Want to enjoy a cold craft beer? Brevard's 8 breweries are ready to pour
May has a designated craft beer week, but really, isn't it always a good time to celebrate local breweries?.
In the late '90s, craft brewing was something of a novelty in Brevard County. Charlie & Jakes Brewery and Grille opened in 1996, followed by the Florida Beer Company, then the Indian River Brewing Company, in 1997.
These days, we boast eight craft beer operations, with two more expected to open (or reopen) this summer, and they've become more than just places to grab a cold one.
Our breweries have settled in and become part of the community, hosting weekly running groups, trivia nights and regular charity events.
Breweries aren't like typical bars, said Shane Burgman, a Palm Shores beer enthusiast. People who frequent them generally aren't there to get drunk.
"Breweries offer a more comfortable atmosphere for families," the father of two said. "Bringing your child to a brewery is socially acceptable because there's generally a space intended for children, dogs, etc."
Eric Lamarr, an artist who lives in Rockledge, agreed. His work can be seen hanging in the taproom and on the outside walls of Dirty Oar Beer Company in Cocoa Village.
"Also, it's not at every bar that you have the opportunity to talk with the guy who made the beer," he said. "It’s almost like the brewer is an artist, but instead of say, sculpting, he creates flavors and aromas for the patrons to enjoy and talk about."
Each brewery has a distinct personality, and they're scattered across the county, from Titusville to Melbourne. Craft Beer Week runs through Sunday, and while we encourage you to visit all eight, it's best not to do it all in a single day unless you've got a designated driver.
Bugnutty Brewing Company
Bugnutty Brewing Company opened in 2013 in a strip shopping center in central Merritt Island. In 2019, the brewery moved to Cocoa Village, where it now occupies a 1932 building that once housed a Buick dealership.
In case you're wondering what Bugnutty means, here are a couple of explanations from the brewery's website:
- To have feelings of discouragement, disappointment or frustration. Example: "Not having a great selection of locally brewed craft beer makes me Bugnutty."
- Being in a state of overwhelming emotion; especially rapturous delight. Example: "I am so Bugnutty now that I have fresh craft brewed beer right here in Cocoa Village!"
The taproom has a cavernous, industrial feel, with brewing tanks sharing space with high-top tables, a bar and a small stage.
Creative sandwiches, salads and wings are prepared 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday through Wanderlust at Bugnutty Brewing Company.
Bugnutty Brewing Company is at 225 King St., Unit B, Cocoa Village. 321-452-4460, bugnutty.com. Hours are 3-8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday.
Charlie & Jake's Brewery Grille
Brevard County's first brew pub, Charlie & Jake's has been a staple in the Suntree community since 1996, and is known for its barbecue almost as much as its beer.
The menu is huge. In addition to barbecue, diners can also enjoy seafood, salads, steaks and burgers in the spacious dining room, at the bar or at the outside bar.
For non-beer drinkers (there's always one in the crowd), Charlie & Jakes has a full liquor bar. But beer is the star.
The brew pub carries five standards all the time: Anniversary Ale, Brown Bottom Ale, Harbor City Gold, Indian River Red and Wickham Wheat. In addition, Charlie & Jake's brewers produce two to four seasonal beers, like the Peanut Butter Fluff Porter and Last Launch Lite.
Charlie & Jake's is at 6300 N. Wickham Road, Melbourne. 321-752-7675, cjbrewery.com. Hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon-9 p.m. Sunday.
Dirty Oar Beer Company
Since 2017, Dirty Oar Brewing Company has served craft brews in a friendly taproom at the northwestern corner of Cocoa Village.
Inside, Dirty Oar is bright and open, with sea-inspired paintings by local artist Eric Lamarr decorating the walls of the industrial, utilitarian space.
Though the brewery doesn't have a kitchen, food trucks frequently park outside near the covered biergarten, offering everything from barbecue and burgers to tacos and vegetarian fare.
That biergarten has become a community gathering spot for fundraisers, including the Bark Brew Fest, which starts at 5 p.m. Saturday and benefits Rescue Rebels by Cash 4 Canines, a rescue organization that works with abused and abandoned dogs.
Looking for a little adventure with your brews? Dirty Oar is an official Onewheel electric skateboard dealer.
Dirty Oar Beer Company is at 329 King St., Cocoa Village. 321-301-4306, facebook.com/dirtyoarbeercompany. Hours are 4-9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 2-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon-8 p.m. Sunday.
Florida Beer Company
Back in the day, Florida Beer Company's taproom, which opened in 1997, occupied a cramped space above its brewing facility just south of downtown Melbourne.
These days, things at Florida Beer Company have a decidedly different vibe. Since 2013, the brewery has called a sleek, modern, 5,000-square-foot taproom home. That's when the brewery moved to the old Chrysler Space Operations plant near Port Canaveral.
In 2016, Florida Beer was purchased by the ANSA McAL group of companies based in Trinidad and Tobago. ANSA McAL owns the Carib Brewery.
Florida Beer produces 28 styles of ales, lagers and ciders, and remains an active part of the community, hosting running groups and local musical acts.
Florida Beer Company is located at 200 Imperial Blvd., Cape Canaveral. 321-728-4114, floridabeer.com. Hours are 1-9 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 1-10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 1-7 p.m. Sunday.
