I Have Failed. The grand goal to visit every brewery in the State of Florida in 2015 was not met. I barely scratched the surface. I realized back in April 2015 that it was not going to happen. I did manage to visit more than I actually documented on this site, but I knew I was not going to make it to all of them. Now with the explosion of new breweries opening in Florida, I wouldn’t even dare to make another goal to visit all of them. But perhaps one day, when I no longer have a ‘day job’ and the home improvement projects slow down , I will once again set out to visit them all in one calendar year. But until that day happens it is back to just enjoying life, one beer at a time.
3 Daughters Brewing was my 12th stop on the 2015 Florida Brewery Tour. 3 Daughters Brewing is located near downtown St. Pete and opened in late 2013. 3 Daughters (3D) has done a good job of getting their beers distributed in quite a few locations. Not only in the Tampa Bay area, but even over here in the Orlando area. I’ve even seen one of their beers at Epcot (Channel Marker Red Ale for those inquisitive types). Everything I’ve tasted from 3D has been good so I was excited that I was finally getting to visit the brewery and tasting room.
Entering in the front door revealed a very nice cozy tasting room. After ordering our beers we explored around a bit and discovered a door that led into the warehouse area where they had a huge sitting and game playing area. Were talking Giant Jenga, Giant Connect 4, checkers, chess, corn hole, darts, ping-pong, foosball, shuffleboard table, and probably a few others that I missed. From the game and seating area in the warehouse you can overlook the tanks that make all this liquid goodness.
My first beer was a dunkelweizen called the Brown Pelican (5.7%). This was the style of beer that I attribute to my beer awakening 30 years ago while on a trip to Germany. This one tasted every bit as good as the one from that small German village.
Since I had a bit of a drive ahead of me, I went with a lower abv for my second beer. Frisky Sour Berliner Weisse (4.5%). Another tasty beer. Tart and refreshing. Perfect for a hot humid Florida afternoon.
While drinking in the back game room I think I finally came up with an explanation for the Tampa Bay Rays attendance problem. 3 Daughters is only about a mile away from Tropicana Field, well within a comfortable walking distance. I bet many fans head to 3D for some pre-game beers and then can never pull themselves away for the walk to the stadium. I know I had a hard time leaving.
3 Daughters Brewing
222 22nd St S
St Petersburg, FL 33712
* And what the heck is up with St. Pete doing this backassward street naming thing. For example, 3D Brewing is located at 222 22nd Street S. , 22nd Street South??? Why not South 22 Street ?. Must drive dyslexiacs crazy.
St. Pete Brewing Company was my 11th stop on the 2015 Florida Brewery Tour. Opening in earlyish 2014, St. Pete Brewing Company is located in the downtown area of St. Pete. By the way, the city should be referred to as St. Pete, not St. Petersburg. Only tourists and politicians call it St. Petersburg. And as something rather unique to Florida breweries, it is not located in an industrial area. Rather it is mixed in amongst other downtown businesses. The retail space the brewery is now located in once was a skate shop, hence the skateboard layout of the beer menu.
After a tasty brunch at a nearby restaurant, we headed over for a beer. Its just one of the reasons I love Sundays so much. A couple of Cajun Bloody Marys with brunch, move a half mile and have some fresh local craft beer. I guess I should say I love Sundays when I have a designated driver. But back to the beer.
They had about a dozen of their beers on tap, covering quite a range of styles. Like a kid in a candy store I had a hard time deciding what I wanted, but ended up getting the Scotch Ale (5.9%). I made a good choice as they made a tasty scotch ale. Our table ordered a pretty wide variety of beers and I sampled just about all of them. All were good. Unfortunately we were under a bit of a time crunch to get back to the other side of the bay so we couldn’t stay as long as I wanted, which really means that I didn’t get a chance to have another beer or two.
The large garage style door makes the brewery and tasting room feel quite open. It felt pretty good on a nice Florida spring day, but I’m not sure how it would feel in the heat and humidity of summer. I guess I’ll have to make another visit later this year to check out the weather. Any excuse to have some more of their beer.
* St. Petersburg was named by one of the main founders of the area in the 1800’s. One was from Detroit, while the other was from St. Petersburg, Russia. Supposedly they flipped a coin to see who would name the city. Just a heads or tails away from being called sunny Detroit.
