Blonde Brew Review’s Guide to Orlando: North Orlando

Update: As of June of 2019, Red Cypress Brewery unfortunately had to close its doors and is no longer open.

Welcome to a new series, my personal guide to beer in Orlando! In this series, I will be going over general things about each brewery and giving you a few of my personal recommendations.

I’ll be splitting it into five parts:

  • North Orlando
  • West Orlando
  • East Orlando
  • Heart of Orlando
  • South Orlando

Orlando’s beer scene is still in its developing stages and I am thrilled to say I have been able to watch it grow!

In this series, I will be going over the breweries outside of Orlando and giving you a general idea of what to expect when you go! I have my favorites, but just know that I do appreciate ALL craft beer. Not every beer or brewery is someone’s cup of tea (quite literally), but I am so immensely passionate about this community, I still recommend stopping to each brewery along the way.

Without further ado, let’s dive in!

Sanford

I wrote an article last year sometime about a night out when I went brewery and bar hopping along the streets of historical Sanford, FL. Sanford is about 30-35 minutes North of downtown Orlando. This town is full of history, and you can see it in some of the architecture and trees that have been around for generations. In the 1800s, Sanford’s main export was oranges , but the town suffered a freeze which destroyed the crops. Celery was later planted and ended up being so successful, the town became one of the largest vegetable shippers in the country.

As of right now, there are four breweries in the area (with one on the way), a cidery, a home brew shop, and a craft beer bar with over 50 taps to choose from!

Wop’s Hops Brewing

This brewery is Sanford’s first microbrewery! They usually have a larger tap list which has roughly 16 or more beers to choose from at any given time. Like most breweries in America, they have a nice blonde, some pale ales, and even occasionally brew styles such as a cream ale or vienna lager! They’re a small space with a beer garden out back that has a giant dinosaur waiting to steal your beer. There are a lot of unique little theatrical references scattered throughout this cozy spot, which is perfect for date night!

My favorite beer here is the Paradiso, a smooth and refreshing coconut Blonde Ale.

Inner Compass

The latest member to the brewery bunch is Inner Compass, the newest and smallest breweries in Sanford. They have some of their own beers on tap, but also feature breweries from other places in Florida as well. This brewery has a nice open patio and their bar was made from the bricks the building used to be made out of.

Sanford Brewing

This place is wide open and welcoming. Sanford Brewing always has live music and trivia. It’s a great space to meet a big party of friends and hang out. They have plenty of bar bites to snack on and you can even make your own mac-n-cheese! Their beer menu also has a little bit of everything, from barleywines to pale ales.

Deviant Wolfe

This place is one of my favorite breweries! I love their beer and friendly staff. It’s got the old town, brick walls with an adventurous feel. If you’re into the outdoors and exploring, this is for sure your type of place. Otherwise, if you are also into beer, they have plenty of solid porters and pale ales with a few experimental brews on tap.

My favorite go-to here is their Sourmanjaro, a sour coffee ale! Not only are they adventurous in their endeavors, but they reflect that in their beer as well.

Deviant Wolfe’s One Year Anniversary!
Sourmanjaro – Sour Coffee Blonde Ale

Tuffy’s Bottle Shop & Lounge

Tuffy’s is a new cidery, and I am almost certain it is one of the only cideries in the Orlando area! They specialize in cider but also have plenty of craft beer from nearby breweries, especially Central 28. This place has a full liquor bar and a cooler of craft bottles and cans to-go! As you walk in and enter the bar area, you will see a space off to the left. Walking into the next room, you’ll see they have recliners, TVs, a few games to play (like foosball and PacMan), and you see the entrance to the back patio. The patio is my favorite place in all of Sanford! There is a bocce ball court, corn hole boards, a DaKine poke bowl food truck (it’s to die for), an airstream trailer with a table and chairs to sit in, part of a pontoon boat with some picnic tables and captain’s chair, and a beautiful waterfall fountain made of old oil barrels with their logo shining in the center. It is a true work of art and a redneck’s paradise. There is so much to do and see in this one place and I highly recommend it every time someone is in Orlando!

