The Quest for the Holy Grain - Best Brew Pubs
South Carolina






Southend Brewery & Smokehouse
161 East Bay Street
Charleston SC 29401
(843) 853-4677

The people in the South are so nice, except when a blue person is unhappy in a red state. Then they can be quite mean, mocking and small. It is actually ironic entertainment to hear an open minded liberal excoriate his fellow statesmen and I heard a lot of that in South Carolina. I also heard that Southend was a nice brewpub. So if the theme is irony or hypocrisy let me say this, until this review the Mai Tai in Honolulu was the only really pure negative review this intrepid questor has written. Well, move over Mai Tai, there is a place with more variety and worse beer. Southend ought to be renamed Deadend as it is the weakest brew pub I have ever visited.

Southend is situated in a beautiful building (the local cab company could not find) in a picturesque downtown location. Our party of six was seated at a booth where we were served by a comely blonde lass who was full of energy and empty of everything else.

Let's cut to the chase. They have beers with engaging names : Love Me Two Times Blonde, Watch It Grow Wheat, Castle Pinckney Pale Ale, Rip Tide Red, Pict's Stout , and a seasonal I gratefully have forgotten. If you were blindfolded and tasted each beer it would have been impossible to tell them apart. More honest names would be Bland, Blander, and Blandest.
If you like beer you have been to a similar place somewhere, where every beer is a slight variation of the other beer. Do yourself a favor get a six pack of Amstel Light and stay in your hotel room.

But that was not all that was endearing. You have to climb two flights of stairs to get to the men's room. Points off for that. The food, at a smokehouse, was mediocre. I got barbecue meat and it almost made me think the beer was tasty. But here is my favorite part of the journey. A friend asked for separate checks at the end of the evening. Five of us were fine with divide by six, but go figure.

So serve-me-one-time Blondie stands in front of the register for 20 minutes or more-no exaggeration. She is frantically inputting numbers as we are all finished and disappointed and ready to go. She comes back to the table and says I couldn't do it and places a pile of those American Express folders on the tables. She says there was two different totals. We all reach into the pile and grab a folder and every bill was different from $18 to $33. It was like a perverse grab bag. Everyone seemed resigned to the fate of paying some random amount until one of the party placed his folder back on the table and picked up the seventh one (for a party of six). Blondie had divided everything by six and come up with seven bills.
We called the manager who took about 20 minutes to put the bill back together into one bill.

On this night SC was neither red nor blue; it was the seventh ring of hell. If you get to Charleston do not be seduced avoid the Southend at all costs.




Blue Ridge Brewing Company
217 N. Main Street
Greenville, SC 29601
(864) 232-4677

Located in the boutique shopping district of Greenville, SC,
Blue Ridge
seems like a typical yuppie brew pub. They seat about 100 and have a cozy patio in front. Their copper cooker and lauter are displayed in front with a row of 5 stainless 10 barrel fermenters down the side. There are four regular beers and a seasonal; stout, blond, ESB, pale ale, and dunkle weissen. The beers seem true to style.