Nearby is the Shipyard Emporium (ShipyardEmporium.com, 200 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park), an outpost of the Portland, Maine, brewery. In addition to Shipyard staples, check out the in-house creations of veteran local brewer Ron Raike. Walen says “the restaurant-brewpub encompasses a market and bakery as well, featuring fancy cheeses and meats, fresh-baked bread and sweet treats.”
Walen gives a nod to Rossi’s Pizza and Pasta (RossisPizza.com, 5919 S. Orange Blossom Trail) where the Central Florida Home Brewers Club meets. If you’re visiting with a large family, this second-generation restaurant run by the Rossi family is certainly the place, and with 26 taps ranging from inexpensive beer to pungent IPAs, it’s a great way to carbo-load before a marathon of roller coasters.
After dinner, do your souvenir shopping at Knightly Spirits (KnightlySpirits.com, 12975 S. Orange Blossom Trail, seven miles south of Rossi’s). Although there are five locations in the area, Walen insists on heading to the largest one, describing it as the “craft beer equivalent of a dusty bookstore.” While you are apt to find a vintage Belgian import on the back of a lower shelf, you’ll also find Florida beer, such as Dunedin Brewery Apricot Peach Ale. It’s comforting to know that locals such as Walen are excited that “the Sunshine State’s craft beer industry is in high gear.”
Most kids would be happy to visit Disneyland just once, ideally two or three times. Greg Nagel’s 5-year-old romps in the park several times a month because Dad has annual passes and they live a mile away. Greg also blogs at OCBeerBlog.com and offers tips to find “great craft beer and food in every direction.”
Developing a reputation as the Disneyland for adults, The Bruery Provisions (BrueryProvisions.com, 143 N Glassell St., Orange) is the retail outlet for The Bruery (TheBruery.com, 715 Dunn Way, Placentia). Provisions is five miles southeast of Disneyland and the brewery six miles northeast. You’re likely to find more Bruery concoctions at the brewery’s tasting room, but there are 30 taps at the shop with an array of sampler flights ranging from all-Bruery to a California-centric or pan-farmhouse ales lineup. It’s also wine-friendly, with cheese and charcuterie plates.
Four miles from The Bruery is Bootlegger’s Brewery (bootleggersbrewery.com, 401 S. Richman Ave., Fullerton), which opened in 2008. The tasting room boasts 20 taps. One of Bootlegger’s most popular beers is Knuckle Sandwich, a limited-Double IPA (the ruby red hue and perfumey nose sets Nagel’s heart afire). Black Phoenix Coffee Chipotle Stout kicks with espresso aroma and initially hits with a sweet, creamy texture, while the aftertaste hints at the heat from the dried jalapeños. Visits to the tasting room are improved by the gourmet food trucks that Nagel says “make a delicious dinner, pint and growler-fill a convenient one-stop shop.”
Orange County has witnessed a smattering of new brewpub openings, including two in Anaheim. Noble Ale Works (NobleAleWorks.com, 1621 S. Sinclair St.) just celebrated its first anniversary. Nagel calls this one a “must stop for hop heads.” Among the offerings at the tasting room (closed Mondays and Tuesdays) is Dark Sybian IPA, what the brewers call “our version of a Cascadian Dark Ale, brewed with Midnight Wheat malt.” There are also plenty of Cascades, Centennial and Magnum hops. If there’s a home game at the nearby Angels’ stadium, the food trucks park at Noble’s.
In the Anaheim Colony Historic District, Anaheim Brewery (AnaheimBrew.com, 336 S. Anaheim Blvd.) held its grand opening last July and, according to Nagel, “has quickly become a fixture for Anaheim locals. Their tasting room showcases classic beer recipes in a modern saloon atmosphere.” The Gerovacs—married owners Greg and Barbara—named their flagship California common beer Anaheim 1888 in homage to a much earlier Anaheim Brewery that never saw the modern side of Prohibition. Nagel’s favorite is the Chocolate Stout blended with the Bavarian hefeweizen. “It’s called The Chocolate Banana and tastes exactly as described.”
Brian Yaeger recently moved to Portland, OR, where he homebrews and is exploring the beers of the Pacific Northwest.