Florida Craft Brewery: Walking Tree Brewery
Established: June 23rd, 2016
Location: 3209 Dodger Road, Vero Beach, FL 32960
Known For: Walking Tree Brewery’s most popular offering is a 6.4% abv American Wheat called ‘Sandy Feet’ that has a bit of a hop bite to it. The ‘Babycakes Oatmeal Stout’ is their oldest recipe. Unfortunately, it wasn’t on tap on my visit, but I was able to try it directly from the bright tank. At only 5.4% abv it won’t knock you down, but the roasted barley and chocolate will have you coming back for more.
Current Beer Menu: On top of what I mentioned above, there were eleven other brewed in-house beers on tap along with the ‘Original Cider’ from Crispin for the non-beer drinkers. ‘Straw Hat Blonde’ was crisp and clean with a slightly bready undertone. ‘Daily Chores Table Saison’ had a bit of citrus on the nose and was nicely done. The White Walking Tree IPA uses Simcoe, Cascade, and CTZ hops. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t my favorite IPA. The ‘I Got A Guy Hoppy Pale Ale’ is filled with Mosaic hops and is very easy drinking. It’s one of those beers you can sit back and drink a few of while lounging on the beach. ‘St. Mulway’s Offering’ is an 8% abv scotch ale with a sweet malt backbone served on Nitro that I really enjoyed. The ‘Prop Root English Pale Ale’ had a nice earthy aroma and the typical bready flavor that you would expect from an English style beer, but with an added hoppy bitterness. The ‘Barnacled Manatee English Barleywine’ was sweet with notes of toffee, caramel, and a slight hop bite. I was also able to try a taste of the Barleywine that was being aged in Pinot Noir barrels. Even though it wasn’t quite ready for release the flavors were playing off of each other beautifully. ‘Single Girlfriend’ is Walking Tree’s take on a Radler. The grapefruit was there, but I was hoping for just a bit more. The ‘Brackish Brown Ale’ was good but fell more to the bottom of my list for the day. ‘Candyman’, a Belgian Tripel, was a nicely done sweet treat with a bite of the 9.5% abv coming through. The ‘Breconshire Imperial Porter’ had a roasted almost burnt coffee flavor with a bit of chocolate thrown into the mix. Breconshire was also resting in both bourbon and Pinot Noir barrels. For one of my final beers of the day I was brought a taster of Li Bai, a barrel aged sour with Loquat fruit, which was actually brewed before the brewery opened their doors. It was a great indicator of what is to come from this brewery when it comes to brewing sours.
Price Range: A flight of five 4oz pours will cost you $8.00, but there is a upcharge of $2.00 each if you order a beer of 9% abv or higher. The majority of their beers cost $5.00 or $6.00, but the higher abv’s will run you $7.00 for the typically smaller pour of 10oz. Growlers are available in both 32oz ($7.00) and 64oz ($9.00) sizes. Filling a 32oz growler will cost between $8.00 and $12.00 and a 64oz will cost between $14.00 and $18.00 depending on the beer.
Wine Menu: Both red and white wine is available for $8.00 per glass.
Food Menu/Food Trucks: Chips and light snacks are available from the bar. You can also have food delivered from the neighborhood eateries. Food trucks are typically available Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and also during special events.
Ambiance: One of the first things you notice walking into the brewery are the beautiful rafters that are exposed throughout the 24,000 sqft open air warehouse style building. A number of large industrial fans whirl overhead, which will certainly help keep the heat at bay during the summer months. Next, you’ll be hard pressed not to want to shimmy up to the 50 foot ‘L’ shaped Laurel Oak bar and plop down in front of the 16 taps that are handsomely encased in four pieces of Rosewood. The space as a whole is quite large and welcoming. The tap room and brewery are only separated by a bar top, which was once in Duke Snider’s (Brooklyn/L.A. Dodgers great) Bar. The happenings at the brewery are there for all to see, which is always nice. For those who would rather not just sit and chat over their beers, there are games such as corn hole, giant Jenga, and darts to keep you busy.
Bar Seating: There are fifteen seats at the bar and eleven tables split between both high tops and picnic tables.
Staff: Tasting Room Manager, Eric, was tending bar when I walked in and sat down. He was deep into conversation with a local patron but quickly tended to my needs. He knew the beers well and seemed genuinely happy to be working at such a fine establishment. Operations Manager and occasional brewer, Danny Rey, joined Eric behind the bar for a bit as the rush hour crowd began to file in. He showed me around the brewery and answered all of my questions in stride. CEO, Alan Dritenbas, who handles both the barrel and sour programs, spent some time talking about their beers and their involvement in Civil Society Brewing’s upcoming 1st Anniversary block party. He also eagerly offered a taste of the aforementioned BA ‘Li Bai’ and the BA ‘Barnacled Manatee’. Unfortunately, President and Head Brewer, Mike Malone, wasn’t onsite during my visit.
Brewing System: Walking Tree brews on a 20 bbl (barrel) system that was fabricated in St. Petersburg, FL by BrewFab, LLC. The system also contains a 20 bbl mash loader, 40 bbl whirlpool, two 20 bbl bright tanks, two twenty bbl fermenters, and three 40 bbl fermenters.
Merch: Men’s and women’s t-shirts are available for $20.00, fishing shirts for $30.00, and brewers work shirts for $40.00. Glassware is also available and ranges in price from $3.00 to $10.00.
Membership offered: There is currently no membership available, but there is the possibility of a bottle club in the future.
Best days or time of year to go: If you’re looking for the time to experience Walking Tree with the least amount of people possible, both Monday and Tuesday starting at 3:00 pm would be the time to arrive.
Regular Hours: Monday – Thursday: 3:00pm – 10:00pm, Friday: 3:00pm – 12:00 am, Saturday: 12:00pm – 12:00am, & Sunday: 12:00pm – 8:00pm
Happy Hour: Monday – Thursday: 5:00pm – 7:00pm. $1.00 off draft beer and wine.
-The building was constructed in 1945 by the U.S. Navy as an aviation supply warehouse during WWII.
-The roof trusses, rafters, beams, and also the benches are all made from Dade County Pine and are a part of the original construction. Dade County Pine is no longer available due to South Florida being overrun by man. The wood is known for its almost concrete like strength. The older the piece of wood, the stronger it becomes due to the resin build up within the wood.
-Walking Tree signed on with J.J. Taylor and is currently distributed to restaurants and bars from Sebastian to Stuart, FL.
-The brewery volunteers its time to the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) to help lay oyster beds in the Indian River, which in turn helps to enrich habitat and improve water quality.
Overall Rating (1-5): I am rating the Walking Tree Brewery a 4.25. I loved the building and the history behind it. The staff was top-notch. Plus, for only being open five months (at the time of my visit in November), I was impressed with their lineup of beers.
What was missing: Just about every style of beer was on tap, including all of my favorites so I am hard pressed to come up with anything that was missing.
In closing, Walking Tree Brewing is certainly a stop that should be on your list if you’re in the area with the family or just in town on business.
Is there something else you would like to know about the Walking Tree Brewery? Please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment below.