If you currently live in Orlando and you like beer, you are currently a much luckier man than I. Since you now have access to beers from Half Barrel Beer Project.
It’s a small boutique brewery and tap room located, of all places, just off International Drive. Seriously. It’s in the attractions area on Universal Blvd., between the Orlando Eye and the semi-retirement community known as Williamsburg. If you know that Walgreens that’s sort of opposite UCF’s Rosen School of Hospitality, Half Barrel is behind them.
I was invited in and welcomed by Half Barrel’s prodigious Marketing Manager Danny Alberto, owner of one of the finest moustaches I have seen in a long time. He described a bit of history about the facility while we had a few of the very good selection of loal beers they had on tap. Owner Scott Kast and his brother Chad (the taproom manager and person tending bar that evening) live in Williamsburg themselves and have been doing the brewing in the garage thing for a while now.
They intentionally wanted to open a bit smaller – just guess how big their brewing system is – and something local to them. The location sort of fell into their lap, and so far, the public response has been good. For a weekday, Half Barrel had a ton of clientele inside. This video will give a good example of what it’s like (until it completely goes off the rails).
The only problem was that they were just finishing fermentation of their first brew when I was there. It wasn’t due to be ready for a week, and they were brewing as a collab with a friend of theirs from out of town. Unfortunately and completely understandable, but I was not able to sample it when I was there. But their brewing is up and running on their nano-brew system, and their website is up to date on what’s on tap.
Plus there’s the taps and nicely-stocked bottle coolers, everything available for on-premises drinking. They even do events, such as the takeover by Vero Beach natives Walking Tree Brewing this Friday, March 23rd.
It’s goofy exactly how excited I am about this brewery opening. It’s an area that has sorely been lacking in breweries, and Half Barrel is getting in at just the right time.
And next time, I will make sure to go when I can try their wares.
Drink Florida Craft,