In Charleston, Beer Gets Its Own Neighborhood

The bar (it’s technically a beer, wine and cider-only “taproom”; a full liquor license requires another level of paperwork) has a sporty feel, with three TV screens blazing. Matt’s boys petted an old hound dog while we ordered pints from a list that aims to please every taste — a stout, porter, ESB (extra special bitter), India Pale Ale, a golden ale — without flourish or gimmick, except for their (delicious) Watermelon Wheat.

Like most breweries in the area, Cooper River offers a range of volumetric options, including the humane, sample-enabling, five-ounce pour for $2, but this time we claimed full pints of the I.P.A. and the Session Ale, and retreated to the outdoor picnic tables, closer to the barbecue. In the open loading dock of the brewery, facing the beer garden, Pat Nelson stood behind a card table with a banner proclaiming “Big Boned Barbecue,” and we ordered smoky-tender brisket evocative of West Texas ($11) and sausage ($5), with mac and cheese, cornbread and the fixings (onion, pickle slices, white bread).

Mr. Nelson, who moved here from Minnesota, offered that he could easily make more money setting up outside an office building at lunch time. “But I like the atmosphere and the pace better here, and there’s beer,” he said.

The earthy smell of low tide crept into the parking lot, reminding us that The Neck is named for the point where the peninsula narrows to only a mile’s width of dry land between the Ashley and Cooper Rivers. Inside the marsh-grass limits, the landscape is a burly hodgepodge of uses: The residential Rosemont, Four Mile and Silver Hill neighborhoods float like islands among rug cleaners, stone cutters, a cola bottler, auto repair shops and tattoo parlors, as well as the last vestiges of Charleston’s downtown seaport: the International Longshoreman’s union hall and marine rigging suppliers.