The most Instagram-able fountain at Tuffy’s Bottle Shop.

Celery City

Next on the list is Celery City. With over 50 taps flowing with liquid gold, it’s a place I never get tired of. They always have something new and interesting on tap. While this place isn’t a brewery, it does offer an amazing selection of craft beer, and they even have a list of cans and bottles to choose from, if the immense tap list doesn’t impress you enough! They also have a really nice outdoor area with string lights that glow on late nights. It’s another really great place to add to your bucket list!

If you would like to see the article I mentioned earlier, with some more photos and information on these places in Sanford, please clickhere.

Winter Springs & Oviedo

There isn’t a whole lot going on in the suburbs, but there are a few places as you make your way down South.

Red Cypress Brewing – Winter Springs, FL

Red Cypress is located in Winter Springs, on the outskirts of the main drag. It’s a large brewery that focuses on distribution, but still has a clean, open taproom to hang out in! As a lot of places in Orlando do, they offer yoga classes in the brewery. I have stretched out muscles that probably haven’t been stretched in years while staring at the tanks, wondering which beer was fermenting inside. My favorite beer from here is the Spook Hill APA. Every year in the fall, they offer a wet-hopped version that is even better. Red Cypress puts out a ton of beer releases, as well. There’s always something new going on here!

Red Cypress Brewery

Oviedo Brewing – Oviedo, FL

Oviedo Brewing just opened up at the Oviedo Mall, and it’s a beautiful, big space! The Oviedo Mall is just barely hanging on, but I am so happy that Oviedo Brewing has opened and breathed some life into the place. They have food and plenty of space for activities! This is a brand new spot, so there is not a lot of their own beer to choose from. At this moment they have several guest tap offerings and just a couple of their own on the menu. Obviously, this will be changing in the coming weeks.

Casselberry & Longwood

Located about 25 minutes outside of Orlando, we are making our way closer to downtown. These breweries are a couple of my favorites in North Orlando!

Bowigens Beer Company – Casselberry, FL

This place is small, but mighty. Lots of strong ABV beers and creative brews can be found here! The bartenders are so friendly and inviting and the staff is happy to answer any questions you might ever have about beer. They have a fantastic peanut butter hefeweizen, great citrus pale ales, and every once in a while a tart, delicious sour! They do well at beer festivals and are located next door to an Italian restaurant. You can’t go wrong! Trivia nights are flooded with competition and it is one of the most fun places (with great music from my high school days) in Orlando. I love this place and definitely think it’s a must-see.

Bowigens Beer Company – Sipping on the Bow 9 – 5, a citrus Pale Ale with coffee and vanilla.

Hourglass Brewing & Sourglass Brewing – Longwood, FL

You probably see me posting about Hourglass often on my Instagram. We have a lot of friends at this establishment and it holds a special place in my heart, because it was one of the first local breweries I just fell head over boots with. Hourglass has an impressive tap list with a little bit of everything: sour IPAs, pilsners, nitro stouts, kettle and wild sours, porters, and more. Trivia, bingo, and comedy nights all happen here, and once in a while, the place gets filled with vendors from the Oddities and Curiosities market. Art that is created by local artists is hanging all over the walls; it is always for sale, and each month begins a new theme. Recently, they have opened up a separate tap room for their sour program (which is currently the largest in Orlando). Fun fact: I actually had my rehearsal dinner here for my wedding! I LOVE sours, so, this place… it’s definitely in my top 10.

Sourglass Brewing Taproom – Pretty firkin awesome.
Hourglass Brewing’s Ms. Kweller, a sour FL Weisse made with marion berries.

North Orlando is where the locals go.

These breweries and fun beer places are all within about 20 minutes of each other, and in Sanford, they are walking distance! Word on the street is there will also be some new breweries in this area of Orlando coming this year. I hope you enjoyed the first part in my guide to beer in Orlando! Feel free to comment below any questions or thoughts you have about these venues! I love hearing from you and if you are also from Orlando, I’d love to know some of your own recommendations, too.

Cheers!

–Ashley


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