If you went to Orlando and the early 1900s, the theme parks you’re used to thinking of today simply did not exist. What did exist however, was Joyland amusement park.
Starting as a small bathing pavilion on the shores of Lake Ivanhoe in 1910, this amusement park provided visitors with all matters of recreation and even a few rides. It wasn’t exactly Islands of Adventure, but for its day it was a welcome respite from the summer heat for native Orlando ends.
Joyland shuffled off to the great theme park in the sky in 1919, spaceward resided is currently the site of Ivanhoe Park Village, and up-and-coming hip and trendy area of the city and home to some classic businesses like Rock and Roll Heaven.
And now they have their own Brewery. They were going to call it Joyland Brewing, but decided against that since the name could possibly be misconstrued to some other, let’s see every activities. So they named it Ivanhoe Park Brewing, which has been open since October.
The brewery is right on the SunRail line, and the building shakes a little bit when one of the trains goes roaring by. Inside at abundance of space and artful placement of reclaimed wood gives a nice, homey feeling, brightly lit with sunlight pouring in from the gigantic picture windows on almost every side.
I met with several people while I was there, including Taproom Manager/Jedi/Beard Connisseur Marcus Sussman, a recent alumni from Wynwood Brewing and one of the few people I met that remembered my collaboration with Concrete Beach from back in the day.
Head Brewer Aaron Anderson, who has 21 years of professional brewing experience behind him, and his assistant Kaleb McCracken. Oddly enough, this is now the third brewery that I have met Kaleb at, and it seems like he has found a good home brewery to hone his skills.
There’s a 15 bbl system in the back, with several fermenters and plenty of space for expansion. Three of the fermenters are usually full of their core beers and are always on tap. They’re even one of only three Central Florida breweries that can on-site, and those cans are for sale at the brewery and very limited distribution (The best thing about the cans is to look for the number 1910 hidden somewhere, a clear homage to Joyland’s opening. It’s hidden on the artwork on all three cans).
Toboggan (Blonde Ale, 5% ABV) – Joyland had a few rides, one of which was a toboggan slide into the waters of Lake Ivanhoe. This blonde ale is nicely smooth, with a bit of a earthy hoppiness coming from Saaz and Styrian Goldings hops, with a touch of sweetness from honey malt.
Bungalow (Witbier, 4.8% ABV) – Named for the bungalow homes that permeate Downtown Orlando, this classic witbier has a light, wheat-forward body with a good amount of orange flavor. They intentionally went light on the coriander at the end of the boil, keeping the finish light and sweet.
Joyland IPA (IPA, 7% ABV) – A clear homage to Ivanhoe Park’s previous namesake, this IPA is the biggest seller at Ivanhoe Park. There’s a big, fruity kick to this as Aaron used the rather big hop menu of Nugget, Falconer’s Flight, Comet, Cluster and dry hopping with Cashmere and Columbus.
Aaron’s a big fan on non-stereotypical hop varietals, and it was nice to see an IPA without being Citra-forward. What’s even more exciting is that the Cashmere and Comet hops might even be sourced from Florida hop farms in the coming months; we will have to wait and see.
They have quite the sour program going on already. It’s not quite as far as shucking copious amounts of Brett into everything they have, but a number of other different styles that show what they can do. One of these I tried was Guavacation (Berliner Weisse, 3.6% ABV, 4 IBU), a guava Berliner Weisse. It’s amazing, the fresh guava aroma that immediately hits you when you just go in for a nice deep wiff. It’s got a nice, tart kick to it, but you can still get a solid and meaty guava flavor as well. It harmonizes nicely with a crystal clear malt base that is light and very, very smooth.
The other one that I had to try for several reasons was the wonderfully titled Suck It Trebek (Sour IPA, 7% ABV). If you’re not familiar with the phrase, do yourself a good solid favor and look up old Celebrity Jeopardy routines from Saturday Night Live on YouTube. Heck, they even had a Jeopardy winner come down specifically for this beer; there’s a picture of him on Instagram.
As for the style, Aaron had the idea from his native Denver. Suck It is double dry hopped with Loral, Cashmere (A newer style that Aaron loves), and Columbus to help the hops come through over the tartness of the sour base. It’s an interesting style in that the bitterness and the sourness don’t necessarily overpower each other, but serve to slightly take the edge off of each of them.
There’s a lot more coming from Ivanhoe Park as they begin to pick up even more steam. More styles are coming, with plans for some stouts and a Brut IPA, plus the rumblings of a barrel program and so much more. It’s definitely a lot to keep an eye on, and will be exciting to see what happens next.
Even if it’s from a passing train.
Special thank you to Gabrielle Lintz and the staff at Ivanhoe Park Brewing for their incredible hospitality.
Drink Florida Craft,