Hell 'n Blazes Brewing Company
Hell 'n Blazes Brewing Company, which opened in 2016, features a taproom/dining room that seats up to 300, a game room and a private meeting room in addition to a state-of-the-art brewing operation in a century-old building that previously housed a hardware store, a funeral parlor, a bank, a television studio and, most recently, the Christmas Cottage and La Petite Boutiques.
The original pine floors remain, as does the tin ceiling. Flooring planks removed to make way for enormous brewing tanks, were repurposed or saved. The taproom features bar seating as well as hightop and lowtop tables. The Vault, a private tasting room that still holds the walk-in bank safe, is available for private parties, business meetings or special events.
Hell 'n Blazes has a full kitchen that's open daily for lunch and dinner, and boasts a menu that's several steps above the usual pub grub.
Hell 'n Blazes Brewing Company is at 1002 E. New Haven Ave., Melbourne. 321-821-4052 or hellnblazesbrewing.com. Hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday and Monday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Thursday and 11-1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
Intracoastal Brewing Company
Since opening in October 2013 in Melbourne's Eau Gallie Arts District, Intracoastal Brewing Company has become such a huge part of the community, its full name has become unnecessary.
Intra is in the midst of it's second major expansion in eight years. In addition to the original taproom, the brewery now features an expansive biergarten with an additional bar and restrooms. A two-story building for seating and meeting is under construction.
The hours for the Bearded Chef, Intra's resident food truck, mirror those of the brewery, with a menu that includes burgers, birria tacos and fried chicken sandwiches.
The brewery hosts the annual Rocky Water Brew Fest each fall in conjunction with the Eau Gallie Rotary Club. Last year's event was cancelled, but this year's is set for Nov. 13.
Intracoastal is at 652 W. Eau Gallie Blvd., Melbourne. 321-872-7395, intracoastalbrewingcompany.com. Hours are 2-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, noon-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Sunday.
Playalinda Brewing Company Hardward Store and the Brix Project
Playalinda Brewing Company opened in 2014 in a century-old hardware store in Titusville's downtown historic district by Donna and Bryan Scott, and Ron and Katie Raike.
In 2016, Playalinda's sister location, the Brix Project, opened down the street.
The two serve some of the same beers, but like many siblings, they've got very different personalities.
While Playalinda has kept the folksy feel of its historic home, the Brix Project, which is housed in a former lumber yard, has a more urban feel.
The Hardware Store is a smaller operation, and its downtown location makes it a perfect local hangout. It also has a small, but interesting, menu and games like checkers and Giant Jenga to keep patrons of all ages entertained.
The Brix Project includes a 75-seat dining room, plus a biergarten. The Brix menu includes corned beef poutine, Scotch eggs, poke bowls, flatbreads, burgers, pasta and steak. Not a beer drinker? The Brix Project has a full liquor bar and an array of craft cocktails.
The Brix Project is at 5220 S. Washington Ave., Titusville. 321-567-5974. Playalinda Brewing Company is at 305 S. Washington Ave., Titusville. 321-225-8978. Visit playalindabrewingcompany.com.
The Brix Project is open 4-9 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday. The Hardward Store is open 4-9 Monday-Wednesday, 4-10 p.m. Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday, noon-10 p.m. Saturday, noon-7 p.m. Sunday.
Breweries coming soon to Brevard
The craft beer scene, like the elixirs it produces, continues to change and evolve. Two breweries are expected to open sometime this summer.
One, a brand new concept in craft beer for Brevard County, and the other a reimagining of an old favorite.
Beachfly Brewing Company
Beachfly opened the day after Thanksgiving 2018 across from the Atlantic in Indian Harbour Beach. Mother-son team and Colorado transplants Zach Featherstone and Lisa Freismuth ran the brewery and restaurant at the corner of State Road A1A and Eau Gallie Boulevard for almost two years before deciding they'd outgrown the space.
Faced with the choice of improving a rented building or purchasing their own, Beachfly's founders closed their beachside operation in August 2020 and began renovating the former Blue Marlin Pools building on Barton Boulevard in Rockledge.
Featherstone said he's targeting a summer opening of the brewery, which is part of a major revitalization effort along Barton.
Beachfly Brewing Company, coming soon to 513 Barton Blvd., Rockledge. beachflybrewing.com.
Leader Brewing Non-Alcoholic Brews
"I do want to advise we aren't quite an Intra or a Hell 'n blazes," said Deb Green, who hopes to have Leader Brewing open later this summer. "Our operation will likely look more like the craft beer experience from the 1990s with a tasting room open for a few hours on Friday evening and Saturday afternoons to get folks to taste."
Headquartered in Palm Bay, Leader Brewing is or people who enjoy craft beer, but want to skip the alcohol.
"Founded by Marine Corps and Air Force veterans, Leader will sell nationwide online and through local supermarkets later this year," Green said
Follow the progress of Leader Brewing Non-Alcoholic Brews at leaderbrewing.com.
Breweries that closed on the Space Coast
Alas, some of our local breweries closed in 2020.
Lost Shirt Brewing Company, West Melbourne, closed its doors Jan. 12, 2020.
Quarters Brewery and Arcade, downtown Melbourne, closed its doors Jan. 24, 2020.
We're still trying to confirm the status of Cocoa Beach Brewing Company. A Dec. 2, 2020, post on the nano-brewery's Facebook page said: "Hello everyone! After a long and difficult year of mandatory closures and restrictions we are optimistic we will be able announce our re-opening plans soon. Thank you for your patience!"
There was no answer at the business, and no response to a query on Facebook. We'll keep you posted as we learn more.
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