Florida's Craft Beer

Florida’s Craft Beer Scene: Take a Tasting Tour

Florida’s craft beer scene has been booming in recent years, with new breweries popping up all over the state. As beer enthusiasts ourselves, we decided to embark on a tasting tour to explore some of the best breweries in the area. We were pleasantly surprised by the variety of flavors and styles available, from classic IPAs to unique fruit-infused brews.

One of the best ways to experience Florida’s craft beer culture is by embarking on a tasting tour. These tours offer a glimpse into the brewing process, the stories behind the beers, and a chance to savor a diverse range of flavors. Tampa Bay is home to the biggest craft beer scene in Florida, with more than two dozen breweries and brewpubs to explore. From Cigar City Brewing, which draws on a century of brewing history, to newer breweries like Angry Chair Brewing, which offers a rotating selection of creative and experimental beers, there is something for every beer lover in Tampa Bay.

Whether you’re a local looking to explore your city’s craft beer scene or a visitor to the Sunshine State, a tasting tour is a great way to discover new breweries and expand your palate. So grab a pint and join us on a journey through Florida’s craft beer landscape.

The Rise of Craft Beer in Florida

Craft beer has been on the rise in Florida for several years now, and it shows no signs of slowing down. According to What’s Happening FLA, Florida’s craft beer industry has grown rapidly, with small-town breweries and large-scale craft beer factories popping up all over the state. This growth has turned Florida into a hotspot for beer lovers, attracting both locals and tourists alike.

One of the reasons for the rise of craft beer in Florida is the state’s warm climate, which makes it an ideal location for beer production. With plenty of sunshine and mild winters, Florida provides the perfect environment for growing hops and brewing beer. Additionally, the state’s diverse population has also contributed to the growth of craft beer, as breweries have been able to experiment with new flavors and styles to cater to different tastes.

Florida’s craft beer scene has also been boosted by the state’s relaxed regulations on breweries. According to Forbes, Florida’s laws allow breweries to sell beer directly to consumers, which has encouraged the growth of small, independent breweries. This has led to a thriving craft beer culture in Florida, with many breweries hosting events and festivals throughout the year.

The Art of Craft Beer Making

Florida’s Craft Beer Regions

South Florida

South Florida is home to some of the state’s most popular craft breweries, including Funky Buddha Brewery in Oakland Park and J. Wakefield Brewing in Miami. These breweries are known for their bold, flavorful beers, often made with tropical fruits and other local ingredients.

Central Florida

Central Florida is home to a thriving craft beer scene, with breweries like Cigar City Brewing in Tampa and Crooked Can Brewing Company in Winter Garden leading the way. These breweries are known for their innovative beers, often made with unique ingredients like jalapenos and honey.

If you’re looking to explore Central Florida’s craft beer scene, be sure to try the Jai Alai IPA from Cigar City Brewing, or the McSwagger’s Own Amber Ale from Crooked Can Brewing Company. Both of these beers are full-bodied and packed with flavor.

North Florida

North Florida may not be as well-known for its craft beer scene as other parts of the state, but there are still plenty of great breweries to explore. One of the most popular is Intuition Ale Works in Jacksonville, which is known for its bold, hoppy beers.

If you’re looking for a taste of North Florida’s craft beer scene, be sure to try the People’s Pale Ale from Intuition Ale Works. This beer is crisp, refreshing, and perfect for sipping on a warm summer day.

Celebrated Breweries

If you’re looking to experience the best of Florida’s craft beer scene, you can’t miss a visit to these celebrated breweries.

Cigar City Brewing

Cigar City Brewing is one of the most well-known breweries in Florida, and for good reason. Their flagship beer, Jai Alai IPA, is a must-try for any beer enthusiast. But don’t stop there – they also offer a wide range of other styles, from sour beers to stouts. Their tasting room is a great place to relax and enjoy a pint, and they also offer brewery tours for a behind-the-scenes look at their brewing process.

Funky Buddha Brewery

Funky Buddha Brewery is another must-visit brewery in Florida. They’re known for their creative and unique beer flavors, like their Maple Bacon Coffee Porter and their Sweet Potato Casserole Strong Ale. Their taproom is a fun and lively spot to enjoy a beer with friends, and they also offer brewery tours for a closer look at their brewing process.

Cycle Brewing

Cycle Brewing is a smaller brewery located in St. Petersburg, but they’re making a big impact on Florida’s craft beer scene. They specialize in barrel-aged beers, and their barrel room is a sight to behold. Their taproom is cozy and inviting, and their knowledgeable staff can guide you through their selection of delicious beers.

MIA Beer Company

If you’re looking for a great brewery in South Florida, look no further than the MIA Beer Company. This brewery offers a wide variety of craft beers, including IPAs, stouts, and lagers. One of their most popular beers is the Mega Mix Pale Ale, which is a hoppy and refreshing beer that is perfect for any occasion.

The MIA Beer Company also offers a great atmosphere for beer lovers. Their taproom is spacious and inviting, with plenty of seating and a friendly staff. They also offer tours of their brewery, which is a great way to learn more about the brewing process and see how their beers are made.

Orlando Brewing

Located in the heart of downtown Orlando, Orlando Brewing is one of the city’s oldest and most well-known breweries. They offer a wide variety of beers, from light and refreshing to dark and complex. Their flagship beer, the Organic Blonde Ale, is a must-try for any first-time visitor.

One of the things that sets Orlando Brewing apart is their commitment to using only organic ingredients in their beers. They also have a strong focus on sustainability, using solar power and recycled materials in their brewing process.