St. Pete Brewing Company
544 1st Ave North
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Brewery number ten on the 2015 Florida Brewery tour is the Florida Beer Company in Cape Canaveral FL. The Florida Beer Company started as the Indian River Brewing Company in 1996 which makes it one of the older craft breweries in Florida. And in terms of production it is one of the largest in the state of Florida. In 2014, the Florida Beer Company opened a large tasting room at its brewery just a couple of miles from the busy cruise ship terminals in Port Canaveral. Port Canaveral is the third busiest cruise ship port in the world. Which begs the question, why aren’t there more Florida Beer Company products on the cruise ships ? Oh well, more for me on land I guess.
The Hoppy Girl and I stopped by recently while on our way to the Belgian Beer Fest at Coasters in Melbourne. The first thought that crossed my mind was how large the tasting room was. A very large circular bar in the center of the room with quite a few tables near the large observation windows looking into the brewery. The walls were painted in several large marine life murals. A real under the sea feel. For my first beer I went with the Scottish Ale (6.5%). I’ve had quite a few beers from the Florida Beer Company but had never even seen this one before. The beer itself had nice flavors, but I thought it was just a bit ‘thin’. It still tasted good, but I was expecting a bit more fullness to the beer. My second beer was a pumpkin beer called Gourd Shorts (6.2%). Lots of surfing in the area hence the play on the term board shorts. This one was really good. Nice pumpkin flavor, without being too sweet or too spicy (as in pumpkin pie spicy not hot pepper spicy!). I would get this one again in a heartbeat. I also sampled both of Jill’s beers, Devils Triangle IPA (6.66%….ha, 666..Devils Triangle…nice) and Gaspar’s Porter (6.1%). All four of the beers I tried were good and I would order any of them again. Gourd Shorts was my favorite .
If you’ve been to Universal Studios (Orlando) Springfield area and had a ‘Duff Beer’, then you’ve had a Florida Beer Company beer. I’ve not had a Duff Beer so don’t know how it tastes. I’m just glad that didn’t release a blended Duff Beer and a Gourd Shorts. Duffs Shorts just doesn’t have a good ring to it..
*Florida history factoid: The name Cape Canaveral comes from the Spanish Cabo Cañaveral, which means the cape of reed beds.
Florida Beer Company
200 Imperial Blvd
Cape Canaveral, Florida, 32920
I don’t usually post about upcoming beer events but one is happening this weekend (March 6, 7, and 8) that is one of my all time favorites. In fact when people ask me what my favorite beer event of the year is, I always mention Coasters Belgian Beer Fest. This is the sixth year that Coasters has had the fest and I’ve been to the previous five. Heck I even remember a few of them.
First some information. Coasters Pub is located off A1A in Melbourne Beach. I would call it a beer bar/sports bar/gastro pub. They have really good food and a great selection of beer (35 taps). For one weekend a year they change all of their taps to different Belgian beers. Most are from Belgium, but occasionally there are some ‘Belgian style’ beers brewed by non Belgian breweries (for example Ommegang or Unibroue).
Now the words ‘beer fest’ usually throw people off. They picture standing in lines under white tents while drinking 2 oz beer samples for three hours. This ain’t one of those fests. I would call it more of a Belgian Beer Appreciation Weekend. Your not standing around in a parking lot or in a field, instead your sitting in the pub or biergarten enjoying a wine glass size pour of Belgian beer. Its your chance to try different Belgian beers that we usually don’t see on draught (at least here in Florida). Add in some great Belgian inspired food (cheese, chocolate, pomme frites, etc) and you’ve got the makings of a wonderful afternoon or evening. And since they open at 11AM on Saturday you could have a wonderful morning as well. Plus it runs three days .
We travel over from the Orlando area, get a room at either the nearby Radisson or Hilton (both on the beach), and walk to and from Coasters. Its like a beer vacation to Belgium, without the security lines.
Here is a list of 10 things I really enjoy about this event:
1. The Belgian beer.
2. The biergarten. This really opened things up when they added it a few years ago.
3. No cost for the event. Just pay for what you eat and drink.
4. The food.
5. Great hotels on the beach within a 5 minute walk. No one has to be the designated driver.
6. Friendly and efficient staff.
7. People who drink Belgian beer are more fun and friendly. I have no scientific evidence for this of course, but I’m sure its true.
