The Quest for the Holy Growler: Week 2


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 2 of a five-week series. For Week 1, click here.

Central Florida Ale Trail map (click to enlarge)

Week 2: Beer in the  Bokey

Red Cypress Brewery, Winter Springs 

Wop’s Hops Brewing Company, Sanford

Sanford Brewing Company, Sanford

Inner Compass Brewing Company, Sanford

Deviant Wolf Brewing, Sanford

In the event you’ve been living under a rock – or never leave Orlando proper – Sanford, which right now boasts four breweries, a craft beer bar (Celery City Craft), a cidery (Tuffy’s Bottle Shop) and a roster of craft cocktail options, has arrived. It’s beautiful. It’s walkable. It’s historic. It’s lakeside. It hosts regular street parties and festivals. And its new Ride Lime service – an adorable green golf cart with ample seating – gives FREE RIDES anywhere in the historic district. Yes, really. Its drivers are Sanford pros, too, whether you want city history or a restaurant recommendation.  

That said, for this fiver, your appetizer is Winter Springs’ Red Cypress Brewery, where Head Brewer Garrett Ward’s operation is putting out a new offering every two to three weeks. IPAs to sours, pilsners to big, chocolate-coffee stouts. “We like to provide something for everyone,” he says, adding that they’re stamping passports just about every day.  

Red Cypress is a national award winner, and if you pop in on Sundays, you can enjoy a yoga class in the Zen presence of its shiny fermenters. Bonus: The benefits of savasana are prolonged by a post-pranayama pint.  

A quick, scenic ride over Lake Jesup on the 417 and you’re up in Sanford, where order matters not. Each is an easy amble to the next, though a good strategy might have you finishing up at Sanford Brewing, where live music and a vast menu of food – custom mac and cheese, anyone? – await. Fans of sour beers will likely love Deviant Wolfe’s impressive array, including the Sour Not Sorry IPA.  

Mother of the year, I brought my 9-year-old and our special edition Simpsons Uno and we played while I sampled. But I wasn’t the only patron with a tot in tow. In fact, many of the breweries on the Ale Trail happily cater to thirsty parents whose (well-behaved) children and dogs are welcome.

Peter Minelga and Greg Piecora at Wop’s Hops. Photo by Visual Cuisines.