It's not hard to imagine how the Lowcountry's sandy shores and refreshing sea zephyrs provide the perfect backdrop for enjoying pours from the best breweries in Hilton Head Island.
In this idyllic sanctuary, think quality over quantity. Hilton Head is definitely not as saturated with hops as its Charleston and Myrtle Beach neighbors, but the three Hilton Head breweries and three brewing companies in the surround area cater to the discerning palates of those who seek hoppy elixirs and malted perfection. So raise your glasses, fellow Carolina Travelers, and let’s embark on a frothy expedition to the best breweries in Hilton Head!
Side Hustle Beer Company
New Location: The Bank, Hilton Head’s Beer Garden, 59 Pope Ave, Hilton Head, Island, SC 29928
You’ll think you’ve hit the jackpot when you walk into Side Hustle Beer Company, a local Hilton Head brewery that is currently finalizing its move to a former bank on the corner of Pope Avenue and Cordillo Parkway. Opening in late spring 2023, The Bank will feature more than 20 craft beers from Side Hustle Brewing Company, along with two restaurants and three food trucks!
Side Hustles’ pours match the laidback vibe of Hilton Head living. Sip leisurely on the Island Life Lager, a rice lager infused with lime and tangerine. The Rocket Emoji is an 8.3% ABV DIPA that utilizes the brewers’ self-proclaimed favorite hop: Nelson Sauvin, while the Piece of the Pie fruited sour will rock your senses with its potent notes of blackberry, vanilla, and graham cracker pie crust. Yum!
Lot 9 Brewing Co.
258 Red Cedar St #14, Bluffton, SC 29910
You’ll have a lot of fun at Lot 9 – Bluffton’s signature nanobrewery. A nanobrewery produces even more limited edition concepts than a microbrewery, (generally) producing beer in batches of three barrels or less. What does this mean for Bluffton beer-aficionados? They can usually expect a full roster of new beers upon every return!
That said, it’s hard to say what the best brews are at Lot 9 Brewing Co., but some local favorites tend to make a reappearance every now and again. The pale ale is one of their most popular pours, with a smooth, dry, ever-so-faint taste of citrus. If you love fruity beers, the blueberry wit should be your first pic, brewed in a similar style to Blue Moon with orange peels and coriander. Lot 9’s Buxom Blonde Ale is a medium-bodied underdog that won the bronze medal at the 2021 U.S. Beer Open!
Lincoln And South Brewing
138 Island Dr, Hilton Head Island, SC 29926
The best of New England meets the Lowcountry at Lincoln and South Brewing, a Vermont-inspired brewing company in the heart of Hilton Head Island. Lincoln and South is one of the best breweries in Hilton Head for enjoying live music, as this venue regularly hosts entertaining events like the annual spring Music Fest and a stellar line-up of local bands.
But wait…we’re getting ahead of ourselves…it’s beer that brings you here! Choose from three categories of local favorites: pilsners and ales, porters and stouts, and sours and seltzers. On the pilsner and ale end, we strongly recommend the Hearts & Arrows New England Citra IPA, smacking of orange and peach with a creamsicle mouthfeel. The Ranch Water hard seltzer will transport you to Margaritaville with its blend of tequila, agave, and orange liqueur. We hear it pairs perfectly with a big platter of nachos!
River Dog Brewing Co.
591 Browns Cove Rd N Unit H, Ridgeland, SC 29936
This next brewery had us barking for more at the bar with its complex pours, and it’s easily worth the drive to nearby Ridgeland, SC. We’ll go ahead and say it; River Dog Brewing Co. is probably one of the best breweries in Hilton Head and the entire Lowcountry region! There’s even outdoor seating available for patrons with pups, and the bartenders are happy to provide you with a bowl of ice water.
Oh, but what to choose? As always, we go for a flight of what the brew-masters recommend in the moment. Currently, that means a pour of the Peanut Butter Perkolatte coffee milk stout, the juicy and hazy Operation Jackpot New England IPA, a surprisingly drinkable Nellie’s Irish red ale, and…you might want to sit down for this one…an 11.8% Sticky Bun stout. River Dog is easily one of the best breweries in Hilton Head for those in search of dreamy liquid dessert!
Hilton Head Brewing Company
1 Cardinal Rd #13, Hilton Head Island, SC 29926
There’s no way we could draft a list of the best breweries in Hilton Head and the surrounding area without including South Carolina’s first brew pub since prohibition: Hilton Head Brewing Company. HHBC is also one of the best black-owned breweries in the South, with Hilton Head native Juan Brantley leading the charge since 2006.
Hilton Head Brewing Company’s 16 pours epitomize the flavors of the Lowcountry, and if you aren’t able to stop in to enjoy a flight or two, you can always take flights, pints, growlers, or 6-packs to-go. The brewery’s regular suspects include their flagship Tropical Lager that delights with a fruity finish, while the Hefe will have you in a tizzy trying to discern the flavors of banana, clove, and bubblegum. If you’re in search of a quality double IPA, the Folly 2X DIPA is the best seller in their taproom!
Southern Barrel Brewing Co. (Bluffton)
375 Buckwalter Pl Blvd, Bluffton, SC 29910
Not only is Southern Barrel Brewing one of the best breweries in Hilton Head, but it’s easily one of the top spots to bring the kids along. Open seven days a week, this brewery offers indoor and outdoor seating and allows you to order online from its seasonal food menu. You’ve simply GOT to try the duck bacon wontons and wings smothered in peach habanero sauce!
In the taproom, let your eyes glaze over the tantalizing board of draft pours. Sour lovers will surely gravitate to the Tropical Gose, which has a slightly salty taste of mango and watermelon. The 10% ABV Frozen Barrel Milk Stout may be better suited for the end of the night, as its vanilla finish and Bourbon barrel notes will send you off into a sweet slumber.
After all that talk of delicious beer, you're probably curious to pair it with some of Hilton Head's best food! Check out our recommendations for the best restaurants in Hilton Head.