When Charleston Beer Week was launched in 2013, the annual event’s name meant the featured beers were served in Charleston, not necessarily that they originated here. And while the eagerly-anticipated program still showcases beers made in places such as Portland and Brooklyn, beers brewed in Charleston now dominate the schedule of 48 events.
There’s no clearer indicator of the Charleston beer scene’s recent growth than Closed for Business’ one-night tap takeover, planned for Sept. 13. For four years running, the King Street bar has hooked a South Carolina keg to each of its 42 taps. This year, though, every keg is coming from the Charleston area.
“If you've ever wanted to support local breweries and sample as many Charleston beers as is humanly possible in one evening, this is your event,” as the promotional blurb on Charleston Beer Week’s website puts it.
According to organizer Chrys Rynearson, there are now 19 production breweries in greater Charleston, with another five currently under construction. Altogether, that’s twice as many breweries as Charleston could claim just two years ago, when the Chicago Tribune chronicled “the growing popularity of craft beer breweries and micro-breweries” in “this charming Southern City.”
The Tribune’s story credited events such as Brewvival and Charleston Beer Week with helping to parlay new laws and the culinary attention focused on the city into a collegial and egalitarian local beer culture.
Because there are so many more breweries now looking to participate in the event, Charleston Beer Week this year added an extra day of programming to its schedule. Charleston Beer Week starts on Sept. 9 with a disc golf tournament at COAST Brewing Company, one of many planned sessions with an outdoorsy component, and ends on Sept. 16 with an Oktoberfest-style celebration at Homegrown Brewhouse.
Charleston Beer Week this week will continue to unveil events via social media; the schedule as it stands is posted at charlestonbeerweek.com. Interested attendees are advised not to wait for the complete schedule to purchase tickets: Certain events, such as a Sunday brunch with Ted’s Butcherblock, have already sold out.