8. Spring time weather in Florida. In a biergarten. With beer. Need I say more.
9. In case #8 isn’t that good, there is a nice sized ‘inside’ to enjoy the beer and food.
10. The Beer.
Disclaimer: I’m not on the payroll of Coasters Pub, the Radisson, or the Hilton. In other words I pay my way and have not received any freebies. That being said, with some light arm twisting I will accept a free beer or hotel room :).
Visit Coasters web site for more details : http://www.coastersbrewpub.com/
Following is the preliminary lineup of Belgian beers for the 2015 Coasters Belgian Beer Fest. Note that not all are available at once. As one runs out they will replace it with another from the list.
Abbey de St Bon Chein, Champagne barreled
Bink Hop Verdomme
Blanche De Brussels
Blauges De Moneuse Special Winter
Bradderie de Vapeur La Potironne
Brouwerij Drie Fonteinen Zwet.Be
Brugges Zot Dubble
De Dolle Oerbier
De Dolle Stille Nacht
De Proef Draekenier
De Ranke XX Bitter
Duchesse De Bourgogne
Dupont Triomfbier Vooruit
Gouden Carolus Hopsinjoor
Ichigems Grand Cru
La Rulles Cuvee Meilleurs Voeux
Lost Coast 25th Anny Belgian Ale
Mort Subdit Blanche Lambic
Palm Amber Ale
Piraat Belgian Ale
Piraat Triple Hop
Saison D’erpe Mere 2013
Slapmutske Organic Triple
St . Bernardus Abt 12
St Bernardus Extra 4
St. Bernardus Christmas Ale
St. Bernardus Prior 8
Struisse Black Mes
Struisse Cuvee Delphine
Struisse St Amatus
Struisse XXX 2013
Timmerman Strawberry Lambic
Val Dieu Christmas
Val Dieu Triple
Vapeur Cochonne 2012
Brewery nine on the 2015 Florida Brewery tour is the Point Ybel Brewing Company. Point Ybel Brewing opened in late 2013 and is located in Ft. Myers, FL. The name Point Ybel refers to the eastern point of nearby Sanibel island, named amazingly enough, Point Ybel. There is a lighthouse on Point Ybel which is the first lighthouse on the Florida Gulf coast north of Key West. The ‘Ybel’ part is from the old name of Sanybel which is what the island used to be named.
Florida geography class is now over, on to the beer. The Hoppy Girl, Party Mary, and myself dropped by on a recent Saturday afternoon. I believe they had 6 or 7 of their beers on tap. I would verify that with a photo of the menu had I actually taken a photo of the menu. This brewery visit business is a lot of work and other than the beer drinking I’m always forgetting important tasks. Anyway, while I don’t know exactly how many of their beers they had on draught, I do know what we ended up drinking. I had the Black Mangrove (8.5%) an American Dark Ale. The 8.5% was pretty well hidden under the roasty taste. I would get this again. The Hoppy Girl ended up getting the Snook Bite IPA (7.2%) which she found enjoyable, while Party Mary went with the Sanibel Island Red (5.6%). I sampled both the IPA and the red and found them tasty. But I still enjoyed my Black Mangrove more.
Unfortunately our schedule didn’t allow us anymore time at Point Ybel Brewing so I couldn’t try any of their other beers (what ever number they had).
Point Ybel Brewing
16120 San Carlos Blvd #4
Ft. Myers, FL 33908
Brewery eight on the 2015 Florida Brewery tour is Old Soul Brewing. Old Soul Brewing opened in late 2014 and is located in Ft. Myers, FL. I have no idea what the brewery is named for, but I can relate to it. Some days more than others.
Jill and I had a guest with us for this brewery stop, Mary (Jill’s mom). Everybody needs a beer name when they join the brewery tour, so Mary is now known as Party Mary. She wears the name, along with the food and drink on her clothes, well.
But enough of this non beer talk, lets get to the good stuff. Old Soul had 6 taps of their beer (and a few guest taps) when we dropped by on an early Saturday afternoon. Until you’ve been there once the brewery can be a bit challenging to find. Our phone mapping app had us all around the place but it never quite took us to the front door. Finally we hit pay dirt and spotted the sign. Old Soul’s website has some better directions so take a look at those before attempting the journey. You’ve been warned. But now that we finally made it to the tasting room I went with a brown ale officially named Chai! How are You ? (7.1%). I can’t think of another beer whose name has two punctuation marks in the name. The brewery staff commented that it was probably the most popular. Completely understandable as I enjoyed every drop. For my second beer I went in a completely different beer direction and went with a gose. The official name is Salty Walther (3.9%), which in itself is a great play on words. A very nice, refreshing gose. I could see myself drinking a few of these on a hot day. Or a cool day. Okay, I guess any day.
