There has been a lot of buzz about Darwin's on 4th in Sarasota. I had been in the prior occupant of the building (Mad Crow) a few times but was only able to make a quick stop at Darwin's shortly after they opened. And now they are opening a brewery in Bradenton.

I reached out and Michael Lunn agreed to do a guest review of Darwin's on 4th. Hopefully he'll be interested in doing others about some of the other great places in his area.

Here's Michael's review...


A little over a year and a half ago I parked my car on 4th street and strolled into something I was very excited to see in Sarasota, our first true gastropub! Located on the corner of 4th St and Lemon Ave, Darwin’s on 4th has met or exceeded my expectations on that first, and subsequent visits.

The first thing that caught my eye when I walked in was the bar sporting 12 draft craft beers produced on site. Rustic beams, polished copper, and exposed brick work gives the place a nice established feel, which makes sense since Darwin’s resides in the historic Florida Citrus Exchange building, built in the early 1900s. To my right I’m greeted with an 18 foot tall glass wall giving me a view of the 7 barrel brewery where grain, water, hops, and yeast combine to form beer! A short walk to the left, past the stairs leading to the upstairs dining area, and I have entered the main dining room decorated with a modern take on traditional Peruvian themes, as well as the chef’s table and open kitchen with Chef Darwin Santamaria and his team taking care of the other half of the magic, the food.

Specializing in upscale Peruvian street food, the menu has something for everyone; a wide assortment of ceviche, anticuchos (skewers of cooked beef or chicken), braised short ribs, chicken and fish, along with weekend specials that are not to be missed. Working closely with the chef, Darwin’s on 4th’s brewmaster incorporates ingredients and flavors from the jungles of Peru to the Andean peaks, resulting in some very unique flavors and takes on traditional beer styles.

In their first year open, Darwins won an impressive 13 medals for their beers, along with Summadayze taking 3rd best beer in all of Florida. That being said, onto the beers!!

Darwin’s has 5 flagship beers that are typically available year round;


  • Ayawasca (Belgian Dubbel) - nice sweet finish, bubblegum and toffee notes
  • Charapa (Spiced Porter) - chocolate up front, a nice honey bridge, with a little heat back
  • Evolution (American Wheat) - refreshing, light body, spicy hop profile
  • Marron (Brown Ale) - medium body with great malt and toast flavors
  • Summadayze (West Coast IPA) - complex hop profile, citrus, spicy, grassy, nice lingering bitterness

I’m not a huge hop head, but I just can’t get enough of their Summadayze; its nice to have such a depth of flavor from an IPA. When I’m looking to beat back the Florida heat I’ll swing by for a few Evolution and a fresh Lima Chopped salad. But if you’re looking for a truly adventurous and unique beer, I definitely recommend Charapa; the Amazon cacao nibs, aji charapita peppers, annatto, and locally sourced orange blossom honey really come together in a symphony of flavors your taste buds will not expect. Unlike the typical pepper/chili beer where the heat comes at the front and masks the other flavors, the heat for Charapa shows up at the end, allowing you to enjoy all of the subtleties of the beer.

Darwin’s fills the remaining taps with seasonal creations and experimental beers that are not to be missed; some made once, with others showing up for repeat appearances. You could find a 14% ABV Zurich Lager, a light, sessionable Quinoa Cerveza, their incredible Lemongrass Saison, or their alcoholic take on Chicha Morada, a traditional Peruvian purple corn beverage. No matter what you find on draft, if its your first or fiftieth visit, you’re going to find something you will enjoy. And if you are having a hard time deciding between their awesome selections, Darwin’s offers sampler flights.

So hop in the car and take a ride (or walk/bike) down to Darwin’s on 4th for the food, the beer, and a great experience! Stop in early on the First Friday of the month for a special firkin release, or sign up for their Beer and Food Pairing dinner the last Wednesday of the month where you can eat with and ask questions of the brewmaster!

Pictures & review by Michael Lunn.