Recently celebrating their 5th Anniversary, River Rat Brewery is one of the original “Big Three” commercial craft beer producers that inhabited the city of Columbia, SC for a few years before the more recent boom of breweries. Always the best of the Big Three, in my opinion, River Rat combined good beer with a highly inviting indoor/covered deck/pure outdoor space at their production brewery and tasting room. In 2018, they improved their customer space even more with the addition of a rooftop deck, an area even more attractive on South Carolina football gamedays, given the brewery is less than a mile from the university’s football stadium.
Another upgrade is the replacement of the outdoor grass with astroturf, much more ideal for the amount of foot traffic this brewery gets, especially on the weekends. With a full calendar of events, such as trivia, movies, and more of the standard brewery event fare (to say nothing of the exceptionally busy football game days), River Rat is good at drawing a crowd.
The brewery produces a prolific beer list, with 15 or more offerings on tap at any given time, along with cans of their core brews. Their malty Hazelnut Brown and Broad River Red Ales are notable, as is Astronaut Sauce, their most recent attempt at a New England IPA. I will have a few more offerings in an upcoming Beers in Review!