Looking for a true craft beer bar in Downtown Orlando? Check out Tap and Grind at 59 West Central!
I stopped by Tap and Grind the other day for a visit with the bar's owner Jason. He gave me a tour of the place and we talked for a while about his fine establishment. It was great to find out that everything about Tap and Grind is local. Local art on the walls, local wood makes up the bar, and as much local and regional craft beer as Jason can get flows from his 16 taps.
Tap and Grind is located directly across the street from the fire station at the base of the parking garage at 59 West Central Blvd and is without a doubt one of the most thoughtfully crafted local dinking establishments in all of Orlando. And if that's not enough, they also have the coolest restrooms in town!
The Aloha theme is everywhere at Tap and Grind. It's on the walls, behind the bar, in the beer, and even in restrooms.
As for the "Tap", TAG has 16 craft beers on draft at all times with an emphasis placed on local and regional craft beers. As for the "Grind", Tap and Grind plans to soon be serving specialty coffee from 6-10 am and they even plan to roast their own beans. As far as I know, the combination of great beer and great coffee in one establishment is a first here in Orlando!
There is a lot of really cool and interesting art throughout TAG. I can't say that I have ever taken photographs of a restroom before... Ever! But I couldn't seem to get enough shots of the ones here. A LOT of time was spent designing these bathrooms. You could probably spend an hour in there just looking around! It gets even cooler when you turn the flourescent lights off and the black lights on... The amount of detail in there really blew my mind!
Tap and Grind is a very chill little spot in Downtown Orlando that has a constantly rotating selection of quality craft beer. Owner Jason is passionate about great beer and genuinely wants everyone to have an awesome time that walks through his doors! Be sure to let us know what you think of the place next time you stop by. Aloha!
Munich Oktoberfest Pictures!
If I had a nickel for every time I've made plans to attend the annual Munich Oktoberfest celebration in Germany I would be a very wealthy individual. For whatever reason though my plans have sadly yet to come to fruition. Our friend George from Orlando Brewing just came back from the trip of a lifetime to Germany and Belgium and was nice enough to share a few of his Oktoberfest pictures with Orlando Beer Guide. For now, I guess we'll have to live vicariously through him. Thanks again George... Prost!
Hats off to the folks at Anthony's for hosting a great beer tasting dinner on Tuesday night. There was some really great beer, a mammoth amount of excellent food, and a lot of really cool people on hand to enjoy the evening. I was really impressed with the quality of this event. At $30 per person, this is a fantastic value and we highly recommend checking it out the next time it comes around.
It was exciting to see that several additional beers and food items were added to the menu that was originally posted online!
The festivities started off with a mozzarella Tomato Basil Salad paired with Batch 69 Double Cream ale.
The Double Cream Ale only became available in bottles just very recently. Cigar City rep Lucas Widrick told us that it was the first time he started off a beer dinner with a 9% ABV beer. We thought it was a great choice as the Batch 69 was everyone at our table's favorite beer of the night!
Anthony's Classic Italian Salad paired with Batch 69 Double Cream Ale.
Coal oven roasted chicken wings smothered in carmelized onions paired with Maduro Brown Ale!
Pork ribs with vinegar peppers paired with Tocobaga Red Ale.
Some cool folks we shared a table with during the beer pairing dinner toasting the occasion!
It almost became comical at one point as to how much food was being brought out. They actually served 4 different pizzas that were all about this size! This first pizza was a fresh mozzarella sliced tomato basil and was paired with CCB Table Saison.
"Paul and Young Ron Pizza" paired with Jai Alai IPA.
Cigar City Brewing's Central Florida Rep Lucas Widrick and Brown Distributing Rep Mike Paul really like their jobs.
One final toast with the Big Sound ale! The rich, complex flavors of this Scotch ale paired nicely with a slice of New York cheesecake. It was a perfect way to finish up the night.
It's exciting for us to see the variety of beer dinners that are starting to take place here in Central Florida. The purpose of a beer pairing dinner is basically to celebrate the marriage of beer and food and these special events are starting to take place at a variety of different restaurants around town. We wanted to tell you about three of them that are coming up in the next couple weeks. One at a coal fired pizza place, one at a sushi restaurant, and one at a Southern Public House!
Cigar City Beer Tasting Dinner @ Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza Tuesday 10/16
Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza, the South Florida-based concept that uses authentic coal-burning ovens to create “well done pizza,” is teaming up with Cigar City Brewing for a Craft Beer Tasting Dinner. The event will be held Tuesday October 16th at 7 p.m at Anthony’s in Orlando, located at 8031 Turkey Lake Road in the Whole Foods Shopping Center.
The dinner will feature Anthony’s “Well Done” pizza and Italian Soul Food paired with a variety of Cigar City craft beers. Special guest Lucas Widrick, Central Florida Representative for Cigar City, will host the event. The special Craft Beer Tasting Dinner includes:
* Cigar City Batch 69 Double Cream Ale paired with Anthony’s Classic Italian Salad and Fresh
Mozzarella & Tomato Salad
* Maduro Brown Ale paired with Meatballs with Ricotta Cheese and Coal Oven Roasted Chicken
* Tocobaga Red Ale paired with Pork Ribs with Vinegar Peppers
* Table Saison paired with Fresh Mozzarella, Sliced Tomato & Basil, and Broccoli Rabe &
Sausage “Well Done” Pizzas
Beer Dinner @ Crave 10/20
Beer Dinner @ Cask & Larder on 10/28
This event has the makings of something really special! Ron Raike of Cask and Larder and Wayne Wambles of Cigar City Brewing will both be providing the beers for this special evening. The beer dinner is set to consist of 4 courses with Wayne and Ron providing a beer for each course. The beers are going to be specially made to pair with the menu selections. The menu has yet to be released but it's sure to be pretty awesome! The reception starts at 6pm and cost is $65 plus tax & gratuity. You can call to make your reservation at 321-280-4200.
