Brewery Visit – Crooked Can @crookedcan

​One of the best little places to go in central Florida is historic downtown Winter Garden. 

It’s well off the beaten path, at least 30 minutes away from the nearest theme park and awfully close to Lake County. It’s delightfully quaint, lined with huge trees, local businesses, and the West Orange Trail cutting right through the middle. I used to ride that trail for hours in my triathlon days. 

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Brewery Visit – New Smyrna Beach Brewing @nsbbrewing

​Some days I research and plan a visit to a brewery, and some days they just fall into your lap. 

Driving down from North Florida, my wife and I decided to stop at Yellow Dog Eats in historic downtown New Smyrna Beach. It’s really cute downtown, and ordinarily this is where the story would end. But here’s where we parked our car: 

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Brewery Visit – RedFrog Pub and Brewery aboard Carnival Vista @carnival

​The cruise line industry is starting to embrace the craft beer revolution. Slowly, but inroads are starting to be made. It’s not hard to find ships leaving the state stocked with beers from Concrete Beach Brewing, Wynwood Brewing, and more.  

Carnival raised the stakes, however, by installing a shipboard brewery aboard their newest liner, the Carnival Vista. 

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Brewery Visit – Islamorada Beer Co., Ft. Pierce @islamoradabeer

​Many, many months ago, I reviewed Islamorada Beer Company’s signature Sandbar Sunday. In that article, I referenced another Florida Keys-based article, written by someone decrying the fact that Islamorada Beer Company’s products were contract brewed out-of-state. 

That article can be deleted now, thank you. Islamorada just opened their new 25,000 sq. ft. facility in Ft. Pierce, close to the Treasure Coast International Airport. 

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Brewery Visit – Naples Beach Brewery @naplesbeachbrew

​Who knew a degree in Turfgrass Management could taste so good?

Yep, that’s how a trip to Naples Beach Brewery starts. With managing one of the many golf courses in Southwest Florida. 

That trip began for Naples Beach Brewery’s Will Lawson in 2003 when he moved to Naples with the aforementioned degree to work on the aforementioned golf courses. Disappointed with the region’s lack of quality beer choices (at the time), will decided to expand his beer education by way of Chicago, Munich, and Ann Arbor, returning to Naples in 2007. 
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Adding Head Brewer Mike Conley and finding a location not too far from the connection between I-75 and Alligator Alley, Naples Beach Brewery opened in November of 2012. 

Once you’re able to find the location, nicely hidden in the dead center of a small Naples industrial park, you’ll be good to go for a quaint tap house with quite the impressive tap list. 

On one side is their 15 BBL system, steam heated, churning out a huge variety of beers on tap at the adjacent tiki hut-themed row of taps. A few beers are starting to be canned & bottled, but most of what NBB has is only available on draft (and growlers, of course). 

Keep in mind, our samples tended to be a little on the dark side, especially since they just released their impressive fall lineup of pumpkin porters. Here’s what we had:

Classic Cubano (Blonde Ale, 5.0% ABV) – Blonde ale with coffee and vanilla. The adjuncts weigh the beer down more than the light malts bring it up, making for a slightly visually deceptive drink. But the vanilla is king here, and lends to be a wonderful sweetness to the beer. 

White Chocolate Pumpkin Porter (Porter, 6.2% ABV) – Very strong in the white chocolatey flavors, with a moderate pumpkin flavor in the background. I would not be shocked at all if lactose made an appearance here, too. 

Keewaydin Crusher (Cream Ale, 4.3% ABV, 10 IBU) – This is named for Keewaydin island, a pristine and undeveloped barrier island just off the coast of Naples. The beer is a simple and unassuming as the island, clean and crisp. 

Key Lime Dropper (Strong Ale, 9% ABV) – This is a variation of Line Dropper, their mango ginger Strong Ale.it definitely is strong, with a big heady feel from the high ABV and a light tartness from fresh key limes. 

Peanut Butter Cup (Stout, 5.8% ABV) – Yes. Very much so, and served on Nitro, no less. A big peanut butter flavor, although slightly sour in  the aftertaste.  

Boogie Gourd (Porter, 6.2% ABV, 26 IBU) – This is their basic pumpkin porter this year. It’s also the first pumpkin porter I’ve had with lactose. Simple, with equal qualities of pumpkin and spice. Very flavorful, and I would love to have tried this on nitro as well. 