Proof Brewing Company

Proof Brewing Company is located in Tallahassee and is known for its unique and flavorful beers. They have a wide selection of beers on tap, including their popular Mango Wit and Eightfive-0 American Pale Ale. If you’re looking for something a bit stronger, try their La La Land Double IPA or their Warpath Imperial Stout.

Proof Brewing Company also offers tours of their facility, where you can learn about the brewing process and sample some of their beers. They also have a taproom where you can relax and enjoy a pint or two with friends.

Aardwolf Brewing Company

Aardwolf Brewing Company is located in Jacksonville and is a must-visit for any beer lover. They offer a wide variety of beers, including their popular Belgian-style beers like the Belgian Pale Ale and the Belgian Dubbel.

Aardwolf Brewing Company also has a great atmosphere, with a spacious taproom and outdoor seating area. They often have food trucks on site, so you can grab a bite to eat while you enjoy your beer.

Brew Bus USA

Brew Bus USA is not just a brewery, but a brewery tour company as well. They offer a variety of tours that take you to different breweries around the Tampa Bay area. You can choose from a public tour or a private tour, and they even offer a brunch tour that includes a stop at a local donut shop.

But Brew Bus USA also has their own brewery, which is located in Tampa. They offer a variety of beers, including their award-winning You’re My Boy Blue blueberry wheat ale. They also have a tasting room where you can sample their beers and take a tour of the brewery.

Florida Beer Company

Florida Beer Company is located in Cape Canaveral, and they offer a unique brewery experience because they are located in an old missile testing facility. They offer tours of the brewery, which includes a look at the old missile silo that has been converted into a fermentation tank.

Florida Beer Company offers a variety of beers, including their Key West Sunset Ale, which is a Belgian-style witbier brewed with orange peel and coriander. They also have a taproom where you can sample their beers and enjoy some food from their food truck.

Notable Craft Beers

When it comes to the Florida craft beer scene, there are many notable beers that are worth trying. Here are a few of our favorites:

Jai Alai IPA

Jai Alai IPA from Cigar City Brewing is a classic Florida beer that has gained a national following. It is a West Coast-style IPA that is brewed with six different hop varietals, giving it a citrusy and piney flavor. It has won numerous awards, including a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival.

Key Lime Pie Gose

Key Lime Pie Gose from Westbrook Brewing is a unique beer that captures the essence of Florida’s famous dessert. It is a tart and salty beer that is brewed with key lime juice, cinnamon, and vanilla. It is a perfect beer for a hot summer day.

Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout

Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout from Cigar City Brewing is a highly sought-after beer that is released once a year during the Hunahpu’s Day festival. It is a complex beer that is brewed with cacao nibs, vanilla beans, cinnamon, and ancho chilies. It has a rich and velvety texture with flavors of chocolate, coffee, and spice.

La Rubia Blonde Ale

La Rubia Blonde Ale from Wynwood Brewing is a light and refreshing beer that is perfect for those who prefer a milder taste. It has a crisp and clean flavor with a hint of sweetness. It is a great beer for pairing with seafood or spicy foods.

These are just a few of the many notable craft beers that can be found in Florida. With so many breweries and styles to choose from, there is something for everyone in the Florida craft beer scene.

Craft Beer Festivals and Events

Craft beer festivals and events are a great way to experience Florida’s vibrant craft beer scene. These events are a celebration of local breweries and their unique flavors. Here are some of the most popular craft beer festivals and events in Florida:

  • Florida Brewers Guild Craft Beer Festival: This annual festival is a must-visit for any beer lover. The festival features unlimited samples of Florida’s best craft beer and a commemorative tasting cup. The event is usually held in March and takes place in Perry Harvey Sr. Park in Tampa.

  • SGI Brewfest: This festival is held annually in April on St. George Island. The event serves craft beer while supporting homeless animals. All proceeds go to caring for cats and dogs at the shelter.

  • Dunedin Celtic Music & Craft Beer Festival: This festival is held in November in Dunedin. The event features live music, food, and of course, craft beer.

  • West Palm Beach Beer Wine & Spirits Fest: This festival is held in December in West Palm Beach. The event features a wide selection of craft beer, wine, and spirits from local and national breweries and distilleries.

Attending these festivals and events is a great way to meet other beer enthusiasts and discover new breweries. We recommend checking out the festival websites for more information on tickets, dates, and participating breweries.

The Future of Florida’s Craft Beer Scene

As we look to the future of Florida’s craft beer scene, we see a lot of potential for growth and innovation. With new breweries opening up all the time, the competition is fierce, but it also drives creativity and experimentation.

One trend we see continuing in the future is the use of local ingredients in craft beer. Florida has an abundance of fresh citrus, berries, and other fruits that can be used to create unique and flavorful beers. We expect to see more breweries incorporating these local ingredients into their brews, creating a truly Floridian taste.

Another trend we see continuing is the rise of sour beers. These tart and refreshing brews have been gaining popularity in recent years, and we expect that trend to continue. As more breweries experiment with sour beers, we may see new and exciting flavor combinations emerge.

We also expect to see more collaboration between breweries in the future. Florida’s craft beer scene is known for its friendly and collaborative atmosphere, and we believe that will continue. By working together, breweries can share ideas and resources, and create even more innovative and delicious beers.

Of course, with any industry, there are challenges to overcome. One challenge facing Florida’s craft beer scene is the issue of distribution. Many small breweries struggle to get their beers into bars and restaurants, which can limit their reach and growth potential. However, we believe that with continued advocacy and support from the community, this challenge can be overcome.