When you last visited Florida, what did you do? If you’re like most people, you probably set aside some time to visit Disney World, Sea World, and possibly a dinner theater or other live performance. But Florida has more unique things to offer than parks and shows and among the other attractions are breweries. One of them has been serving beer for some time and it proudly boasts that it is the only USDA Organic certified brewery in the state. The operation is known as Orlando Brewing and it is ready to serve adult guests who love fine craft beer and appreciate the degree of freshness and goodness that organic certification adds to most any food or beverage.
What is Orlando Brewing?
Orlando Brewing is a small but growing craft brewery located near downtown Orlando. The brewery presently brews between 3,000 and 4,000 barrels of beer per year, but the company is growing in size along with the rest of the craft beer industry across the United States and could top the 5,000 barrel mark shortly. Guests who visit Orlando Brewing can expect to find about ten to fifteen different beer products available for sampling and with so many different options, there is bound to be at least one beer to suit consumers’ individual taste preferences.
What can visitors expect to find on tap at Orlando Brewing? Here is a list taken directly from the menu, showing the name of the beer, alcohol by volume, and bitterness rating:
Blonde Ale, 4.7% ABV, 6 IBU
Red Ale, 5.8% ABV, 21 IBU
Pale Ale, 6.3% ABV, 13 IBU
Brown Ale, 5.5% ABV, 14 IBU
Olde Pelican EPA, 6.8% ABV, 41 IBU
Poppin’ Pilz, 5.8% ABV, 42 IBU
Blackwater Dry Porter, 5.4% ABV, 23 IBU
Eagle Stout, 5.7% ABV, 39 IBU
Eminent Domain Scottish Ale, 5.3% ABV, 10 IBU
I-4 IPA, 6.5% ABV, 27 IBU
Pompous Ass IPA, 7.4% ABV, 58 IBU
Doble Imperial IPA, 8.5% ABV, 94 IBU
BVC IPA, 6% ABV, 29 IBU
Doppelbock Dark Lager, 6% ABV, 45 IBU
Diablo Rojo Red IPA, 4.2% ABV, 50 IBU
All beer products are USDA Organic certified and are brewed with the freshest and most natural ingredients. The beers offered tend to be a little milder and less hop- accented than some craft beer fans will prefer. As the numbers above indicate, the bitterness ratings are lower than those of other craft beer of similar style, falling as low as 6 IBU for the blonde ale. The best beer in the bunch is easily the Doble Imperial IPA, which, not surprisingly, is also the strongest and bitterest brew, weighing in at 8.5% alcohol by volume and with 94 IBU of bitterness.
Hours of Operation/Tours:
Orlando Brewing is open seven days per week, making it very accommodating to tourists’ limited schedules. At the time of this writing, the hours are: Monday through Thursday from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 1 p.m. to 12 a.m.; and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Brewery tours at Orlando Brewing are held every day of the week except Sunday and they last between 30 and 45 minutes. Guests get to learn about the history of Orlando Brewing, the commitment to organic ingredients, and the brewing and bottling process that takes place every day. Since the brewery is one of the very few certified organic breweries in the United States, the tours tend to emphasize the organic element and the many challenges that come with a commitment to organic quality.
Orlando Brewing is a friendly, casual brewing operation and one of only a few breweries in the greater Orlando, Florida metropolitan area. This may come as a surprise to those who visit the area expecting that such a popular place for travel would be home to more breweries. But this is the way things are, at least for now, even though the industry is growing in Orlando and elsewhere across the state.
Orlando Brewing’s chief appeal is its commitment to organic quality and processes and this is reason alone to pay a visit. There are very few beers produced in the United States that carry the USDA Certified Organic label and Orlando Brewing is one of the few that can proudly make this claim. The beer is certainly fresh and many will appreciate knowing that the beer they consume is earth- friendly and free from the preservatives and other questionable ingredients so common in mass- produced beer.
Like everyone else, I am intrigued by the USDA Organic seal of approval when I find it at any brewery and this was enough to convince Great Beer Now to pay a visit here on a recent family excursion. However, I did find that many of the products were a little lacking overall, particularly in the hop department. With each sample and each swallow, I noticed that the hop content was too mild, and this was particularly true with the pale ale and Scotch ale. An IBU of 13 for a pale ale and 10 for a Scotch ale is simply too low for these styles. As I sipped on each beer, I couldn’t help but wonder how much better each would taste if the hops were cranked up just a little. I was more tolerant of the 6 IBU rating for the Blonde Ale, since this is intended as a milder brew anyway, but it was difficult to get my taste buds around a pale ale with an IBU of only 13 and a Scottish Ale with an IBU of just 10.
So, the hops are used sparingly, but that isn’t to say that the beer at Orlando Brewing isn’t worth sampling because many of the products are quite good. The best in the bunch is definitely Doble Imperial IPA. With its complex flavor profile that includes organic Centennial, Cascade, and Magnum hops, this beer should satisfy even the harshest craft beer critics. The Eagle Stout and Doppelbock Dark Lager are also worthy and many who visit should be able to find something they enjoy. Even if the hops are lower than preferred, the wide variety of beers to sample ensures that every visitor comes away with at least one or two products on his/her favorite list.
A visit to central Florida is almost certain to include the usual trip to Disney World, Sea World, and other popular attractions, but craft beer lovers will be happy to know that central Florida is also known for something else: A small but growing craft beer industry with some interesting products and establishments just waiting for your tourist dollar. Orlando Brewing is deserving of some time, not only for its status as the only USDA Organic certified brewery in the state, but also because it presents a nice change of pace from the usual central Florida tourist routine. Check it out during your next visit to the Orlando area and discover the difference that fresh, organic ingredients can make.