal friend, Queen Amber, who was planning on making a pilgrimage from her kingdom down to the Lowcountry that weekend, and off we went!
After making a stop to explore the aforementioned Donnelley Wildlife Management Area, we ultimately arrived at our craft beer destination. If you have made pilgrimages to breweries in the past few years as I have, you are most likely familiar with the trend of breweries setting up shop in industrial parks (which seem to offer varying levels of shadiness). Now that’s not to say that one cannot have a perfectly epic brewery situated in an industrial park–heck, some of the best breweries I’ve visited have been “industrialized” so to speak! Nonetheless, it was nice to find that River Dog Brewing was actually in a seemingly nice and clean “business park” called RiverWalk Business Park.
The inside of the River Dog space was simple and unassuming. Bar to your right and relatively spacious tasting room to your left with numerous high tops and tables spread throughout along with merchandise to purchase on the far left wall. We did not indulge in a tour (as I believe we all have a touch of ADHD and I’m not even sure if they were offering tours at the time), so I cannot speak to the set up of the brewery itself.
Within a few moments of walking through the door, a very kind bartender came out to us in the taproom space to inform us of their flight and pint prices. After we all ordered flights, he kindly told us to find some seats and he’d bring them out to us. Score!
Now the flights were quite a deal. For a whopping total of $8, you got 4oz pours of all six of the beers they had on draft (that’s 24oz or two 12oz standard bottle/cans of craft beer goodness for a very low price!). Did I also mention that the flight carrier was made of beautiful stained wood? Oh yes, it was indeed.
The six beers on draft for the day and thus those included in our flights were as follows:
- Chocolate Rye Porter
- Toffee Holiday Ale
- American Red
- Lowcountry Lager
- American Wheat
As I’m typically an IPA guy, it’s no surprise that I enjoyed the IPA here. It was hoppy though not overly so, easy drinking, and with a pleasant citrus undertone. Somewhat surprisingly, I very much enjoyed the American Red. In fact, that was probably my favorite brew here! Simply put, it was quite smooth and tasty. On the other end of the spectrum, I really did not enjoy the chocolate rye porter. I am definitely not a darker beer fan, though I’ve been trying to branch out a bit. Regardless, the porter here tasted a bit like cigarette butts. Yikes. How do you know what cigarette butts taste like, you may ask. Well, truth be told I don’t, though this is what I imagine they’d taste like. Again, my disclaimer is that I typically do not enjoy porters so you can draw your own conclusions there (though it should be said that my two compatriots for the brewery adventure also had the cigarette butt thought; I cannot speak to whether or not they have more refined palates than mine and perhaps have actually ingested cigarette butts in the past). Despite my general aversion to darker brews, however, I did enjoy the toffee ale. Similarly, the lager and wheat beers were also quite solid.
All in all, a great time was had at River Dog Brewing Company. Excellent beers, friendly staff and clientele, a wandering pup in the tasting room, and a great overall set up–what else could you ask for? Well, it’d be nice if the brewery were located a bit more up North…