Interstate 75 is a great place to find some quality Florida craft breweries. It’s pretty surprising how close so many locations are to the Interstate, with many being only a minute or two from the nearest exit.
One of those breweries is Corporate Ladder Brewing. It’s located just south of The Interchange between Interstates 75 and 275 in Manatee County. If that doesn’t sound like a major craft beer area, you would be absolutely right.
It’s just north of Bradenton and their three breweries (soon to be more), and on the other side of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge from the explosion of brewing that is St. Pete.
They’re doing quite well for themselves, anchoring one end of a very new and shiny strip mall just off the road. They were the first tenants there, and had to wait for the Mexican restaurant next door to finally show up so patrons didn’t have to wait for food deliveries.
Inside, it seems pretty standard, with the odd exception of a touch of corporate motivational style. Everything is very blueprint-esque, from the artwork on the crowlers to the names and images on their draft board. And those beer names are something that need to be seen to be believed.
For not being in a traditional beer market, they definitely have a traditional beer market crowd, and the people that were there when I visited looked like a healthy dose of regular locals, the best kind of patrons a brewery could have.
They also just celebrated their one year anniversary. If you listen to Episode 18 of the Florida Beer Podcast, I was able to swing by and talk with James Herrholz and Blake Kleppe to learn a little bit more about who they are and what they like to make.
Talking about beer is one thing though, so they were gracious enough to let me try a couple of examples of the beers they have on draft. Going for the lighter end was Paperweight Pilsner (Pilsner, 5.5% ABV), a clean, crisp and dry pilsner with a light molt essence and maybe even a very faint touch of honey.
The other beer they gave me to try was The DOPPELBOCKer (Doppelbock, 8% ABV), obviously a doppelbock, and one they seemed pretty proud of.
And for good reason as well. There is a big meaty body and a deep flavor reminiscent of dark bread touched ever-so-slightly by raison and a little bit of coffee. It was still remarkably easy to drink, and a lot of those flavors wash down much smoother than I had anticipated from other examples of the style I’ve tried.
Clearly they’re doing a lot of good things here, and I am happy to be reviewing the crowler I got from there in a future blog post. In the meantime, if you’re on I-75, just north of Bradenton, you would do well to take a detour and hit up this relatively new Brewery.
It’s only a couple of minutes away.
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