Brews with a View: Where to Sip a Craft Beer by the Water in Florida

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When you’re seeking an excellent craft beer the sensation you’re going for is, of course, taste. Not a visual. We’re thinking that’s why most brewpubs are dark and intimate as if you’re hiding from the world while turning inward, eyes closed, sipping that delicious hoppy and bitter, or malty and roasted, cold brew…

But this is Florida. And Florida is one of the top 3 states for sunny days per year – 266 in Fort Myers (would you have guessed Fort Myers to be the sunniest?) only beat by Bishop, CA – 290, and Yumma, AZ , with 313. Do you really want to hole up in a cavernous, industrial space on a chilly metal bar stool? Picture yourself instead, partially reclining in a cozy couch-like chair, sun warming your skin, the breeze coming off the water just steps away…

We’ve rounded up a list of craft breweries in Coastal Florida where you can enjoy your brew and a view. A number of impressive micro breweries are located a block or two from the water, and we’ll list those for you, too. Because, for us and all of our fellow imbibers, Happy Hour can be anywhere we choose (it’s often on our Ikea couch) but Zac Brown Band has something with “Only worry in the world is the tide going to reach my chair.”

 

RIVER CITY BREWING COMPANY – JACKSONVILLE

835 Museum Circle

Jacksonville, FL  32207

904-398-2299

The Brew House Lounge is open Mon-Thurs 3 -10 pm, Fri 3 pm-12 midnight, Sat 11:30 am-12 midnight, Sun 10:30 am-4 pm

Happy Hour Monday through Friday, 3-7 pm

Photo courtesy of Explore A1A, www.explorea1a.com

  • BREWSJag Light, perfect for light beer drinkers; Jackson Pale Ale, medium bodied with generous hops; Red Rooster Ale, mild sweet malt and bitter hops; Kentucky Bourbon, full bodied, sweet ale with oak wood soaked in Bourbon and then added straight to the brew; Grand Raspberry Wheat (seasonal), smooth yet sweet wheat beer; The Nutty Floridian Pecan Brown Ale (seasonal), mildly bitter brown ale balanced with sweetness of complex malts, toasted pecans and spicy, citrusy hops; Laughing Lizard Lager (seasonal) , an American lager brewed and fermented in the traditional lagering style resulting in a crisp and refreshing beer.
  • THE VIEW:  Brew House Lounge features stunning views of the St. John’s river, the Jacksonville city skyline and the River City Marina.
  • MENU:  The Brew House Lounge has a separate menu from the full-service restaurant with interesting appetizers – try the Paprika Grilled Shrimp – soups and salads, burgers, wraps, sandwiches, jambalaya, salmon, and vegetarian options like the Chickpea Burger. Inventive sides such as the Smoked Gouda Grits and Proscuitto Braised Lentils elevate the offerings beyond brew pub food.

 

 

A1A ALE WORKS RESTAURANT AND TAPROOM – ST. AUGUSTINE

1 King St.

St. Augustine, FL  32084

904-829-2977

Open Mon-Thurs 11 am-11:30 pm, Fri & Sat 11 am-1 am, Sun 11 am-11:30 pm

Happy Hour daily 4-7 pm

Photo, left, courtesy of Explore A1A        Photo, right, courtesy of Mr. TinDC, flickr

  • BREWS:  Hoppy and bitter:  Aardwolf Nonchalant, Sierra Nevada Tropical Torpedo, Bell’s Two Hearted, Sweetwater 420Malty and roasted:  Swamp Head Midnight Oil, Cigar City Maduro, Guiness Irish Stout. Balanced:  Ancient City Matanzas River Red, Yuegling Traditional Lager, Samuel Adams Boston Lager. Easy Drinking:  Victory Prima Pils, Blue Moon Belgian White, Angry Orchard Crisp Apple Cider, Stella Artois, Founders Nitro Rubaeus. Ask about their selection of U.S. classic beers in a bottle. A1A Aleworks also has a vast menu of wine, Handcrafted Cocktails, Beachside Cocktails, Cityside Cocktails and spirits.
  • THE VIEW: Sit outside on the upstairs balcony for views across the street of the Mantanza Bay and the Bridge of Lions.
  • MENU: A1A Ale Works offers up a large variety of choices from starters – try the Caprese & Pesto Risotto Tots – soups, salads, sandwiches, seafood and steaks, and creative house specialties like the Key Lime Shrimp & Lobster.

 

PAREIDOLIA BREWING COMPANY – SEBASTIAN

River Park Plaza, 482 U.S. Hwy. 1

Sebastian, FL

772-584-0331

Open Tues-Thurs 1-10 pm, Fri Sat 1-11pm, Sun 1-6 pm

A big storm was brewing the day we visited, but that didn’t take away from our enjoyment of the brews, view, and menu

“Pareidolia” is “the imagined perception of a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist, as in considering the moon to have human features.”  (dictionary.com.) The Pareidolia Brewing Company encourages patrons to find and photograph this kind of circumstance and they’ll feature the pics on their website.

