Bierkeller Brewing Company (aka Bierkeller Columbia), local brewer of traditional German beers since 2015, will open a permanent location on the banks of the Congaree River.
Known for its seasonal pop-up beer gardens, Bierkeller will set up a full production brewing facility, biergarten, and restaurant at the CanalSide Plaza at Sola Station along the Historic Columbia Canal and Esplanade. Just a few minutes from Columbia’s downtown and the Vista, CanalSide Plaza offers existing landscaped green spaces and mature trees that will complement a German-style beer hall and provide an ideal – and idyllic – setting for the city’s first and only waterfront watering hole. The brewery/biergarten is expected to open in the 4th quarter of 2022.
“We love the spot we’re best known for at Riverfront Park with our seasonal pop-ups,” explains Bierkeller founder and owner, Scott Burgess. “And we love even more what this neighboring space adds to that.” In addition to the waterfront – with its fresh breezes, sunset views, and scenic backdrop of the historic canal – CanalSide Plaza and the Columbia City Esplanade offer plentiful outdoor space for a traditional German biergarten. “It’s pretty perfect,” says Burgess, who studied abroad in Bamberg, Germany while at UofSC, and spent close to a decade living and working in Bavaria before opening Bierkeller. “We will set it up just like the biergartens I came to know and love over there.”
Guests will also enjoy extensive covered and surface parking on-site in the CanalSide garage (with nearly 500 parking spaces) and beyond. “To make sure parking will be convenient, plentiful, and free, we worked closely with CanalSide on a comprehensive plan,” said Burgess. “We’ll have signs to guide you throughout the complex. There’s about a 1-2 minute walk from the covered parking garage to the biergarten; there are also surface spaces near the plaza; or, if you want to take a walk down to the park – down ‘memory lane,’ so to speak – where we set up for years, you can park in those lots, and the paths provide easy access from the park to the plaza. It’s actually a very convenient and cozy — ‘gemütlich’ in German — setting and set-up.”
To celebrate the grand opening, Bierkeller will host a huge kickoff in the German tradition. Seasonal events will include a fall Oktoberfest, winter Bockbierfest, a spring Maifest, and a holiday Christmas Market. Planned weekly activities include run and paddling clubs, cycling and other outdoor activities, yoga, sports broadcasts such as German, European, and American soccer, as well as football, and basketball, F1 racing, and other global and local events; trivia, live music, and special dining/beer evenings; and the continuation of their popular spring and fall Tuesday happy hours. Bierkeller will also be offering its venue to support private catered events for individuals and businesses. The space allows for a unique indoor/outdoor experience overlooking the Columbia Canal and the Congaree River.
The inside space will feature drinks, snacks, and full meals available from self-service counters designed to allow patrons to easily grab whatever they want at any time. Food will be European/German in nature, and include various rolls filled with fresh meats and cheeses; salads, sausages, and rotisserie chickens; as well as full plates such as schnitzel with fries, spätzle, and other specialties.
“Believe it or not, Southern German food is not that different from Southern U.S. food,” said Burgess. “We want the food to be authentic, yet appeal to a wide range of tastes – while using fresh, local ingredients. To put it into Columbia terms, think something like Gourmet Shop meets Lizards Thicket. With a lot more bratwurst,” Burgess says.
CanalSide Plaza and the new setting tie in directly to existing walking and nature trails that comprise the Three Rivers Greenway, with an extension to the new Bierkeller space from the State Museum and EdVenture Children’s Museum in planning.
The riverfront eating and drinking establishment will fulfill a years’ long plan made by the City.
“We are always thrilled to see our local businesses grow, thrive, and prosper,” said Columbia Mayor Daniel Rickenmann. “Bierkeller has successfully made the leap from ‘pop-up’ event to full-fledged brick-and-mortar establishment, and will now be able to produce their own products in-house. This location at CanalSide is going to grow in a hurry, and we are excited to watch their journey as they lead the way to more riverfront growth and development.”
Bierkeller has selected Sherer & Associates as its architect and Mashburn Construction as general contractor for the project. Bierkeller will soon be hiring servers, bartenders/pourers, and kitchen staff. If you are interested in potential employment, or for more information, email your resume to [email protected] or call 803 338-1599.