It has been a long, strange road up to this point, but the Inoculum Brewing tap room is finally open.
It’s in St Pete, which is a great place for owner/brewmaster Nick Moensch to set up shop. It’s also about an hour away from his brewing facility in Brooksville, in slightly more upscale digs than the former brewpub that he has taken over.
If you’re familiar with the study of film, you have probably heard of auteur theory. Basically, this theory states that the director of a film, through their use of such means as lighting, cinematography, editing, and direction, is and should be considered the true ‘author’ of the film. This would override other people such as the screenwriter or the producers, and make the end product the sole vision of the director.
There are some examples of this in brewing as well. Sometimes, one gets lucky and comes across a place that is unconcerned with current trends and popular styles, brewing almost exclusively for their own tastes and sensibilities.
So is the case with BrewPOP, a brewpub and winery located in Auburndale, Florida. A trip to BrewPOP should be considered a trip into the sole world of one Jerry Souders.
And it is a wonderful world to be in.
It is mid-August, the kids are back in school, there are political ads on the TV, and the temperatures will hopefully be dropping soon. All of this means it’s time for fall.
This is my wife’s favorite time of year, because she loves the changing colors, the cooler temperatures, pumpkin spice lattes, and all of the fun holidays that will be coming in the next few months. The thing I truly love about the fall is that it’s Oktoberfest time.
I guess it is pretty obvious that the main drag in Ybor City does bear a passing resemblance to the French Quarter, just with better coffee (I said it, come at me, bro).
Firmly entrenched behind red brick facades and wrought iron balconies is the relatively new Zydeco Brew Works. This brew pub is located in a former metal nightclub, which in turn was located in an old 1900 version of a Walgreens. If you look in one specific corner, you can even see the ornate tile work that was outside the main entrance.
More than once I have been to a brewery that has changed locations from one place to another. It’s an odd rarity that I can say I’ve been to a location that changed from one brewery to another.
Cidery, really. If you were lucky enough to visit Sailfish Brewery when they first opened, you will remember their awesome first digs. It was two canary yellow early 20th century houses a short walk from Downtown Ft. Pierce, one containing their tiny brewing system and the other housing their tap room. In the back was an absolutely expansive patio area, with tons of space and bar games.
For me, a good brewery is just not good unless you have good people working there. I have been to plenty of locations whose beers are phenomenal, and had a really bad time because of exceptionally horrible service (I’m thinking of one brewery in PA, FYI).
That is not something I have to worry about at Marker 48 Brewing in Weeki Wachee. I’ve had phenomenal experiences there, and recently had a great time chatting with Tasting Room manager Cindy. If all of her staff is like her, it would make perfect sense for how wonderful your time there will be.
Madeira Beach is just north of St. Pete Beach, all part of the hustle and tourist bustle that is the Pinellas Co. seashore.
Along the main strip that is Gulf Blvd. is Johns Pass Village. If you can picture a strip mall in a heavily tourist-centered area, you’ve imagined Johns Pass Village quite nicely. Ice cream parlors, racks full of tourist brochures, chain restaurants with 2-hour waits, and kitchy souvenir stores selling shot glasses with breasts and black shirts that say ‘The beatings will continue until morale improves.’
If you look closely, however, the first floor has what appears to be fermentation tanks situated between one of those souvenir stores and a local winery. If you head upstairs from there, you’ll be at Mad Beach Brewing. And it’s pretty easy to assume how cheesy and awful a tourist-area brewery can be.
Mad Beach is the complete opposite of that.
So there’s Downtown Orlando, then there’s the Parramore area of downtown-ish. It’s probably best known for being where Camping World Stadium is located, home of the interestingly popular Orlando City Major League Soccer team.
Just a little farther down Church St., easily within walking distance for soccer fans heading to or from a game, is Broken Cauldron Brewing. The only problem is Broken Cauldron Brewing isn’t actually Broken Cauldron Brewing.