Craft beer culture and beach communities have both become synonymous with a laid-back, welcoming lifestyle. So it’s no surprise that our humble corner of the Sunshine State boasts more than enough locally owned breweries to keep ale aficionados occupied. Several successful taprooms on The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel each possess their own unique style, but they all feature a welcoming atmosphere and passion for the craft. So when it comes time for a cold one, start with one of these six locally owned breweries – and a rum distillery to boot.
San Diego native Rob Whyte began brewing beer thanks to a combination of latent interest and ample free time. After his career start as an brewer on the fiercely competitive Southern California craft scene, Rob and his wife 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.
What began as a modest family endeavor in a Sanibel Island kitchen has expanded into one of the area’s quickest burgeoning breweries. Named after the location of the Gulf Coast’s first lighthouse, Point Ybel Brewing draws ingredient inspiration from The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel. Owners Captain Walt and his wife Amy consider themselves the local authorities on pale ales and IPAs. Stop by their tasting room on San Carlos Boulevard Tuesday through Sunday to enjoy live music, great company, and a constantly changing selection of small-batch pale ales.
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, Posthumous Porter, 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.
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 in Fort Myers boasts a rotating selection of their most recent creations and a surefire good time.
Community engagement is a top priority at this craft beer company, which dedicates itself to brewing full-flavor beers. Here, patrons can participate in all sorts of clubs, including a home brew group for those who want to learn (or master) the art of making beer. Plus, every month a different Growlers for Good charity receives some of the brewery’s proceeds.
If you can time your travels right, Saturday is easily one of the best days to stop by. Go on a guided or self-guided tour, and then relax for a while with one of the brewery’s small-batch experimental beers in hand.
Back in 2014, husband and wife homebrewers 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 is equally, if not more, enjoyable when sipping beer. Old-school entertainment like cornhole, giant Jenga, vintage arcade games and an assortment of board games certainly help Momentum live up to that notion.
Plus, 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.
No, it’s not another brewery, but it’s undoubtedly worth mentioning. 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 United States.
Coconut rum is one popular offering, not to mention the company’s signature spiced flavor. Both of which you can enjoy during a 45- to 60-minute tour and free tasting.
These establishments may be some of the best in the area, but they definitely aren’t the only ones around. Start planning your trip to The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel today to get a taste of all our coast has to offer.
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