Walking Tree Brewery

Walking Tree Brewery, Craft Daddy Blog

Florida Craft Brewery: Walking Tree Brewery

Established: June 23rd, 2016Walking Tree Brewery, Craft Daddy Blog

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.

Walking Tree Brewery, Craft Daddy BlogCurrent 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 Walking Tree Brewery, Craft Daddy Blogmajority 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.Walking Tree Brewery, Craft Daddy Blog

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 Walking Tree Brewery, Craft Daddy Blogcontains 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.

Walking Tree Brewery, Craft Daddy BlogRegular 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.

Fun Facts:

-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 Walking Tree Brewery, Craft Daddy Blogenrich 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.


Walking Tree Brewery, Craft Daddy Blog

Orchid Island Brewery, florida craft beer, Vero Beach, craft daddy blog, Indian River County

Orchid Island Brewery

Florida Craft Brewery: Orchid Island Brewery (OIB) Orchid Island Brewery, florida craft beer, Vero Beach, craft daddy blog, Indian River County

Established: August 23rd, 2014

Location: 2855 Ocean Drive, Vero Beach, Florida 32963

Known For: Orchid Island’s motto is ’Grove to Glass Craft Beer Project.’ The citrus (grapefruit, orange, lemon, or key lime) is locally sourced from the growers of Indian River County and the majority of the beers they brew have citrus of some kind in the ingredients. The Star Ruby IPA is their most popular offering and is so popular in fact that it wasn’t available. Luckily I have had it in the past and it is a delicious grapefruit zest hop bomb.

Orchid Island Brewery, florida craft beer, Vero Beach, craft daddy blog, Indian River CountyCurrent Beer Menu: Because of OIB’s popularity and only having a 3 bbl (barrel) system they have a difficult time keeping their outside accounts and in-house taps flowing with their own beers. The four taps they did have on were the Duncan White Grapefruit Pale Ale, Indian River Grapefruit IPA, Jungle Trail Black IPA, and the OIB Berliner Weisse. To expand the beer list a bit OIB has been experimenting with boiling down fruit into a syrup, which is then added to the Berliner Weisse upon request. The two options were cherry key lime and ruby-red grapefruit. I was a bit skeptical at first, but both additions turned out to be very good. My favorite offering of the day was the Duncan White Grapefruit Pale Ale. It had a crisp, easy drinkability with just the right amount of grapefruit not trying to steal the show. The Indian River Grapefruit IPA was a bit more hop forward with the Ruby Red Grapefruit jumping through to smack your taste buds in just the right way. The base Berliner Weisse was a great example of the style, but adding the syrup to it really gave it that Florida Weisse tropical feel. The Jungle Trail Black IPA is brewed with Indian River White Grapefruit zest, Citra, and Nelson Sauvin hops. It was actually more brown in color than black, had a creamy mouth feel, and left intricate lacing on the glass down to the last drop. It was not as hoppy as I prefer and my least favorite out of the tapped beers, which isn’t saying much when the 3 beers I rated ahead of it were very good. OIB also keeps a hefty list of ten rotating guest beers that mainly represent Florida’s ever-growing craft beer scene.Orchid Island Brewery, florida craft beer, Vero Beach, craft daddy blog, Indian River County

Price Range: Flights consist of any four beers in 5oz pours for $8.00. A pint can be had for between $6.00 and $7.00. Growlers are available for OIB’s beers only and will run you $10.00 for a 32oz fill and $20.00 for a 64oz fill. If you don’t already have a growler to fill the glass will cost you $12.00 for the 32oz and $20 for the 64oz.

Wine Menu: OIB keeps the most extensive wine list (eleven white and ten red) that I have seen in a brewery to date. A glass will run you between $7.00 and $10.00.

Orchid Island Brewery, florida craft beer, Vero Beach, craft daddy blog, Indian River CountyFood Menu: OIB is on the rare side when it comes to food and Florida breweries. Unlike most they actually have an in-house kitchen. I ordered a bratwurst and sauerkraut with potato salad that I would absolutely order again. The general consensus in the room seemed to be that the food was damn good. You can check out the menu here.

