Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Visit Florida Breweries! Drink Florida Beer!

A stellar line-up of local beers.
What makes local beer better?

For starters, freshness. Despite the ongoing trend of aging certain beers for many years to develop flavor, the vast majority of beer brewed tastes best fresh from the brewery. Why? Well, for a couple reasons. For starters, hops -- those gorgeous little buds that make big contributions to the flavor and aroma of beer -- are at their most pungent and distinctive early in a beer's life cycle. A Cigar City Jai Alai IPA would probably lose its tropical/citrus bite left to sit too long. Even a light helles like Native Lager would lose its distinctive fruitiness and grassy balance if drank too far from its bottling date.

That leads to the next factor in freshness: the longer a beer sits on a shelf or in a transport truck, the more two of the most damaging elements to the freshness and quality of beer -- light and oxygen -- have an opportunity to do their dirty work. Even if most craft beer comes in tightly-sealed brown bottles that block much of the degradation, the effects of these environmental factors will come into play over time.

What all this means is beer that has to travel a shorter distance to reach you will taste fresher and more flavorful; plain and simple. And while you might covet that special, rare beer brewed halfway across the country by some rock star craft brewery, chances are there are local companies brewing beer that tastes as good, if not better. After all, we've got a lot of talent in the state!

But flavor isn't the only reason to drink local. In school we were taught that capitalism promotes competition and innovation. New businesses and new breweries means more new ideas for beer -- that's never a bad thing. I bet there were plenty of stuffy, European brewers thumbing their noses at America's beer scene twenty or thirty years ago. Look at what's happened now: American breweries are on the cutting edge of the world's craft beer scene.

But perhaps most importantly, drinking local supports local business and local economy. From brewing, to packaging, to trucking and delivery, a lot of jobs are created by local breweries. And in terms of sales, breweries and other small businesses ancillary to the beer industry can be a huge boon for the local economy. In Colorado, beer culture has had a dramatic impact on the economy of the state -- last year alone, Colorado breweries had an economic impact of over 18.5 billion dollars! Although Florida may still be in the fledgling stages of our own craft beer revolution, it's not impossible to predict that it could support a thriving beer culture similar to Colorado's in the years to come. But for that to happen, Floridians have to start drinking local!

How can you get started drinking local? Well, take a look at some of the events going down during South Florida Beer Week, featured to your left. Every brewery being represented during that week is based in the state of Florida -- this is the freshest local beer you can find! But more importantly, visit a local brewery. There are literally dozens of breweries scattered across our state, from Jacksonville to Miami and everywhere in between. And more are being planned this year.

Check out our list below and plan to visit one or more of these local treasures in the months to come:

South Florida (Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Monroe)

Big Bear Brewing, 1800 University Dr., Coral Springs, FL

Brewzzi, 2222 Glades Rd., Boca Raton, FL and 700 S. Rosemary Ave., West Palm Beach, FL

Due South Brewing (Coming Soon), 2900 High Ridge Rd., Boynton Beach, FL

The Funky Buddha Lounge & Brewery, 2621 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton, FL

Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant, 1201 Brickell Ave., Miami, FL

Gravity Brewbar (coming soon), 2300 NW 2nd Ave., Wynwood, FL

Holy Mackerel Beers, 3804 SW 30th Ave., Fort Lauderdale, FL

Inlet Brewing Co, PO Box 1483, Jupiter, FL

Liquid Bakery Craft Brewery, 4179 Haverhill Rd., West Palm Beach, FL

Native Brewing Co, 212 City View Dr., Ft Lauderdale, FL

Organic Brewery, 290 Broadwalk, Hollywood, FL

Tequesta Brewing Co, 289 S US Hwy. 1, Tequesta, FL

Titanic Brewery, 5813 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables, FL

Central Florida

Big River Grille & Brewing Works, Disney Boardwalk, Lake Buena Vista FL

Charlie & Jakes Brewery & Grille, 6300 N. Wickham Rd., Melbourne, FL

Cigar City Brewing, 3924 W. Spruce St., Tampa, FL

Cocoa Beach Brewing, 150 N. Atlantic Ave., Cocoa Beach, FL

Cold Storage Craft Brewery, 4101 N. Florida Ave., Tampa

Dunedin Brewery, 937 Douglas Ave., Dunedin, FL

Florida Beer Co, 2500 S. Harbour City Dr., Melbourne, FL

Orange Blossom Pilsner LLC, Orlando, FL

Orlando Brewing Partners, 1301 Atlanta Ave., Orlando, FL

Pegs's Cantina & Brewery, 3038 Beach Blvd., Gulfport, FL

Saint Somewhere Brewing, 1441 Savannah Ave., Unit E, Tarpon Springs, FL

Sarasota Brewing Co, 6607 Gateway Ave., Sarasota, FL

Seventh Sun Brewing, 1012 Broadway, Dunedin, FL

Shipyard Emporium, 200 Fairbanks Ave., WinterPark, FL

Tampa Bay Brewing Co, 1600 E. 8th Ave., Tampa, FL

Yuengling Brewing Co, 11111 N. 30th St., Tampa, FL

Little Giant Brewery, PO Box 1018, Anna Maria, FL

North Florida

A1A Ale Works, 1 King St., Saint Augustine, FL

Alligator Brewing Co, 10 SE 2nd Ave., Gainesville, FL

Bold City Brewery, 2670 Rosselle St., Jacksonville, FL

Brewer's Pizza, 14 B Blanding Blvd., Orange Park, FL

Grayton Beer Co, PO Box 611381, Rosemary Beach, FL

Green Room Brewery, 228 3rd St. N., Jacksonville Beach, FL

Intuition Ale Works, 720 King St., Jacksonville, FL

Pensacola Bay Brewery, 225 E. Zaragoza St., Pensacola, FL

Props Craft Brewery, 255 Miracle Strip Pkwy. SE, B-19, Fort Walton Beach, FL

Ragtime Tavern Seafood & Grill, 207 Atlantic Blvd., Atlantic Beach, FL

Seven Bridges Grille & Brewery, 9735 Gate Parkway N., Jacksonville FL

Swamp Head Brewery, 3140 SW 42nd Way, Gainesville FL

Source: Florida Brewers Guild


  1. Thanks for the shout-out, but you spelled our name wrong =)

  2. Sorry about that... fixed. Thanks for reading and bringing it to our attention.

  3. That leads to the next factor in freshness: the longer a beer sits on a shelf or in a transport truck, the more two of the most damaging elements to the freshness and quality of beer
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