May 10, 2022 - Food and Drink

5 takeaways from my trip to Benford Brewing, a brewery on a farm near Charlotte

Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

“This song goes out to all the Ukrainian people,” Joe Shingara, the singer of the the Water’s Edge Trio out of Indian Land said as he began to play “Imagine” by John Lennon.

That moment sums up the family-like atmosphere at Benford Brewing, a quaint, unpretentious brewery on a family farm just over the border in South Carolina.

Need to know:

  • The brewery is located at 2271 Boxcar Road in Lancaster, about 40 miles south of Charlotte. It takes about 50 minutes to drive there.
  • It’s open 3-9pm on Wednesday-Friday, 12-9pm on Saturday and 12-6pm on Sunday.

After a lovely spring evening out there, here are my five takeaways.

1. It’s the perfect country escape

A visit to Benford Brewing feels like stepping into a Nicholas Sparks novel. You know, that guy who wrote the “Notebook” and other books highlighting the small-town charm of the Carolinas? It has that level of character.

Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

2. No one cares what you wear

I’ll admit, I stressed a little over what to wear, deciding on cotton shorts and a tank top. There isn’t a dress code here.

  • Or as the owner of Garage Pies, a meat pie popup that evening at the brewery, tells me, “There’s no prissy people here trying to impress anybody.”
Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

3. Go for the beer, stay for live music

Sometimes live music, or any music for that matter, overpowers the atmosphere. You can’t hear the people around you, and you feel like you’re shouting at everyone. That’s not the vibe you want at a country brewery.

  • There are picnic tables and chairs around the stage in front of the brewhouse, but you can still hear the band play if you’re playing horseshoes or inside grabbing a drink.
  • When they have live music, there is a $5 cover after 5pm for the band.

4. Beer is the priority

Horseshoes and live music. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

It’s a brewery, so that shouldn’t surprise you. Try the Southern Tater, a seasonal beer, on tap. Canned and draft beers are available. They offer a wide variety of beers.

  • Their Irish Honey Ale, a delicious traditional pale, sold out while we were there.
  • Plus you’ll see a lot of German influences on the beer menu, like the clean, dry Farmtoberfest (seasonal) and Old Nitrolee, which is brewed with imported German pilsner and wheat malts. Old Nitrolee has hints of banana and clove.
  • The drink menu also includes wines, soft drinks, water and ciders.

Cost: All beers are $7 pints, except for the 11.5% Problem Solver, which is $10 per pint. Or you can buy a four-pint card for $25 or two four-pint cards for $40.

5. Bring your own chair

Southern Tater, a seasonal beer with sweet potatoes, marshmallows and a hint of cinnamon. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

Seating is limited, and we saw a lot of people bring their own chair. We posted up against the fence and watched the cows walk around and listened to the band.

Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
A wall in the brewhouse is dedicated to stickers of beers over the years. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
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