St Simons Island Beer Guide
While St Simons Island, Georgia may stand out as a foodie destination, they are a little behind when it comes to craft beer. It’s not for lack of trying though. The issue is that Georgia’s archaic, distributor and big beer controlled laws make it difficult for craft breweries to open and survive. There isn’t a single brewery in the region.
However, restaurants, bars, and bottle shops do what they can to fill their taps and stock their shelves with what little offerings are available from Georgia based craft breweries. They fill the void with beers from more craft brewery friendly regional states like Florida, North Carolina, and Alabama.
To help you find the best in craft beer on St Simons Island, I’ve developed this St Simons Island Beer Guide.
Bottle Shops and Growler Fill Stations
One of the first things I do when traveling is stop by a bottle shop or growler fill station to make sure I have beer stocked in my hotel room. Thus, I’m going to begin this St Simons Island beer guide with bottle shops.
Your choice on St Simons Island is limited to Weber’s Growler Factory, which is not to be confused with Weber’s Pub Package Store. They are located near each other, but not in the same building, (I accidentally popped into the Pub Package Store first). Weber’s Growler Factory has an impressive number of taps to fill your growler with. They also have a decent sized bottle collection to choose from. I do want to point out though that unlike many growler fill shops that you’re used to, there is no bar where you can relax over a pint. Once again, this is due to archaic local laws. However, you can order a flight. Georgia law does limit how many of those samples a customer can purchase per day though.
A craft beer alternative option is the mead selection over at Savannah Bee Company. Their selection of meads range from sweet to dry. I suggest paying for the $5 sampling to see which whets your palate the most. I recommend the dry-hopped Honeycone from Nectar Creek in Corvallis, Oregon. It was the closest resembling beer. Of course, Monk’s Mead from Monk’s Meadery in Atlanta was also quite nice. The carbonation added a nice touch and mellowed out the honey flavors.
Restaurants and Bars
There are several restaurants and bars on the island with more than a decent craft beer selections. My biggest criticism though is that the taps tend to feature beers from larger Georgia breweries like Sweetwater and Terrapin, all beers that are easily found throughout the southeast. If you look hard enough, you can find some hidden gems from breweries like Orpheus Brewing, Red Hare, and Jekyll Brewing (not associated with Jekyll Island).
Gnat’s Landing, one of St Simons Island’s most famous restaurants, has a 11 taps that rotate quite regularly. Their regular rotation allows in some fun seasonal selections beyond the 420-esque beers that you may already know (and love). Gnat’s also has an awesome food selection of seafood and southern influenced favorites. It’s worthy of a stop on your itinerary.
Around the corner from Gnat’s and also in Redfern Village is Bubba Garcia’s, whose second floor bar was recommended to me by the folks at Weber’s Growler Factory. Perhaps it was my timing, but I was more than a little disappointed with their selection. The drafts featured Mexican and big beer selections, and the only non-macro craft beer on their bottle list, they were out of. I left without ordering a beer.
In the Pier Village, which is the neighborhood surrounding the lighthouse and pier, there are a couple of options for craft beer. Palm Coast, a coffee shop turned pub, conveniently meets both your morning and evening needs. Nine taps are crammed into Palm Coast’s tiny bar. The beer curator seems to do the best on the island to make sure those nine pour your harder to find beers. Check their hours before you go though as Palm Coast does close from 3-5:30 on Sunday through Wednesday, limiting your vacation daytime drinking.
If Palm Coast is closed and you must quench that afternoon thirst, then walk around the block to Mellow Mushroom. Mellow Mushroom has by far the largest number of taps on St Simons Island. Most of those taps feature your macro craft beer like Sweetwater, Ballast Point, and Sierra Nevada, with a few hidden gems buried amongst them.
One place that won’t show up on most beer lists for St Simons Island is Southern Soul Barbeque. It’s not the kind of place you’re going to hang out and drink beer, but you are going to go there for the BBQ. It’s good to know that you can wash down their famous BBQ with hyper local craft beer. In fact, when I was there, three of their four taps featured smaller, Georgia breweries.
Where to stay
St Simons Island does have what I would call a beer forward hotel – The King and Prince Resort. It’s where I stayed when I was on the island and I highly recommend it for more than just beer. But we’re talking about beer, here. The resort’s bar, ECHO Bar, gets a little playful with their taps and on occasion features tap takeovers. They also sourced a rather lengthy list of craft beers in cans to enjoy poolside.
As you can see from this St Simons Island beer guide, that while the island and surrounding region may not have a brewery, there are still plenty of options to meet your craft beer needs.
St Simons Island Beer Guide Map