Many of Greenville’s better breweries share a common trait: no food. There are adjacent restaurants or food trucks or pop-ups, but no kitchen onsite and certainly no chef. Great examples include Birds Fly South, Double Stamp, Liability and the list goes on, but the Eighth State Brewing Co. has recently bucked the trend, hiring chef Jonathan Beard to create a menu of seasonal foods meant for drinking.
Beard may be best known for his time as head chef at R Kitchen, Charleston’s pre-fixe experience where the culinary team does everything back-to-front of the house, producing a different five-course menu nightly. He also spent time in the kitchen at Forestry Camp in Asheville and interned at the Bull and Beggar.
For the Eighth State, Beard has been handed full reign of the kitchen and ownership is ready for him to flex with plates that Greenville hasn’t seen in a brewery setting. He’s planning a few greatest hits punctuated by an evolving menu of shareable plates.
A mushroom toast on locally baked stecca with marigold petals, grass-fed meatballs with blue cheese mousse, and boiled peanuts produced with mosaic hops all stand out as snacks.
Thursday nights are reserved for house-smoked barbecue. If available, order the barbecue ramen with its beef bone broth or the Filthy Mac, a loaded mac and cheese topped with que.
A sweet potato bowl, currently on the menu, is tossed in za’atar with fire-roasted shishito peppers and pickled mustard seed. The roasted acorn squash salad, adroitly topped with pomegranate arils and fresh peanuts, is crazy photographable. Even dessert is well thought out, such as a baked-upon-order, nutmeg-laden bread pudding. The Heir to None, a 13.1% ABV imperial stout collab with Angry Chair Brewing from Tampa, is a nice accompaniment with its layers of coconut, wood vanillin, lavender stem, and Skör bars.
The Eighth State Brewing Co. has been labeled a bit of the ‘90s cool kids on Greenville’s beer radar, with the limited release fruited sours, hoppy ales, and avant-garde hues, but a growing audience of regulars is making the taproom a sought-after locale in the West End. The addition of Eighth State as a legitimate dinner destination is turning the page for a brewery ready for its next chapter.