We recently visited what I would call a hidden gem, Orlando Brewing, just outside of the downtown Orlando area. They recently celebrated their 10th anniversary and are one of only a few certified organic hand crafted brewers in the country and currently the only one in Florida. They brew in accordance with the German Purity Law of 1516. Their ales range from light & easy-drinking IPA's to deep, dark, robust porters. The beer is fresh and never pasteurized.

Orlando Brewing began when a group of regulars bought the brewing equipment when their favorite microbrewery closed up. Originally they operated out of a store front surrounded by body shops, window tint shops, etc. They brewed their first batch on November 22, 2001. After a couple of years, as their following grew, they eventually grew out of that space and moved into their current location.

They are located in a warehouse district near the Orlando Amtrack station and a small sign by the road directs you to their tap room where you can sample their beers. They also offer great brewery tours, which I recommend, Monday through Saturday evenings at 6pm.

There were about 15 different beers on tap the evening that we were there and we enjoyed sampling several. All were what I would call well rounded beers and were very easy to drink. While there were what appeared to be a few tourists around the bar, there were also a number of local regulars who know a good thing when the see it. The atmosphere was lively in the well decorated room with music playing and the lights dimmed a bit. They have live entertainment on most weekends too.

We were surprised to find out that the bar staff takes the “will work for beer” saying to heart. The bartenders literally do just that (plus tips). We later found out that many of the folks working in the brewery are also volunteers who work for beer (and yeast in the case of the home brewers).

Gene, our tour guide and one of the owners, was very informative and interesting. Besides the usual brewing process speeches most tours provide, Gene explained how organic beers differ from the mass produced beers that you might find on your grocers shelves. He also went through the history of the brewery.

Even though you can find their beers in several hotels and bars around Orlando and Disney as well as most Orlando area ABC stores, I highly recommend taking a break from the parks and stopping by for a pint or two.

You can learn more about Orlando Brewing on their website.

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