Ambiance: OIB is a warm and welcoming establishment. Windows on three sides allow for an abundance of natural light to pour through while tunes from the likes of Slightly Stoopid, SOJA, and Rebelution play overhead. Being established in the Town of Orchid Island they, of course, have an abundance of orchids throughout the tasting room, which is a bit smaller than the majority of breweries I’ve reviewed but fits in perfectly with the small town feel. Vero Beach is a known vacation spot for South Floridians who want to get away from the city for a weekend and relax on the beautiful beach, which is walking distance from the brewery. The brewhouse is also open for impromptu tours as long as a bartender is available.Orchid Island Brewery, florida craft beer, Vero Beach, craft daddy blog, Indian River County

Bar Seating: Five high tops (4 – 6 seats), four tables (4 – 6 seats), and 18 seats at the bar make up the indoor seating while seven tables in the courtyard complete the seating arrangements.

Staff: Eric offered up informational tidbits and a tour of the brew house while pouring beers. Athena was called in from the bullpen once the crowd swelled and growlers needed filling. Both were very courteous and took my questions (while serving others) in stride like champs.

Merch: OIB keeps it simple by only selling men’s and women’s t-shirts, for $20.00 a piece, in a multitude of colors.

Orchid Island Brewery, florida craft beer, Vero Beach, craft daddy blog, Indian River CountyMembership offered: No membership or VIP is offered and nothing is planned for the immediate future.

Best days or time of year to go:  I arrived at 1:00pm on a Friday and there was a steady flow of craft beer hungry folk coming in up until I left around 4:00pm, which is when the after work crowd really started to file in. Space at the bar literally shrank by the minute and from what I was told Saturday stays just as busy. If you’re looking for a time to enjoy a citrus infused brew without the crowd Tuesday through Thursday before 4:00 should be your target.

Regular Hours: Tuesday – Thursday: 11:30am – 10:00pm, Friday – Saturday: 11:30am – 12:00amOrchid Island Brewery, florida craft beer, Vero Beach, craft daddy blog, Indian River County

Happy Hour: Tuesday through Thursday all beers are $5.00.

Fun Facts:

-Alden Bing, owner and brewmaster, still holds a 40-hour workweek as a regional branch manager for a bank. Because of that, most of the brewing is done on the weekends.

-When OIB opened in August 2014 they did so with a three-barrel brewhouse, very small tasting room, and courtyard space. By November, they had outgrown that space and moved into The Tavern, which offers more seating and in-house served food.

-All of the citrus used in OIB’s beer are donated by growers directly from their home county of Indian River.

Orchid Island Brewery, florida craft beer, Vero Beach, craft daddy blog, Indian River County-Indian River County and the Town of Orchid Island are known for growing the world’s most premium citrus.

-There are plans in the works for a new twenty-barrel brewhouse off of Route 60 a mile or so east of I-95.

-OIB’s barrel program currently consists of five barrels. Four of the barrels formerly held Opus One red wine, while the fifth barrel held a Portuguese Port, Angel’s Envy Bourbon, OIB’s Black Orchid Imperial Stout, and now finally a dark saison. The four Opus One barrels currently hold OIB’s Citron Grovehouse Ale each with six pounds of Meyer Lemon zest. One barrel holds the saison with no treatment while the other three were treated with a yeast (Brettanomyces) and or a bacteria (Pediococcus and Lactobacillus). One barrel was treated with Brettanomyces, one with Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus, and the third with Pediococcus Lactobacillus and Brettanomyces.

Overall Rating (1-5): A great atmosphere, courteous staff and delicious beer equal a rating of 4.75.

What was missing: Unfortunately, neither the Star Ruby Imperial IPA nor Citron Grovehouse Ale were on tap while I was visiting. With the Orchid Island Brewery, florida craft beer, Vero Beach, craft daddy blog, Indian River Countydemand for OIB’s beer being so high they have a hard time keeping their beer on tap in the tasting room. There certainly could be worse problems to have.

In closing, OIB may be a little out-of-the-way, but if you’re passing through the area or getting away from city life for a long weekend they are definitely one to check out.

Did I leave anything out or is there something else you would like to know about the Orchid Island Brewery? Please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment below.