Old Soul Brewing has quite a large tasting room and would be a fun place to drink good beer and listen to some local music. One of the unique things about the tasting room is the wooden bar top. As I understand it, the wood came from a bowling alley. I think it may have been lane 37 as I spotted a large indention where I dropped my ball one night. And in some strange way, it felt really comfortable drinking my beer that close to the wood from a bowling lane. After all , I’ve done some of my best drinking close to a gutter.
Old Soul Brewing
10970 South Cleveland Avenue,
Fort Myers, FL 33907
Brewery seven on the 2015 Florida Brewery tour is Fat Point Brewing. Fat Point Brewing opened in early 2015 and is located in Punta Gorda FL. I must admit that at first I didn’t make the connection between the name of the brewery and the location. I just figured the name held some significance to the owners. But while sitting in the tasting room sipping a Fat Point brew, I finally figured it out. Which just goes to show you that good beer can help get the mind working.
Jill and I visited just a couple of weeks after their grand opening and everything, from the parking lot to the stainless steel inside, looked brand new. Outside, in a very nice looking ‘beer garden’ (complete with a bocce ball area) , the wooden Adirondack chairs didn’t even look weathered. Right now Fat Point has been nominated for the beachiest looking beer garden. I really like the wooden ‘shelves’ around the palm trees to place your beer.
Fat Point had about 6-7 taps of their own beer when we visited. A pretty wide range in styles so everyone should be able to find something to suit their tastes. I went with the Chorange Stout (5.2%), while Jill selected the Jimmy Hoppa (9.2%), a double IPA. Told you she is a hophead. The Chorange Stout is a milk stout with cocoa nibs and orange peel added. I couldn’t really taste the cocoa or orange but I was also just getting over allergy issues which meant I still had lots of congestion so I’m not blaming the beer. Jill, who was not fighting allergies, found the Jimmy Hoppa full of hop goodness. And I love the name of that beer, Jimmy Hoppa. Hopefully they will make this in large quantities so it will be easier to find. I can already imagine calling my favorite beer store and asking if they have, or have seen, Jimmy Hoppa.
*The name “Punta Gorda” has been on maps at least since 1851, referring to a point of land that juts into Charlotte Harbor, an estuary off the Gulf of Mexico. In English it means Point Fat, or Fat Point. However, the settlement wasn’t always called that. In 1884 the area was settled by Colonel Isaac Trabue and the ensuing settlement was named the Town of Trabue. Trabue got into a bit of trouble with the locals (trabue trouble..kinda of catchy) and when the town was officially incorporated in 1887 the name was changed back to the name that most people called the area, Punta Gorda. So for you folks keeping track at home, Daytona was named to honor their founding businessman, while Punta Gorda was renamed to not honor their founding father. Oh those fickled Floridians of the 1800s.
In 1905 most of downtown Punta Gorda was destroyed by a fire. In 2004, Punta Gorda was extensively damaged by Hurricane Charley. Seems like every 99 years something bad happens. Keep an eye out for 2103.
Fat Point Brewing
611 Charlotte St
Punta Gorda, FL 33950
Brewery six on the 2015 Florida Brewery tour is the Daytona Beach Brewing Company. Daytona Beach Brewing opened in 2014 and is located, wait for it, in a light industrial warehouse area (blame zoning laws). It is located on the mainland side of Daytona Beach and is only a couple of miles from the Daytona International Speedway. It was night when we visited and the place was a bit hard to find, but finally we just looked for a warehouse with some cars in front of it and that turned out to be it.
