Florida Craft Brewery: Islamorada Beer Company – South Location
Established: October 31st, 2014
Location: 82229 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada, Florida 32026
Known For: Located 82 miles north of Key West, the Islamorada Beer Company is known for their easy drinking fun in the sun beers. Whether it’s a day on the water, a day at the beach, or a day doing yard work, their beers are designed with the hot summer days of Florida in mind. Islamorada has taken the flag for session beers and run with it. If the outdoors is your playground, you are their target.
Current Beer Menu: My family and I were down in the Keys for a wedding so it was a perfect opportunity to hit one of the two breweries located on Islamorada. Having reviewed the location in Fort Pierce already, I skipped their core beers to focus on what I hadn’t tried yet. Islamorada had eleven of their own beers on tap during my visit. Since I had already tried ‘Sandbar Sunday’, ‘Islamorada Ale’, ‘No Tan Lines’, and ‘Channel Marker’ during my visit to their Fort Pierce production facility and tap room I focused on the remaining seven. My first beer of the day was a coconut key lime Blonde named ‘No Wake Zone’. I got the slightest bit of both coconut and key lime. It certainly has a lot of potential. In talking to the head brewer, Stephanie, I learned that she was in the process of working on the recipe so it could be upscaled at the production facility. The coconut used is roasted in-house.
The northern facility has purchased an oven to do the same. Next up was a Cascade dry-hopped mango infused Blonde called the ‘Last Flight Out’. I got a lot of mango on the nose with a just enough mango on the tongue followed by a lite hop bite. ‘Treasure Coast’ is a Vienna Lager that is sweeter than what’s normally typical for the style. That sweetness added a little something extra to a style I don’t normally care for. Their Traditional Lager, Wyland, was next. This is the beer that will act as a gateway to all things craft for the patron who stops in asking for a Budweiser. The Queen Conch Raspberry (Tart) Ale opens up as it warms bringing forth a nice dose of raspberry puree. I only got the slightest hint of tartness from the raspberries. I guess tart is listed on the menu so it doesn’t come as a surprise to someone who may not have a familiarity with all of the different nuances of craft beer. My favorite beer of the day was a vanilla coffee Stout called ‘Buzz on Charters’. I got a lot of coffee on the nose with just the slightest backing of vanilla. The taste was completely vice versa for me. The vanilla took over giving the coffee a backseat. At 6.7% abv it’s one of the bigger beers they brew. My last beer of the day was a Blonde Ale named ‘Go Fish’. It was nice, crisp and quite enjoyable.
Price Range: A flight will get you four 4oz beers for $8.00. Each additional pour is $2.00. A pint will run you $6.00 across the board. Growlers in both 32oz and 64oz are offered as well. The 32oz growler glass will run you $8.00 and the fill of the growler will also cost you $8.00. The 64oz glass will run $14 and the fill will also run you $15.00.
Wine Menu: A number of styles are offered by the glass for $6.00, but come on now you aren’t there for the wine.
Food Menu/Food Trucks: Food trucks aren’t a legal form of food distribution in Islamorada just yet. Thankfully though you can have food delivered or try one of their prepackaged items. Fish dip for $7.00, hummus for $3.50, and Boar’s Head meat/cheese for $5.50.
Ambiance: The Florida Keys are one of those places I visit just to get away from everything. You can feel the weight of the world slowly fall away as you cross the Miami-Dade-Monroe County line. It’s hard to miss The Islamorada Beer Co. with its brightly colored exterior. You are greeted by an explosion of neon yellow and turquoise as you walk through the front door. Some might think its gaudy, but in the Keys, it fits in perfectly with the tropical feel. Overhead you’ll hear music from bands like Sublime and Dispatch, adding to that relaxing feeling that has already taken a hold of you. Nothing, but good vibes flow through those doors. If chilling at the bar isn’t your thing Giant Jenga, a Foosball table, Giant Connect Four, and a number of board games are available to pass the time.
Bar Seating: The bar is split into two sections and holds a total of twelve seats. There are seven tables holding four seats each, a picnic-style table, and additional seating out back.
Staff: Luckily head brewer Stephanie Harper was not only on site during my visit, but also single-handedly running the bar. Stephanie moved down to the Keys from Delaware five years ago to become a scuba instructor. The brewery became her go-to spot and she eventually started bartending while helping to brew on the side. One and a half years ago ownership sat Steph down and asked her to take over the head brewer’s position. With no formal training, she learns on the job and reads everything she can get her hands on regarding the subject. The rest, as they say, is history. Steph was a pleasure to talk to while handling the rest of the patrons. I don’t think she could be more personable if she tried. The Islamorada Beer Co. is lucky to have her. They are currently looking for additional bar help. The only prerequisites are having a bit of experience, the ability to show up on time, and arriving mostly sober. It’s a Keys thing!
Brewing System: Islamorada South brews on a two-barrel system.
Merch: Wow, does Islamorada have merch! They devote a decent sized section in the tap room to all of the merch they offer. They offer everything from koozies, bottle openers, stickers, glasses, tumblers, bar signs, t-shirts, fishing shirts, hats, and even calendars. If you want something they most likely offer it. You can view everything they have to offer here.
Membership offered: At this time nothing is offered.
Best days or time of year to go: During the week before the end of the work day is you best time to get a seat at the bar.
Regular Hours: Monday – Saturday: 12:00pm – 9:00pm and Sunday 12:00pm – 6:00pm
Happy Hour: Buy one get one pints are available Monday through Friday from 5:00 to 7:00.
-Islamorada is the number one top-selling craft beer throughout the Florida Keys.
-Before opening the production brewery in Fort Pierce the Islamorada Beer Co. contract brewed at the Beltway Brewing Co. in Virginia, the Olde Saratoga Brewing Co. in New York, back to the Beltway Brewing Co., and finally to the Thomas Creek Brewery in South Carolina.
-The boat pictured below can be found in the tasting room. It is the first boat part owner Chris Trentine owned.
-There were only three beers available during the grand opening. Realizing they needed another offering the partners began mixing the beers only to discover that the ‘Sandbar Sunday Wheat Ale’ and the ‘Islamorada Ale’ go very well together. The wine rep. who was on site at the time suggested calling the concoction ‘No Tan Lines’ and it stuck.
-The ‘Wyland Traditional Lager’ was named after artist Robert Wyland, who is best known as simply, Wyland. He helped brew the inaugural batch. He is a renowned marine life artist known for his Whaling Walls.
Overall Rating (1-5): If you’re looking for an easy drinking session brew to take out on your fishing trip Islamorada is the beer for you. Their beers are built around the sun and fun life of the Florida Keys. I am rating the Islamorada Beer Co. a 3.75 out of 5.
What was missing: Being a fan of bigger meatier beers it’s always a letdown when a brewery doesn’t have one available. Of course in saying that the heat and humidity of the Florida Keys aren’t exactly the place you want the high abv beers. As much as I love big stouts, porters, and barleywines they aren’t my go-to styles when I’m sitting on the beach fishing.
In closing, going into the review I knew Islamorada primarily focused on session brews with the oddball higher abv thrown in around the holidays. I look forward to the next trip we take down to the Keys knowing there’s a friendly spot to stop, grab a pint, and shoot the shit.
Is there something else you would like to know about the Islamorada Beer Company? Please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment below.