TORONTO — The news reports coming in from Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands are heartbreaking, and the images even more so.
Craft beer culture and beach communities create a laid-back, welcoming lifestyle. That said, it’s no surprise so many locally owned breweries call Southwest Florida home. Craft breweries in The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel possess unique styles, welcoming atmospheres and passion for the craft. If your clients want to tour a brew house, just tell them to ask!
When it’s beer time, there are 12 locally owned breweries and two distilleries worth visiting and here is a little more information on five of them that you can share with your clients:
San Diego native Rob Whyte began brewing beer, thanks to a combination of latent interest and ample free time. After his career start as a brewer on the fiercely competitive Southern California craft scene, Rob and his wife, Jen, relocated to Fort Myers in 2011. Upon arriving, the couple noticed a severe lack of local breweries – a niche they intended to fill. Five years later, Fort Myers Brewing Company’s combination tasting room and brewery serves as a popular gathering place for hopheads across Southwest Florida. On any given night here you’re likely to find live music, food trucks and an ever-present sense of community. With eight flagship beers and a rotating selection of seasonal and small batch brews, any enthusiast will find something they love.
Fort Myers Brewing Company 12811 Commerce Lakes Drive, Suite 28, Fort Myers
Anyone with an affinity for suds and a morbid sense of sarcasm will feel right at home at Bury Me Brewing. Beer names rooted in the macabre – including Bone Bitter, Redrum Double Red and Hell Bound Honey Brown – pair nicely with their tasting room’s ghastly, humorous aesthetic. Or, if you need libations for an offsite party, Bury Me Brewing will send their hearse to you. Yes, you read that right. They have a mobile hearse complete with functioning taps on the side to transport kegs to any event within a 50-mile radius.
Bury Me Brewing 4224 Cleveland Ave., Unit 7, Fort Myers
In 2014, home brewers Brian and Kate Hahn took a leap of faith to establish a spot that’s as fun for kids as it is for adults. As proven by this Bonita Springs brewery, the ambience of a coffee shop can be just as enjoyable, if not more, when sipping beer. Old-school games like cornhole, giant Jenga, vintage arcade games and an assortment of board games certainly help Momentum live up to that notion. As the perfect complement to the brewery’s staple beers and rotating offerings, visitors can bring in their own food or have something delivered to the tasting room.
Momentum Brewhouse 9786 Bonita Beach Road, SE Bonita Springs
Co-founders Nicholas and Jacob Schmidt each brought a unique perspective to the table before opening Old Soul Brewing in 2014. Nicholas had spent time becoming intimately familiar with Denver, Colorado’s innovative and booming craft beer scene, while Jacob learned the fine art of homemade Kombucha. The two brothers combined their talents to create an inventive selection of ales, from an exquisite imperial chocolate stout to their innovative chai tea brown ale. Their 2,000-square-foot taproom boasts a rotating selection of their most recent creations and a surefire good time.
Old Soul Brewing 10970 S. Cleveland Ave., Fort Myers
At Point Ybel, brewmaster Jordan Weisberg, chief of yeast, is at the helm, creating a diverse lineup of beer. The brewery, named after the location of the Gulf Coast’s first lighthouse, Point Ybel (eee-bell), is known for brewing East Coast-style IPAs, traditional beers and introducing sour ales to Southwest Florida.
Point Ybel Brewing Company 16120 San Carlos Blvd., No. 4, Fort Myers
This distillery has been producing true Florida rum since 2012, using pure sugarcane and other ingredients from the Sunshine State. Handcrafted in small batches, Wicked Dolphin’s award-winning rums are available throughout Florida and even parts of the southeastern U.S. Coconut rum is one popular offering, not to mention the company’s signature spiced flavor, both of which you can enjoy during a tour and free tasting. The distillery recently added a craft vodka.
Wicked Dolphin Rum Distillery 131 SW 3rd Place, Cape Coral