4155 Dorchester Road,
Charleston, SC 29405
Anytime we roll into an area, one of the first things we do is look at local brewery reviews. Tucked in the back of a parking lot in a small industrial section of North Charleston, you’ll find Holy City Brewing—a local favorite and one of the highest rated breweries in the area. It’s a off the beaten path and can be easy to miss if you’re just looking for something in Charleston proper. When you arrive, you need to have a little faith as you roll down a narrow alley between two other businesses toward the back of a lot that looks more like it services a garage rather than a brewery. Admittedly, it doesn’t look like much at first but trust us, it’s worth it.
The brewery itself is attached to a taproom where you can watch the brewers at work while you sample their beers. They offer free tours of their brewery upon request. Their taproom is fully stocked with nearly two dozen different beers to sample. The taproom also comes complete with a full kitchen where you can get some pretty decent food while you drink. From an outsider’s point of view, it’s easy to see how this can be a local favorite. They have weekly events including live music and trivia nights to keep things fresh for the regulars.
The ambiance is open and relaxed. They have a large outdoor seating area, plenty of tables, and a large bar that can fit quite a few thirsty faces. When you stroll in you walk right up to the bar, place your order, and seat yourself. They’ll take care of the rest. The flights are all custom and come in sets of four 4oz samples. The only challenge you’ll have is deciding which of their many beers to try. Have a question or can’t decide? Just ask! It seemed like everyone who worked there knew their beers very well and were actively engaging all of their guests. It was a great sight to see.
Bring Out The Beers!
Our Reviews Of Holy City Brewing’s Beer
Holy City Pilsner
ABV: 5% | IBU: 45
This pilsner is light and very easy to drink. The color is clear and bright while the flavor is clean, crisp, and slightly dry. There is a hint of flowers as is common with most pilsners but it’s very toned down. It’s the kind of beer you could drink three of back-to-back on a hot day.
Cask-Aged Cherry Pilsner
ABV: Unknown | IBU: Unknown
The Cherry Pilsner got a hard introduction—it was barely carbonated and was slightly cooler than room temperature on a fairly warm day. That said, if it was just a touch colder and a little more carbonated it would’ve made for a very nice, slightly fruity beer. The flavor itself packs a solid punch but, rather than tasting cherries, we both got the flavor of star fruit instead. It’s slightly tart and sweet with a smooth finish.
Captain & Joel’s Debacle
ABV: 7.8% | IBU: Unknown
The Debacle is a strange one indeed. The cloudy amber color makes you think you’re going to get a typical pale ale, but then the smell tells you that you might be in for something more earthy. The flavor can only be described as funky—like 1970s mod fashion funk. We were getting mixed flavor ranges between fruit candy and mushrooms without any real way to figure out who was wrong. One thing was for sure—grapefruit didn’t come through for either of us.
Overly Friendly IPA
ABV: 7.5% | IBU: 65
This IPA has such a light nose that you can barely tell it’s beer. The color is clear with rich golden hues. The flavor itself is green and citrusy. It’s not a hoppy IPA and has a smooth finish that isn’t overly dry or especially sweet. It does not taste at all like you’re drinking 7.5% and one could probably drink a lot of these very easily.
ABV: 6.6% | IBU: Unknown
The Aussie Sauce IPA presents itself very well. The color is slightly cloudy and golden. The smell is bold and with a nice hoppy hit—but one that’s not so strong that it’s off putting or skunky. The flavor has a nice balance between being slightly fruity and slightly dry. It’s comfortable to drink and has a defined and pleasant aftertaste.
ABV: 9.9% | IBU: Unknown
For a double IPA, the Yeast Wrangler was unexpected. We thought that it was going to pack a hell of a punch by it’s dark golden color and heavily hoppy smell. However, the flavor is almost sweet. It is not overly bitter or drying. The beer goes down smoothly and doesn’t leave the heavy alcohol aftertaste that one would expect from a 9.9% ABV. It was a bold drink, but not one that we would have immediately classified as a double.
Smells Like Rick
ABV: 5.5% | IBU: Unknown
As a fan of a barrel-aged beers, we wanted to like this one. It smells very strongly of whiskey but not in a rich boozy kind of way—more like a perfume. You can tell from the flavors that it’s built on a pilsner, but the whisky smell is a touch overpowering and, mixed with the flowery notes of the pilsner, compounds into a novel beer to try once (and in small amounts.) For us, it didn’t have the complex flavor profile barrel-aged beers usually have and the effect was left all to the nose.
ABV: 4.8% | IBU: Unknown
This has to be one of the smoothest and most pleasant sours we’ve ever tried. Both the smell and the flavor were well balanced. The whiskey notes weren’t overpowering but they were prominent and well defined. The sour flavor wanted overly acidic, but it was still distinctly a sour ale. Our bartender referred to it as “the champagne of sours.” It was light, refreshing, and very drinkable! Of all the beers we tried at Holy City Brewing, this one was definitely a favorite!
Pluff Mud Porter
ABV: 5.5% | IBU: 21
You can definitely tell why this is one Holy City Brewing’s most popular beers. The dark colors and rich smells give you all the elements one usually loves in a porter. The flavor has smooth chocolate notes that are toned down to what is actually very light and refreshing beer. It’s one of the few porters we’ve found that might actually stand up to a hot day.
Nitro Pluff Mud Porter
ABV: 5.5% | IBU: 21
Building on an already good porter, this nitro version makes it so much creamier and more fulfilling. The nitrogen rounds off Pluff Mud’s hard edges and puts a spotlight on the nuttiness that you might miss in the original. Bordering on decadent, this version would be much better on a cool evening or as a dessert beer. So creamy.
Our Overall Rating For This Brewery:
Zack, the bartender who served us, was great! He was knowledgable and friendly, offered advice on beers that fit our preferences, was able to describe the beers well, and helped us put together our flights in such a way that one beer didn’t overpower another. Even though it should be a given at every brewery—one strange thing we noticed was that every single one of their glasses smelled really clean. We haven’t found that to be the case in most taprooms, so that’s a few extra points in favor of Holy City Brewing! I wouldn’t recommend trying to bring your RV up to this place as the parking lot is a little tight and even though they have a great outdoor patio area, it’s not dog friendly. At least they have outdoor seating and their own parking lot though.
They do have a wide selections of beers, but if you’re a hophead, you might feel a little left out. Their flavor profiles range from classic to crazy but nothing that we tried was especially bitter or hoppy. If you’re not into that kind of thing, you’ll be right at home. If you are, go here anyway—the variety will expand for your horizons and be good for you. All in all, we really enjoyed ourselves and we recommend checking our Holy City Brewing if you’re ever in the area.