  • BREWS: Big Face Double IPA, slightly sweet with a definitive hop bite; It’ll Pass IPA (as in, here in Florida, the rain), a slight hop punch with lots of hop flavor from Amarillo, Summit and Cascade hops; Hop Trunk IPA, made with Cascade hops grown here in FL; Low Hum Cream Ale, light, refreshing and slightly sweet for those who prefer lighter styles; Rippin Red Rye IPA, easy-drinking hop blend with a smooth red ale flavor and delightful rye kick; Tut Tut Grapefruit IPA, lightly bittered with a mild grapefruit finish; Crush Time Belgian Strong Ale, a very limited release brewed with crushed grape skins used to make wine at Summer Crush Winery (yay, another local Florida company!) this sweet, malt forward strong ale also has Belgian Candy Syrup and Abbey yeast.
  • THE VIEW:  While the view from their Beer Garden is across a parking lot, Sebastian’s Riverview Park and Riverwalk showcase the vast Indian River, bustling boating activity, and the many intriguing spoil islands dotting the water way. One such island is slightly north –  Grant Farm Island – the only populated island in the area not connected to the mainland by a bridge.
  • MENU: Pareidolia’s kitchen opens at 5:30 Tues-Fri and 1 pm Sat & Sun serving dips and snacks – try the Crab E Bill’s Smoked Fish Dip (from locally owned Crab E Bill’s Seafood Market and Eatery located just down the street), Crock A Chili or Beer Cheese Dip. Choose from four different Pareidolia Pretzels like the Cheddar Jack & Jalapeno Pretzel, or Paninis,  or Big Dogs (the Bacon Cheddar Dog was calling our name…)

 

 

HOLLYWOOD BREWING COMPANY – HOLLYWOOD

290 N. Broadwalk

Hollywood, FL  33319

305-414-4757

Open Sun-Thurs 11:30 am-12 pm, Fri & Sat 11:30 am- 1 am

Photo courtesy of Phillip Pessar, flickr

  • THE BREWS:  Hollywood Pilsner, Citra and Saaz noble hops give a bright lemon zest and a clean aromatic finish, while the combination of pilsner brewing techniques and Biscuit malts give it its slight amber color; Hollywood Stout, a complex flavor profile of cola, fig and dried fruit with a strong alcohol content that warms and compliments the background of hops; Mango IPA, a blend of American 2-row and Vienna malts give a deep copper appearance with a slight tropical fruit and piney resinous aroma and late additins of Citra and Cascade hops; Hollywood Pale Ale, American 2-row malt and European grains along with late kettle additions of Amarillo, El Dorodo and Cascade hops for a overall refreshing brew; Hollywood Bavarian Wheat, big banana and spice aroma with a clean and creamy body full of flavor yet light and dry on the finish; Hollywood Amber Lager, biscuit malts and a classic European hop profile give this lager a balanced body with a slight floral accent.
  • THE VIEW:  Located directly overlooking the Hollywood Broadwalk and the beach, you’ll feel and smell the ocean breezes while enjoying the parade of sun- and fun! – seekers.
  • THE MENU:  The Hollywood Brewing Company goes beyond pub grub with a large variety of choices including appetizers such as their Avocado Egg Roll, soups, salads, pizzas – try The Brewmaster , entrees that include Whole Red Snapper and Grilled Kabobs, and craft burgers. Wine is also available or choose from their full bar.

 

THE WATERFRONT BREWERY – KEY WEST

201 William St.

Key West, FL  33040

305-440-2270

Open 365 days a year, 11 am-late

Happy Hour daily 4 pm-6:30 pm

Photo courtesy of Jenni Konrad, flickr

  • THE BREWS: A rotating selection of beers are brewed right at The Waterfront Brewery, and the list is subject to availability. Check their On Tap Today page. Key Lime Witness is a Belgian-style Witbier; Crazy Lady is a honey blonde; Pallina is English mild; Truman Double IPA is double/imperial IPA; Belgian Tripel is a Belgian-style tripel; Lazy Way IPA is an American IPA; Boat Day IPA is an American session IPA; their Pilsner is a German-style pilsner; Amber Rye Lager is an American Amber lage; Extra Terrestrial is a special release experimental beer.
  • THE VIEW: The Key West Brewery is located right on the historic seaport. Enjoy the view of a working wharf and watch the boats come in at sunset.
  • THE MENU:  Your only worry here will be what to choose from the vast menu, including starters like Wasabi Ahi and Bruschetta, or choose from the raw bar, soups and salads, hand-crafted sandwiches, entrées from land (Caribbean Skirt Steak, Chicken Portabella Pasta) and sea (Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi, Bayou Shrimp.) The Waterfront Brewery also serves wine, which is “basically beer that’s made out of grapes instead of hops and barley!”

 

BREWS NEAR A VIEW

Who knew the huge number of cool breweries in Florida that sit just a block or so away from a great water view, and we can imagine tipping back a few and then going for a short, tipsy stroll to soak in the sights on the water. Or spending the day on the water and quenching your thirst afterward with your brew of choice.

Starting in the Panhandle and going south down the Gulf coast, down to the Keys, and back up the Atlantic, here is our list:

 

Pensacola Bay Brewery, Pensacola

Props Brewery and Grill, Fort Walton Beach

Destin Brewery, Destin

Hofbrau Beer Garden, Panama City Beach

Oyster City Brewing Company, Apalachicola

7venth Sun Brewing Company, Dunedin

The Little Giant Brewery, Bradenton

Mad Chef Craft Brewing Company, Madiera Beach

Florida Keys Brewing Company, Islamorada

Islamorada Beer Company, Islamorada

Sailfish Brewing Company, Fort Pierce

Hell ‘n Blazes Brewing Company, Melbourne

Intracoastal Brewing Company, Melbourne

Cocoa Beach Brewing Company, Cocoa Beach

New Smyrna Beach Brewing Company, New Smyrna Beach

Playalinda Brewing Company, Titusville

Tomoka Brewing Company, Port Orange

Beachside Brew Pub, Ormond Beach

Zeta Brewing Company, Jacksonville Beach

Green Room Brewing Company, Jacksonville

Intuition Ale Works, Jacksonville

Bold City Brewery Jacksonville

 

Have we missed any? Please let us know in the comments below. We’d also love to hear your favorite place to tip back a few, whether it be a brewery, wine bar, beach bar… Any place Happy Hour is happening in your world.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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