The Hoedown Throwdown and Goat Races was a clear winner during Charleston Beer Week 2018. Low Tide Brewing patrons lined up several deep gripping pints of beer, and leaned over hay bales to get a look at the adorable beasts of cloven hoof as they sprinted past.
The Johns Island brewery had planned its return for this year’s festivities. Even by early September, the second-annual running was still slated for Saturday, Sept. 14th on Charleston Beer Week’s website.
But there will be no goats racing at Low Tide Brewing this year, contrary to previous reports. The Charleston County of Zoning and Planning denied the brewery the proper permit to hold the races outside, said Allison Havens, Low Tide's operations manager.
“Without a special events permit to have it outdoors, we would have had to run it indoors. We don’t have the space to have the goats to run around inside the taproom, and hold people. That would be pretty wild.”
The rejection came as a surprise to Havens. “We submitted everything that we submitted last year, and it (had gotten) approved,” she said, adding that the brewery’s site plan had changed since then due to an acquisition of adjacent property.
With that change, “our parking is deemed inadequate” for special-event permitting, said Havens.
Goat races are not typical taproom entertainment in the United States. But at least one other craft brewery, Pennsylvania’s Sly Fox, holds goat races to celebrate its spring bock beer releases. (“Bock” means male goat in German; it is also a style of German lager.)
Back on Johns Island, all is not lost, said Havens. On Saturday, “the goats will be here, hanging out with everybody, rolling around the taproom.” With no races slated, they’ll be leashed, and ready for petting.
Of course, this being a brewery during Charleston Beer Week, there will be beer a-plenty, which patrons can pair with suggested cheeses from Burden Creek Dairy Farm. (That’s where the goats come from, for those who were wondering.) Rebel Taqueria will also be on-hand with heartier fare.
Low Tide hopes to continue its goat-racing tradition next year, once it gets its permit situation sorted out with the county, and its landlord. In the meantime, this year’s event may not delivery the same energy as last year’s, allowed Havens, but “getting a bunch of people together and hanging out with goats is still going to be fun.”
Low Tide Brewing is located at 2863 Maybank Highway, Johns Island. The event will run 2-6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 14.