Going out for a beer used to be simple. With a limited number of options to choose from, you could order from a handful of national brands, and they were so similar that any old beer would do.
Fortunately for those with particular taste buds, those days are over. The growing trend of the craft beers has seen an explosion of microbrews reach the national market. Ordering a beer may be a bit more complex than it used to be, but the taste is well worth the effort.
The Myrtle Beach area has also seen a boom in the microbrew business, with recent changes in state law opening up new opportunities for on-site brewing. Bars and restaurants also have expanded their selection of off-brands to respond to changing customer demands.
The result is a thriving local market for microbrews, and more chances for thirsty patrons to wet their whistles with something different. Here's a six pack of places to try unique craft beers in Myrtle Beach:
* Atlas Tap House: This old house is just a block away from the beach in the downtown district and delivers a wide selection of draft and bottled beers from all over the world to an area that was dominated by major brands. The outdoor patio deck is the perfect place to take a break from the beach and sample a few of the rare beers on their extensive lineup.
* Gordon Biersch: This national chain opened a store in Market Common a few years ago and the taps haven't stopped flowing. Part of the Gordon Biersch brand, a California-based brewery that proclaims itself as America's largest microbrewery, this restaurant/bar brews its own blends and even incorporates it into the food menu. Be sure to visit one of Gordon Biersch's popular keg tapping parties when new brews are introduced.
* Liberty Steakhouse & Brewery: The most popular on-site restaurant/brewery in Myrtle Beach is located at Broadway at the Beach. This huge complex has a dining room, outdoor patio deck and a bar with large vats of home brew. Liberty has a long list of house beers, including the famous Rocket Red Ale, Liberty Lager and more. Go for happy hour, when draft beers and appetizers are half price. Long Bay guests can visit sister store Liberty Tap House, just two blocks away on Kings Highway.
* Mellow Mushroom: This national chain was built on great pizza and a huge selection of microbrews. Hard-to-find beers from all over the world are available in bottles or on tap, and happy hour make it more affordable to sample the often expensive microbrews. Located across from Broadway at the Beach, this is a popular spot among locals.
* New South Brewery: Looking for a fresh microbrew? Go straight to the source at Myrtle Beach's only brewery and distributor. New South is located in the warehouse district of Myrtle Beach, and recent law changes has allowed the addition of a bar and guided tours that take you through every step of the process. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, visitors can tour the brewery and cannery before bellying up to the bar to taste the end result. Patrons can purchase beer to go in a refillable growler along with other souvenirs.
* Quigley's Pint & Plate: The only microbrew in Pawleys Island also happens to be one of the many great restaurants. Specializing in family casual dining, Quigley’s also has a bar area that is a popular hangout for locals and visiting golfers. Try one of the many house beers that are brewed on-site, and check out the nice happy hour specials on food and beer.