The Carolinas is one region of the country where craft beer culture has seen a sharp increase in recent years. Last year, both North Carolina and South Carolina saw a bump in the number of breweries opening in their respective backyards. For those of us who live south of the border, 2013’s Pint Bill was a major buoy for the state’s expanding beer scene. And north of the border, hotspots such as Asheville and Charlotte have become destinations not only for beer geeks, but big-name breweries as well.
With that rapid growth, it’s sometimes hard to keep track of what’s where and who beer travelers should be on the lookout for. Enter Beer Lover’s the Carolinas – released today – the latest entry in a series of books chronicling the breweries and beer spots that call their respective areas home. Previous entries have covered regions such as New York and Southern California, and this volume covers nearly all of the breweries currently active throughout the Palmetto and Tar Heel states.
And what poor soul was burdened with the task of traveling the two states, jumping from one brewery to the next and detailing everything an aspiring beer traveler would want to know? Daniel Hartis, the man behind the all-things Queen City beer blog, CharlotteBeer.com, as well as author of Charlotte Beer: A History of Brewing in the Queen City. For much of 2013, Hartis traversed his home state of North Carolina and (what surely became a second home of sorts) South Carolina, visiting every active production brewery, brewpub and bar, chronicling everything from hours of operation to what makes the place a can’t miss and everything in between.
Regardless of where you find yourself in either state, the book can been a useful tool. It’s broken up into regions, with each section beginning with a map of the respective area and going on to detail that region’s beer spots. For South Carolina, the book breaks up the Palmetto State into the Upstate, Midlands, Charleston and the Lowcountry. (The Holy City is packed enough to warrant its own section.) Each brewery is highlighted with a “Beer Lover’s Pick” of the can’t-miss beer at each place, and many sections include a Pub Crawl layout for those looking to hit the most spots in the shortest distance and time.
While Beer Lover’s is a great guide for those who are visiting the Carolinas and unfamiliar with the area, it’s also a great guide for those living in the respective states and provides a great background and history of each place. Hartis’ writing style is conversational and relaxed. It never comes off as preachy, and there’s no favoritism shown for any one place over another. Each business highlighted is approached equally and – as with many people who will use the guide – with a fresh set of eyes, giving the reader a fair look at each place.
Aside of breweries and beer spots, the book also includes a month-by-month rundown of the region’s major beer festivals, a big asset for planning a getaway. There are also clone recipes, beer and food recipes and a list of up-and-coming breweries that didn’t make it into the first edition. (Hartis has said a second edition including breweries that have opened since he finished the book is likely.)
Whether you’re a newbie to the beer scene in either state or are just looking to plan a weekend or brush up on your local brewery knowledge, Beer Lover’s is a great guide to what makes the Carolinas such a noteworthy place for craft beer.
Beer Lover’s can be found in stores and online now. For more information about the book, including signing dates, and details about NC and SC beer news, check out Beer Lover’s on Facebook and Twitter.