Summer is heating up in Do Orlando North and we’ve got just the thing to cool you down – craft beer! We chatted with some of the area’s finest breweries and got their personal craft beer recommendations and food pairings to enjoy on a sultry summer day or night.
Wop’s Hops, the first microbrewery in Sanford, brews some of Seminole County's most refreshing ales, stouts and more. Co-owner and Head Brewer Greg Piecora recommends their seasonal “Paradiso,” a coconut ale that’s light in color but not in flavor; the “Ceres,” a honeydew melon cream ale; the “Bychee Lychee,” a Belgian-style ale flavored with lychee nectar; the Chariot Race Kolsch; the Prickly Pear Saison; and the seasonal Summer Golden Stout, a rich stout with a light golden color. Wop’s Hops brews the Summer Golden Stout especially for customers who come in and ask for light stouts during the summertime – the team likes to have a little fun and demonstrate that the color of the beer doesn’t always mean it’s either heavy or light. Swing by and try it yourself! 419 S Sanford Ave, Sanford, Florida 32771
Over at Hourglass Brewing, cheekily known as the oldest brewery in Longwood, they’re using the best local and exotic ingredients to make world class beer. This summer, co-brewers Mike DeLancett and Matthew Gemmell suggest: Hourglass’s year-round “Saison du Sablier,” a dry and effervescent beer; the Sandcastle Saison, which is brewed with lime and ginger and lighter on calories than the du Sablier; the “Go Czech Yourself” Czech-style pilsner, a clean, crisp beer that is brewed with malted sunflower seeds for a unique nutty finish; and the “Double Dragon Paw,” a heavily fruited Florida weisse style ale brewed with dragonfruit and paw paw. They also have a new brew in the works called the “Get Down P-Town,” a cranberry-lime Florida weisse style ale with 4% alcohol content – this is a beer you can “casually drink all day without getting into trouble,” and the clever name is a nod to Mike’s Massachusetts roots. 480 S. Ronald Reagan Blvd Longwood, FL 32750
Red Cypress Brewery opened its doors in October 2015 and has been brewing up a storm ever since, using locally sourced ingredients like Florida orange peel and incorporating special nods to Florida’s eccentricities and icons. This summer, their head brewer and event manager recommend drinking pilsners such as Red Cypress’ Subdivisions with salads (think watermelon salad) and grilled seafoods, because the beer’s light flavors complement lighter, more delicate flavors; NEIPA/IPAs such as Red Cypress’ Pineapple Earlene or Devil’s Chair with grilled meats (burgers and steaks) because the beer’s bitterness cuts down on the richness of these fattier meats; and pale ales such as Red Cypress’ Spook Hill or Summer Nights with spicy fish tacos, which cut down the spiciness while playing up the herbs and citrus in the salsa. If you can’t make it out to the physical location, Red Cypress beers are also distributed throughout Central Florida. 855 E State Rd 434, Winter Springs, FL 32708
Sanford Brewing Company is where the community comes together to enjoy handcrafted beer, mead, cider and specialty sodas. Co-owner Bo Hallowes recommends the following craft beer and food pairings:
The Weekender, a pale citrus wheat beer that is perfect for the summer. It tastes somewhat like a lemon shandy and is quite refreshing and delicious! Sanford Brewing recently added a blackened Mahi-Mahi sandwich to its menu. This 6 oz piece of fish is served on a brioche bun with lettuce, tomato, pickle and fries as well as house-made tartar sauce. They pair really well together.
The Blu Beary IPA is also a great summer beer! It is definitely a session IPA at 6% ABV so you can drink a few of them and not feel like you are having too much. Although it is an IPA and does have that characteristic hoppy quality to it, the blueberry balances out the taste. It is definitely a beer they try to sell to those who like the floral quality of IPA but not so much the taste. They are proud to say they have turned more than a few patrons into IPA drinkers who would not have had IPAs before. This particular beer goes very well with the Summer Salad that has spring mix, apples, strawberries, feta, bacon, candied pecans and grilled or blackened chicken served with a lemon citrus vinaigrette. Another great pairing!
Last but not least, they always have Smash Lager on tap, which is an American Premium Lager. It is a very light, refreshing beer and goes well with just about anything on the menu.
Sanford Brewing is located at 400 South Sanford Avenue Sanford, FL 32771
Tuffy’s Bottle Shop & Lounge opened in Sanford earlier this year and serves freshly brewed ciders and craft beers in a scenic and spacious beer garden. Owner Dan St. Pierre recommends kicking back with the following ciders on a hot summer’s day: Tuffy’s refreshing, slightly tart High Five 6.8% abv cider, named for the 5 key ingredients of Apples, Cherries, Lime, Sage, and Sea Salt; or the Jamaica Drupe Noir 7.0% abv cider from Tuffy’s Farmhouse series, which gets its sweetness from hibiscus and black cherries, and its dryness from their house Belgian Saison yeast strain. 200 S Myrtle Ave, Sanford, Florida 32771
Inner Compass Brewing Company is a hopping new addition to Sanford’s craft beer scene! Self-proclaimed “Beer Janitor” Dylan Bashore recommends: Inner Compass’ crisp and refreshing ‘Bridge the Gap’ Kolsch, which pairs perfectly with classic German foods like bratwurst as well as standard grilling fare; or their ‘Dammit Karl!’ Hefeweizen with its flavors of banana and clove, which are a great accompaniment to seafood. The brewery is also preparing to release a Ginger Kolsch for the summer season. 300 E 2nd St, Sanford, FL 32771
Deviant Wolfe Brewing is another new face on the Sanford scene. This brewery and taproom brews a broad range of ales, including sours, IPAs, stouts and Belgians. Co-founder Kendall Wolverton recommends: their upcoming sour called ‘Tart Shaped Box,’ a 5.3% Kettle Soured Dry Hopped blonde ale that pairs well with goat cheese and fruit; or their signature Bruiser J, a 5.7% all citra hopped pale ale aged on oak chips that pairs perfectly with grilling staples and spicy foods. 121 W St, Sanford, FL 32771