As I parked in front of The Roost on Savannah Highway, I realized I didn’t quite know how to find this place. I started walking, looking for the old Lyerly’s Dry Cleaning location. What I found was an open roll up door, sawdust wafting in the breeze, and the sound of beer building.
I was at Charles Towne Fermentory.
Adam Goodwin started making beer at an age where it was easier to create it, than get someone to buy it for him. While working a warehouse job for Cisco, he heard of Tired Hands Brewing, which was just starting up outside of Philadelphia. Adam told me how fortunate he was to get that job, and the vast amount of knowledge he garnered leading up to the brewing of his first commercial batch of beer.
It was this experience that led to a job at Trillium Brewing. They were looking for someone could scale up commercial recipes and run a large brewhouse. It turned out to be an amazing opportunity for Adam and furthered the dream of starting his own brewery.
I asked Adam where the name for Charles Towne Fermentory came from. “I believe that breweries play a significant role in a neighborhood. Traditionally they were a source of beer for their location. Sometimes that might just be a particular city or even just a farm. They focused on local ingredients and utilizing what was available to them. We wanted to do
something that connected us to Avondale, West Ashley, and the greater Charleston area, but also something that evoked an old school, traditional feel, that’s why we decided on Charles Towne. Though we are a production brewery first, we want to cultivate an interesting, unique experience when people visit, and focusing on fermentation as a process beyond creating beer. This is why we decided to create a “fermentory.”
The location has some beautiful architecture. Large steel beams support what used to be the second floor, which was removed by a storm in the early 70’s. As seen here, they are stamped with Carnegie H USA, which Adam researched and found they were made in a plant outside of Pittsburg in the 30’s. A curved line near the front door marks what was the dry cleaners front counter and remains to mark your entrance into the Fermentation Nation.
“When we signed the lease, there were zero breweries (in planning) in West Ashley. We wanted to be in an area with a strong neighborhood presence and sense of communtiy who would also be open to the idea of a brewery being in their backyard. I feel strongly that a brewery should serve it’s local community first and be very involved in it. We didn’t want a location where we felt like we were fighting the same people we are trying to do this with. The location in Avondale is perfect. It really checks all of the boxes in terms of great neighborhood, great people, fun atmosphere, and walkability.”
They currently have 5 brews on tap, and a bunch more planned in the future. “You can expect to see some farmhouse stuff, some hoppy beers, and probably one or two things out of left field. We’ll have a lot of barrel aged and sour stuff fairly regularly.” Adam is always searching for new grains, hops, funky ingredients, or as he puts it “a combination of inspirations”.
With 5000 square feet of brewery to soak in, I was reluctant to leave. But it was time to chase the next brewery. I took one last admiring glance at the row of fermentors and made my way out into the Charleston evening.
I am already a part of the Fermentation Nation.