The Quest for the Holy Growler: Week 3


Summer’s over. Carbs are in. Celebrate the end of bikini season with a five-weekend, fall-inspired pour tour on the Central Florida Ale Trail.
by Amy Drew Thompson

This is Week 3 of a five-week series. For Week 1, click here; for Week 2 click here.

Central Florida Ale Trail map (click to enlarge)

Week 2: Malls in the middle

Hourglass Brewing, Longwood

Bowigen’s Beer Company, Casselberry

Cask & Larder, Winter Park

Deadly Sins Brewing, Winter Park

The Bear & Peacock, Winter Park

Not every brewery is housed in historic district digs. Some, like many of Orlando’s culinary gems, are tucked into nondescript shopping centers; others – like Winter Park’s Deadly Sins – in industrial parks. Customers, say the brewers, don’t much care. If the beer is good, they’ll come. And a long-term scavenger hunt – like a dog-friendly patio, a great selection of food trucks, live music or cornhole tournaments – is just another carrot.

“People get pretty excited about it, for sure,” says Matthew Gemmell of the Ale Trail map and its prized growler. Gemmell is one of two head brewers at Longwood’s Hourglass operation. Open since 2012, its expansive taproom seats upwards of 200, its backroom pros out churning plenty for the general public, along with geek-level offerings like the 5.5% ABV Harvester of Yarrow. A gruit ale, this ancient, herb-infused style predates the use of hops in beer making.

Gemmell says he sticks close to home when he samples, as do most taproom regulars. The Ale Trail has been a great way of getting locals to branch out.

“The growler – that’s $10 or $15 by itself depending on where you buy it,” he points out. “And fill-ups at any of the participating breweries are $1 off once you get it.”

For this section, we recommend starting here, then a quick meander to Bowigen’s – a small award-winning operation at the elbow of the Red Bug Lake Road/Semoran flyover – then winding down in Winter Park. Close out at the Bear & Peacock, where good eats are available via their own charcuterie board, or within walking distance at places including the Foxtail Farmhouse (coffee!), Create Your Nature (cleanse!) Reel Fish Coastal Kitchen or Winter Park Fish Co.