Craft beer has seen an insane spike in popularity over the past decade, and the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Over 150 breweries are proud to call Florida home, and Orlando has no shortage of delicious craft beers and quirky breweries to take in. If you want to turn your upcoming Orlando vacation into one of your Best Vacations Ever, consider making it a beer-cation and sample some delicious brews at the following Orlando craft breweries.
Cask & Larder Brewery –One of your Best Vacations Ever can kick off the moment you step off the plane at Cash & Larder Brewery at the Orlando International Airport. Named one of The Best New Restaurants of 2014 by Esquire Magazine, here you can enjoy fresh shucked oysters and southern-inspired dishes that change seasonally. Make sure to try the 5 Points IPA, the breweries most popular concoction.
Orlando Brewing Company – This highly renowned brewery celebrated its 11th year of certified organic beer brewing this Spring. At Orlando Brewing Company, they take brewing seriously and strictly follow the German Purity Law of 1516, or, the Reinheitsgebot. In a nutshell, this means their beer is brewed with just four ingredients – water, hops, yeast, malted barley – except for four recipes that are seasonally produced each year. Free tours are offered at 6pm, Monday-Saturday, except beer:30 (30th of each month) and beer holidays like Oktoberfest. If trying new things is a priority when you are on one of your Best Vacations Ever, you won’t want to miss out on the Graeme Cracker S’more, an Oatmeal Stout that has 6.8% ABV.
Ocean Sun Brewing – This brewery is still young, having celebrated its first anniversary this past March. Don’t let its age fool you – Ocean Sun holds the top spot for Orlando breweries on Yelp.com. Order food from any of the close by restaurants or bring your own! You can also plan to bring your pooch as dogs are allowed INSIDE at your table! Take a free tour of the brewery and then head over to the 12 taps for a fresh pint to indulge in while you enjoy a game of Cornhole with your crew. Ocean Sun’s Bumby Blonde Ale is the breweries most popular beverage, and AKA Blue Bags IPA is a close second.
Sea Dog Brewery – Sea Dog’s flagship brewery is in Bangor,Maine; however, they operate several satellite breweries throughout Maine, New Hampshire, and Florida. Unfortunately, Sea Dog’s Orlando location doesn’t provide any tours, but that shouldn’t stop you from coming and tasting their award-winning ales. The most popular choice at Sea Dog is the Blueberry Wheat Ale – made with fresh Maine blueberries – that took first place at the 2007 California Brewer’s Festival. Stay and enjoy dinner as the brewery has a full menu offering appetizers, sandwiches, entrees, and a raw bar. If anyone in your group would prefer a glass of wine, Sea Dog offers a decent variety of both reds and whites.
Duff’s Brewery – If experiencing what it’s like to drink like Homer Simpson sounds like one of your Best Vacation’s Ever, then head to Universal Studios to experience the Simpson patriarch’s favorite elixir. Duff’s Brewery is located within Springfield: Home of the Simpsons in Universal Studios, and it’s a must visit for any Simpsons fan. Duff’s offers three choices for you: Duff Beer (lager), Duff Lite (pilsner), and Duff Dry (stout). You won’t find Duff’s anywhere other than Universal, as it’s exclusively brewed by the Florida Brewing Company for this location only.
Redlight Redlight Beer Parlour and Brewery – For over 12 years Redlight Redlight Beer Parlour has been a world-renowned tap house for patrons to enjoy great craft beers from all over. In 2014, they decided to try their hand at brewing their own sour and wild beers, and “Brewery” was added to their name. Step inside and enjoy almost 25 fresh craft beers on tap, craft sodas, and hundreds of bottled beers. Try their Black Morning, a Belgian Sour Stout – it took home Bronze at the Best Florida Beer Competition!
Big River Grille & Brewing Works – If you’re planning on hitting up Disney for one of your Best Vacations Ever, you will want to stop at Big River Grille & Brewing Works. Located on the Disney BoardWalk within the Walt Disney World Resort, this is a place where the whole family can enjoy themselves. The extensive menu has something for children and adults alike, and for those 21 and older there is a full bar. The real centerpiece, however, is the award-winning craft brews at the only working brewpub within the resort. Big River was started in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where its flagship is still in operation. Be sure to try the Iron Horse Stout – a three-time World Beer Cup winner.
Crooked Can Brewing Company – Right outside of Orlando in Winter Park is Crooked Can Brewing Company. This self-proclaimed free-spirited, laid-back brewery has been craft brewing for two years and has had quite a positive impact on the local craft brew movement. The brewmaster at Crooked Can was formerly the head brewer at Big River Grilled & Brewing Works, where he won the awards mentioned above. Be sure to take the brewery tour where you’ll learn about the history, their brewing process, and sample each of their beers, including their most popular American IPA, High Stepper.
Sanford Brewing Company –This is the newest microbrewery on our list, having just opened in October of 2016. Sanford Brewing Company brews eight of its own beers, but it also serves up other brewery’s beer and cider, and its in-house produced craft soda. This is another brewery where you can enjoy a bite to eat with your dog, as pups are welcome in the beer garden. If sipping on a cold American IPA in a stylishly wood-paneled brewery would make your trip to Orlando one of your Best Vacations Ever, get to Sanford Brewing Company and enjoy a pour of their popular Flipa IPA, made with local honey.
Hourglass Brewing – Hourglass Brewing started as a 12-seat capacity brewery five years ago, and today you can enjoy their libations in their taproom that can host up to 240 people. The taproom has a plethora of board games as well as video games available for patrons to entertain themselves while they refuel with one of Hourglass’s popular brews. If you can’t make it to Longwood, later this year at the Orlando Crossings Mall a post-apocalyptic-themed bar is opening that will exclusively serve Hourglass Brewery beers.
These 10 breweries are just a handful of the Central Florida craft brewery scene. Best Vacations Ever seekers could easily make a week-long vacation of traveling from brewery to brewery in Orlando, and if you love craft brew, it’s a great idea, if you have a sober driver to get you around on your beer-hopping adventures. No matter what time of year you visit Orlando, it’s always the perfect time for a great Central Florida craft beer – cheers!