In this Southern town, culinary delights are virtually endless


Written by: Experience Columbia

It’s a place where the state capitol building still bears marks from Civil War cannon fire, where a rare urban whitewater river rumbles past downtown, and where a nearby national park features some of the oldest trees in the eastern United States. Columbia, South Carolina, is a city steeped in history and loaded with avenues for outdoor adventure. But to really get the most out of this place at the heart of the Palmetto State?

Grab a fork. Hoist a glass. And enjoy.

Columbia is a food and drinks town to its core, a place with a culinary scene that runs the gamut from Southern comforts to fine foods and a craft beer industry that can rival anywhere else in the region. Oh, yes — there’s loads of the city’s famous pimento cheese and the state’s legendary mustard-based barbecue. But there are also countless international influences, a burgeoning wine scene, fine dining restaurants serving inventive fare, and pilsners and IPAs brewed around the corner from the state university’s football stadium.

So yeah — come hungry. And thirsty. And get ready to experience what today’s Columbia food and beverage scene is all about.

Columbia gets crafty

South Carolina is a relative newcomer to the craft brewing industry; it was the mid-2000s before the state allowed ABV content higher than 6.3%, and a little later before breweries allowed sampling on-site. No city in the Palmetto State embraced that new world more robustly than Columbia, where a craft brew scene quickly gained momentum and continues to expand today.

One long-time favorite near Williams-Brice Stadium is River Rat Brewery, which features favorites like its 803 IPA and Astronaut Sauce, along with seasonal options and a sun-splashed outdoor area ideal for people and dogs alike. Downtown is Columbia Craft Brewing Company, which offers favorites such as Carolinian and Famously Hop, as well as lagers, IPAs, sours, and barrel-aged selections, both in its main taproom and up on its new rooftop area.

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