When we visited a good size crowd was inside enjoying some Florida craft beer. They had 11 taps with 7 of them being brewed by Daytona Beach Brewing. I went for the Daytona Red (5.3%) while Jill ordered the Psamathe IPA (5.8%) Both beers were good but the IPA seemed to have a bit more body. We noticed the Imperial Belgian Stout (9.2%) on the blackboard and asked for a sample taste. I’m a sucker for a good imperial stout but I still had a hour and a half drive home so didn’t want to have a whole glass. The 9.2% was very well hidden. In fact I commented that I didn’t taste that much alcohol. The girl behind the bar must have thought I was ‘dissing the beer as she went and talked to the owner/brewer. A few minutes later the owner (and brewer) Alan (Fawcett) came over and we had a nice chat with him about not only the Imperial Belgian Stout but other beery things as well. One of the nice things about this brewery tour is meeting some of the people behind all of this tasty craft beer. We are pretty low key beer folks and don’t do much announcing of our journeys, either before the visit, or while we are there, but we do enjoy these face to face (and mouth to beer) meetings.
Next time I hope I have a driver so I can have a whole glass of the Imperial Belgian Stout. Heck if I have a driver I’ll have two. It tasted gooooooood.
*Daytona (and Daytona Beach) got its name from an early business man Mathias Day, Jr. In 1871, Day built a hotel on the west side of the nearby Halifax River. It went out of business in 1872 (bad reviews on Trip Advisor ???) and Day lost the title to the land. However when the area was incorporated in 1876, the residents named the new city Daytona to honor Day. Thankfully they didn’t pick Dayville or Mathiastown or something like that.
**Bonus information tidbit. The aforementioned Psamathe IPA is named for Psamathe, the Nerid goddess of sand beaches. The named literally means “Sand Goddess” .
Daytona Beach Brewing Company
482 Fentress Blvd Unit N
Daytona Beach , FL 32114
Brewery stop number five took place a few miles and a few minutes from the previous brewery stop, Ormond Brewing Company. Tomoka Brewery is also located in Ormond Beach, or as we learned in the previous post “Ormond we don’t need no stinkin’ food trucks Beach“. This works out quite well for the Tomoka Brewery as they serve some delicious food in addition to their tasty beer.
Tomoka Brewery opened in 2013 and is located on Granada Blvd, just a block or two from the intersection of A1A and Granada . Nice location close to the beach (and NOT in a warehouse district!) Based on the bottle cap mural on the wall, I am assuming that the Tomoka Brewery is named after the nearby Tomoka River. The Tomoka River is named for the indigenous Northeast Florida Indian tribe, the Timucua. Early Spanish and French explorers couldn’t pronounce Timucua, so the name became Tomoka. And as a little bar bet, the Tomoka River is one of two north flowing rivers that go through (or touch) Volusia County, the St. Johns River being the second.
But on to the beer and food! When we were at the brewery, they had 3 or 4 of their own beers on tap with a few other guest taps available. I thought I took a picture of the chalkboard beer lineup but I was too busy having a good time with The Hoppy Girl, some of the other guests, and the employees behind the bar. Nice warm friendly atmosphere. The first beer I had was a Kumquat Sour (4.5%) which was really a nice balance of sourness to fruitiness. In my untrained mouth, it had just the right ‘puckerage’. The second beer I had was Jen’s Gin Saison (7.2%). I’m hit or miss on saison styles. Some of them are fine, while others are a one and done. My initial tastes were that this was going to be on my don’t have again list, but by the end of the glass it was better. I would have both of them again but the Kumquat Sour was my favorite.
Tomoka Brewery is licensed as a Brewpub so they also have food available. For this visit we ordered the cheese plate as we needed something to eat but didn’t want to get too full. On a previous visit we had one of the specialty pizzas and I can say that it was delicious. But we weren’t looking for quite that much food so the cheese plate turned out to be perfect. A couple of cheese varieties, crackers, fruit, nuts, and some pickled goodies. It was just the right amount for the two of us. Though next time, pile some more of those pickled goodies on there!
Within the last few days, Tomoka Brewery has opened a second location in Pt. Orange FL (a few miles south of Ormond Beach). I will be stopping at that location in the coming weeks.
*Tomoka State Park is located nearby on the Tomoka River. Within the park there is a large statue of a Tomoka Chief named Chief Tomokie. I had seen this statue years ago and had always assumed that the park and river (and now brewery) were named for this Chief Tomokie. But while researching this story (ha, drinking beer and eating is now research!) I discovered that the statue depicts an entirely fictional Indian chief. In other words there never was a Chief Tomokie. I guess it was all just a jokie.
188 E. Granada Blvd.
Ormond Beach, FL 32176