LANCASTER, S.C. -- It's a once in a lifetime event. On Monday, August 21, skies will go dark across an assortment of U.S. cities, and U.S. cities alone.
Perhaps it was a birthday gift, but the last time an eclipse put on a show for solely the United States occurred in 1776.
To put it in simple terms, this event is not one to be missed, rather one to be enjoyed and celebrated.
Cue Bryan O'Neal.
O'Neal is the owner of Benford Brewing, located on the same property his home and farm lie on.
The South Carolina native has a very special stance towards being a brew master. Every one of his beers has a story.
"The odd thing about this brewery, I won't brew a beer unless it makes sense," O'Neal said. "There's got to be a story behind the beer. So really the story comes first and then we figure out what kind of beer it's going to be."
So, when O'Neal caught wind that a once-in-a-lifetime eclipse would be passing over South Carolina, he jumped at the chance to brew a beer inspired by such a unique circumstance.
"Last year probably around this time, you started seeing stuff about an eclipse coming to South Carolina and I said, 'Welp (sic), we need to brew a beer about that, that's pretty cool,'" O'Neal said.
O'Neal said he came up with the idea and name over a couple brewskies of his own while sitting on the picnic benches that line the Benford Brewing's front porch.
Today, as millions are expected to flock to Columbia, Charleston among other South Carolina cities, O'Neal is reaping the benefits of his aptly named IPA, Carolina Blackout.
"Currently distributors are sold out of beer," O'Neal said. "The eclipse craze is happening and we're getting good reviews on the beer too, so it's not just the can, people are liking the product too."
The Carolina Blackout is a black IPA, a beer that O'Neal says is relatively popular in the brewing world.
"Looks like a stout, tastes like an IPA," O'Neal said.
The jet black coloring is created from midnight wheat which O'Neal says is relatively flavorless and darkens the beer without the roasted and rich flavors people associate with stouts and porters.
The brew is also special to O'Neal as it encompasses and represents South Carolina.
"[The eclipse and South Carolina] is something everyone is really proud of and I think it's branding South Carolina," O'Neal said. "And it's actually just a cool thing to brew a beer about."
Carolina Blackout's can also pays tribute to both the eclipse and South Carolina's flag. O'Neal's design takes the flag's palmetto tree but rather replaces the moon with an eclipse.
Of course, O'Neal plans on watching the rare event Monday in Columbia with a Carolina Blackout in hand.
Wondering where you can get your hands on some Carolina Blackouts? Check Benford Brewing's beer finder here.
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