Smoked Pumpkin Porter (Porter, 7.9% ABV) – The pumpkin spice is not prevalent here. Instead, you get a moderate smokiness of a rauchbier with the light meatiness from the gourd. Interesting, flavorful, and would go very well with similarly smoked foods. 

Pumpkin Latte (Porter, 6.2% ABV) – Just as easy to imagine as you might think. Good, strong flavors of coffee and spice with a creamy body. 

Triple C (Stout, 5.8% ABV) – Those three C’s are Coconut, Coffee, and Cream. It’s strong, however, and the coconut takes a light backseat to a strong, but never bitter, coffee flavor.  

They’re not open every day, but when they are, there’s a food truck on premises. When we went, the food truck was an awesome BBQ & brick oven pizza truck whose crusts were made with spent grain from Naples Beach Brewing. Really, incredibly good. 

I brought home a little NBB with me, and I’ll be enjoying that soon. In the meantime, there were some really good beers to look back on and hopefully enjoy again in the near future. 

Even if I don’t have a degree in Turfgrass Management. 

Drink Florida Craft, 

Dave

@floridabeerblog

Floridabeerblog@gmail.com

Floridacraftbeerday.com 

Brewery Visit – Cigar City Cider and Mead @cigarcitycider

​Ybor City is Tampa’s historic district, and where a fair amount of their cultural identity is located. It’s crawling with little plazas, nightclubs, and plenty of cigar bars that harken to its heydays as a major cigar manufacturing hub. 

Over on the west side, on the cobblestones south of I-4, lies the tap room and experimental brewing facility for one of Cigar City’s lesser known yet rapidly growing side ventures, Cigar City Cider and Mead.  

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Brewery Visit – 7venth Sun @7venthsunbeer

​I have to apologize to 7venth Sun in Dunedin. It took me way too long to publish my visit to them, and the odds that any of these beers are still on tap is quite slim, indeed. 

The brewery has been open since 2012, and co-owners, brewmasters, and really nice people Devon Kreps & Justin Stange got their brewing chops honed at places like Sweetwater in Atlanta, Cigar City, and the massive St. Louis brewing conglomerate that shall not be named. 

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The 7venth Sun facility is a far cry from the size of those megabrewers. Situated about two blocks away from Dunedin Brewery, 7venth Sun is about the size of a gas station, and that feels just perfect for them. They have a 4.5 BBL system in their cozy digs, and quite the wide variety of inventive beers. A little heavy on the IPAs, and they give a lot of importance with the varieties of hops used as they’re always readily identifiable. 

Like I said, this article was written some time ago, and I can’t guarantee these beers are on tap (7venth Sun’s website has a current draft list, BW). Instead, take a look at this flight as more of a good sampling of the things you can expect when you go. 

From left to right:

Corpse Reviver (Berliner Weisse, 3.8%ABV) – This gin barrel-aged berliner has a nice, tangy body with a soft boozy gin character that isn’t too heavy. 

Graffiti Orange Creamsicle Wheat (Hefeweizen, 5.9% ABV) – This was fantastic. The aroma of the beer is resplendent with gargantuan aromas of orange and vanilla. Those also continue right into the flavor, and it’s lightly sweet, meaty, and incredibly delicious. 

Beware of Mr. Stange (Wild Ale, 10% ABV) – It’s listed as a Rum Barrel-aged Mangrove, which is one of their Double IPAs. It sure doesn’t drink like an IPA, though. It’s sweet, with giant notes of rum on the nose and a big, boozy flavor that is rich with heavy caramel flavors. 

Kitty Likes the Milk (Milk Stout, 6.4% ABV) – I do so love chocolate milk stouts. This is a great one, with a sweet, malty aroma that blends into a wonderfully creamy mouthfeel and flavor.

7venth Sun definitely makes a beer and has a reputation that far exceeds the physical constraints of their location. It’s worth a drive, and it’s also in a pretty good location to a lot of other great Florida breweries. 

Just don’t take too long to talk about them. 

Drink Florida Craft,

Dave

@floridabeerblog

Floridabeerblog@gmail.com

Floridacraftbeerday.com

Brewery Visit – Stilt House Brewery @stilthousebrew

Two words: disco lights.

Sure, craft beer, Tampa Bay area, nice people, awesome logo, tasty blah blah blah disco lights.

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Before we get to Studio 54, we talk about how Palm Harbor’s Stilt House Brewery is opened in November of 2015 by three friends; Jeff Domb, Sam Price, and Sean Greelish. Naturally, all of them were long-time homebrewers, and Sam happened to have 100k laying around he wanted to use to open a brewery.

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