Roland and I took a few extra days off after our training in Orlando to visit his grandmother and her husband. We dropped our coworker at the airport and headed across the state to Englewood. We spent some much needed downtime visiting with the family and then decided to throw in a few local outings while they had appointments.
We had no plan on arrival, but after a quick Google search decided that visiting some local breweries would allow us to see the area without taking away from our family time and stick with relaxed vibe of our trip. We found four breweries within a 40 minute radius. Three were in Sarasota, each within 20 minutes of the next, so we headed in that direction.
Sarasota Brewing Company Sarasota Brewing was our first stop of the day and it was just kind of odd all around for a brewery. It was located in a strip mall for starters. The interior was dark and felt more pubbish than breweryesque. They were a full service restaurant and had a fullY stocked bar (even the bartender commented on the bar being odd for the brewery). We ordered a flight and I honestly wasn’t impressed with the beer. It was all pretty flat, not at all what you expect of a craft beer. After the flights we ended up ordering a cider and a local beer, neither from Sarasota Brewing. Obviously nothing stood out to us. I will say though, the flight included all 8 of the Sarasota Brewing beers and only cost $5.
Big Top Brewing Company Big Top was awesome! What could be better than a circus themed brewery? It had much more of a traditional brewery feel to it. There’s something comforting about being able to see the large silver tanks in the brew room from the bar. The flights were $7 for 4 tasters, a bit more expensive than Sarasota Brewing, but it was well worth the price difference. The beer was really good! They definitely offered something for everyone. We ordered two flights and split them which took us through 8 of the 11 beers. I lean toward lighter, less hoppy beers, so the Conch Republic and the Mango Wit were my favorites. We added a taster of the Bacon Session to our flights. All I can really say about that is that it did, in fact, taste like bacon. We didn’t go out because we were short on time, but Big Top offered a Beer Garden if you were inclined to have a beer outdoors. They had menus at the bar to order from local restaurants and a bunch of board games on the table in the back. This place was legit. I would go back in a heartbeat. I even bought a t-shirt which you’ll see when I post about our visit to Siesta Key Beach 🙂
J Dub’s Brewery J Dub’s was kind of wild. As you walk up to the front of the brewery, you see these incredibly beautiful, re-purposed doors on one side, and a graffiti style sign about dogs on the other. Walk into the tap room and your senses are assailed by the smell of hops, the bright bold colors on the walls and signage, and reggae overhead. Their tanks are marked by large portraits of movie stars. Strong personalities all around! Mostly carrying weapons. They had the requisite pile of games in the corner, a food truck out front, and a beer garden in the back. We did not sample the food truck offerings, but the beer garden was lovely. We enjoyed our flights at a picnic table. And I do mean enjoyed! The beer was actually pretty good. They had a wide variety from Dark-O, a hearty imperial stout, to Mr. Weisse Guy, a light hearted sour. The sours were some of my favorites. They had a pretty lengthy schedule of upcoming events. Any place that offers an event called Craft Beer and Yoga is good in my book! If you’re in the Sarasota area, stop by and have a beer for me!