If you’re a friend and read that title you’re thinking this isn’t anything new. Sarah has always wanted a puppy. But instead she got to visit River Dog Brewing in Bluffton, SC. Or rather, Ridgeland but who knows where that is; right? We come to HHI once a summer with her family and always take this fun little back road off I-95 which gets us out of some traffic on US-278; the main road into HHI. Thankfully for me their new brewery is off our typical travel route. Which Sarah despises because it’s all back roads from Augusta to I-95, but now we have a reason to go that way.
River Dog has a nice corner spot in what looks like an office park. Their tasting room seems quite small with only five or six tables and maybe six chairs at the bar. I’m not sure if they let you mingle outside during busy times or not. They have a nice size brew house, especially when compared to the last brewery I visited, Jailhouse in Hampton, GA. They brew on a 15 bbl system and have six 30 bbl fermenters. I think the guy told me they have three 30 bbl bright tanks too, or maybe they were 15 bbl, I can’t remember.
With the new South Carolina pint law they have no problem selling you beer either. I quickly order a flight which was a taster of all six beers they had on tap. From right to left in the picture was their American Wheat, next a Toffee Holiday ale which was great. This beer is described as an amber Belgian ale and brewed with Belgian candy sugar and chocolate covered toffee from River Street Sweets in Savannah. Next was their Chocolate Rye Porter and was possibly my favorite on tap. It came off obvious at the substantial amount of rye used in this recipe which added great depths to the beer. I got some spice from the rye plus some nice chocolate and roast notes from the rest of the grain bill. Moving down the list was a Lowcountry Lager which would please even the Silver Bullet drinkers of the southeast. Next was a great IPA with a load of fruity and citrus hops. Their website contradicts itself saying it’s 5.8% abv but also says it’s a 7.6% beer, while their tap list says it’s 6.3% abv. Its balance was a little off, more hop forward and could use some extra body. At 7.6% it would be great and it wasn’t bad at any means, but it could have been better and more balanced. It’d be interesting to know why I see three different numbers. Naturally Untappd has it at 7.6%, but that number won’t change unless River Dog edits it. The IPA was one of my favorites still. Last and certainly not least because this could be filed under save the best for last was their Citrus Sour. I didn’t want to sour my palette plus this was a beer to sip and enjoy. Sarah loves sours, probably not as much as puppies though, so she got a pour of her own too. Huge citrus flavors with a nice tartness and surprisingly light and way to refreshing at 6.8% abv. This made it a toss of favorite beer of the day between the rye porter and the sour. Wish I would have gotten growlers of both.
The bar keep guy told us they were planning to release around five sours this quarter also. So I suggest keeping an eye on their social media to see when those happen. Denver and I have already mentioned making a day trip if we have to. But we’ll both be down here in May and I think only a week apart this year; normally its two – three weeks apart. Plus when we go back I have to tip the guy big time. They use an iPad as method of payment and I was looking at the screen so I only saw confirm payment which I hit. After we walked out then Sarah tells me I didn’t tip the guy that there was a space on the iPad to add tip amount. Naturally we never have cash and were rushed to get to Sea Pines registration to check-in before they closed. So now I’m trying to figure out a way that the guy will forgive me for my oversight. Sorry dude! They recently sent a cask up to Atlanta also for ACAT and that I believe was a kriek and was superb from what I’ve been told. So it seems they’re killing it on the sour front. Which is a good thing for southeast brewers. It would be great to be known for having a line of refreshing sours to convert the Steel Reserve drinkers over to local. Well, you may not convert those guys because who’s gonna stop drinking a six-pack of 211s that only cost four bucks?
This should make it on the list of musts people and it’s not that far off I-95 for those traveling. I know I’m already looking forward to visiting again in May and trying to get my sister-in-law drunk.