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 Columbia really does have a little bit of everything. And it just keeps growing! We have arts, history, a local food scene, and more recently, local breweries. And now there is a new website that ties together all the great things about our city! Midlands Anchor debuted Friday night, and yours truly got an invite to the launch party at River Rat Brewery. Didn’t make it? No worries. I’ll fill you in!

Midlands Anchor

Midlands Anchor

Midlands Anchor is a brand new website (formerly Lexington Anchor), that was designed to be a hub for all of the great things in the Midlands, including local events, arts and history, economic and community development, and even local food and beverages (of which I am now a part – check it!!!!). This is a great resource for people new to the area, as well as people who have lived here all their lives – and everyone in between! The site launched Friday evening at 6:30, so we all counted down the seconds and toasted each other (some with River Rat beer, others with champagne) to the start of something new.

The front door of River Rat Brewery

I’d never been to River Rat Brewery before, but I’d enjoyed its Broad River Red and Hazelnut Brown in several local restaurants, including Publick House, Mellow Mushroom, and Soda City during some of its special events. Great beer. Very drinkable. Not too sweet and not too hoppy – just my kind of beer. So I was pretty excited when I found out this was the location for the party, as it gave me a chance to check out the actual venue.

The dining drinking room is not very large, but it has a nice atmosphere. It’s the kind of place that you could sit and talk with (and actually HEAR) your friends, while enjoying a nice pint (or several…) of craft beer.

River Rat Brewery is located on Shop Road, and it really seems like the middle of nowhere when you pull up (’cause it pretty much is…). But because of the somewhat remote location, River Rat is able to use a little more space than most Columbia establishments. It even has its own backyard, complete with picnic tables and cornhole games. The backyard is also pet-friendly, as long as your pet stays on a leash. There are a few water and pet clean-up stations around the yard, so you can relax and Rover can have a great time, too.

Due to the indoor and outdoor space available, it was the perfect place for the launch party. There was plenty of room on the porch for the countdown and champagne toast, but there were also picnic tables and plenty of standing – and cornhole – room on the lawn.

Brian convinced me to play a round of cornhole while we were there. When in Rome, right? You guys. My husband is about as naturally athletically coordinated as I am decidedly athletically uncoordinated. So as we stood on the lawn and tossed beanbags back and forth during our pathetic game of cornhole – mine going WAY afield of the aimed-for target – I remembered why I never volunteer to play cornhole…

After losing (considerably) at cornhole, I needed a pick-me-up, so we headed back up to the porch for a little cake and champagne. You. Guys. That cake was AHHH-MAZING!!!! It was made by a relative of the Midlands Anchor founder, and I could not stop drooling over raving about it. And that’s saying something, because really love cake. I may or may not have helped myself to a second piece… (What? It was small!!!!!!)Overall, we had a great time, and decided to come back (with Cooper) again sometime. River Rat seems like the perfect place to wind down after a long work week with some friends over a pint and a round of cornhole – you know, as long as you’re not me… They don’t have a wide food selection, but you can order some appetizers to enjoy with your beer (or even some wine, if you’re not a beer drinker). I’m not sure what’s on the menu on a regular basis (some delicious-looking sliders were making their way to the picnic tables while we were there…) but I do know they have cheese and charcuterie on a regular basis.

The best part of the evening? Brian won the drawing for a free growler filled with his choice of River Rat beer. We chose the Broad River Red. Guess how long that lasted…