Good Music, Good Food, Good Drink and Good Friends = The Taste of Thornton Park! A great local event that features local merchants and the incredible "tastes" they offer. From fantastic wines, incredible cocktails and refreshing beers to savory entrée samples and sensational sweets – this event has it all!
Proceeds from Taste of Thornton Park fund various community events throughout Thornton Park as well as landmark projects like the Four Rivers fountain (at the intersection of Washington & Hyer) and the great Thornton Park neighborhood sign at the north entry to the neighborhood.
Tickets are $30 in advance, $40 day of the event. Tickets are available at The Falcon Bar, Publix (400 E Central Blvd) or on-line @ http://www.thorntonpark.org/index.html
Animal Medical Clinic
Falcon Bar & Gallery
Nick's Italian Kitchen
Prickly Pear Steakhouse
AURA Bar & Restaurant (at 101 Eola)
Altamoda Hair Lounge @ Be Boutique
Orange Blossom Pilsner
Neighborhood Rogue (catered by Dubsdread)
One of the few things I remember from my 4 years at Washington and Jeffferson College is a lecture from one of my history professors on the drinking habits of the founding fathers of our country. "James Madison drank a pint of whiskey every morning with his breakfast". I remember that line specifically. How could you ever forget something like that? I remember thinking that the man who drafted one of the most important documents in the history of the United States of America (the Bill of Rights) did so after polishing off the equivilant of 10 shots of whiskey! One has to wonder how our lives might be different today if Madison was drinking a much more mellow pumpkin ale instead?
Believe it or not, pumpkin beers are not a new thing. The first pumpkin ales were brewed by European colonists in North America as early as the mid 1600's. Pumpkins were a native plant that were readily accessible so it only made sense to make beer out of them. It is widely believed that Ben Franklin, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson all brewed pumpkin beer. Our founding fathers would most likely be flipping their wigs if they had access to the gargantuan selection of pumpkin ales we have today! Can you imagine those guys sitting down and sharing a couple bottles of Sam Adam's Fat Jack Double Pumpkin ale?
Thomas Jefferson has been referred to as the biggest wine connoisseur to ever occupy the white house. He also got into brewing beer toward the end of his life and the recipe for his pumpkin ale is probably one of the most historically significant beer recipes that still remains. Three cheers for pumpkin beers! They are literally everywhere this month in Orlando! See our list of pumpkin events below for the rest of the month of October. Please let us know if you know of any others.
Pumpkin Beer Nights in Orlando!
Thursday October 18th
World of Beer Dr. Phillips Pumpkinfest
Saturday October 20
Frank N Steins Pumpkin Tap Takeover
Orlando Brewing Grateful Pumpkin Ale Release Party
Tuesday October 23
Oblivion Taproom's Pumpkin Spooktacular
16 Drafts of Pumpkin Beers and Ciders!
Friday October 26th
World of Beer Lake Mary Pumpkinfest
I’ve been behind the bar at three different manifestations of Redlight Redlight. Since my friend Brent has yet to bartend at his nationally recognized, award winning beer parlour’s most recent spot, I’m the only person who can say that. During that time I’ve been voted Orlando’s best bartender twice by the Orlando Weekly’s readers’ poll and had a word in urbandictionary.com coined after me, and no, I didn’t post it myself. As far as the internet is concerned, to be “teeged” is to let your bartender pick out your next beer for you. This is particularly handy when you are drinking somewhere that has as diverse a selection as Redlight Redlight and being served by someone, like myself, who has sampled more different types of beer than he can possibly recount. Tell me your favorite beer. If we don’t have it, I’ll find you something close. Tell me a flavor your palate desires, and I’ll pick you a beer out of Redlight’s enormous collection that you are guaranteed to enjoy. This is not some preternatural ability. This kind of knowledge comes from years of research.
When Redlight closed on Bennett Road we all thought the new location at 2810 Corrine Drive would be open within a week. This did not happen. Two weeks went by and my bank account began to wilt away. When October’s rent began to rear its ugly head, I knew I had to find a way to make a few quick dollars. Fortunately, I have some amazing friends in this city. Friends who own amazing bars. Friends who had been teeged and liked it. When I offered to whore my bartending, beer drinking expertise to whomever would take me, these incredible people didn’t hesitate to offer me shelter. I packed my bindle and set out into Orlando’s various neighborhoods, each night learning new POS systems and new draft lists, and hopefully, paying back some of the generosity I’d been shown.
I love Oblivion Taproom’s owner Pete Wesenberg because he was one my best regulars before his own bar and grill opened a year ago, he gave me two incredible nights serving drinks at this bar, and he is one of the only people I know who is balder than I am. His head is as smooth as the Q-ball on his pool table, and his kitchen’s creative interpretations of bar grub are some of the best food in Orlando. Monday night he orchestrated a Redlight Redlight take over for my starving coworkers and me, pleasing those of our regulars who had grown pale with lovesickness during their lonely month without us. Pete had just tapped kegs of Green Flash’s West Coast IPA and Hop Head Red, two excellent beers that had arrived in Orlando during Redlight’s hiatus. I do enjoy educating myself.
If you ever want to drink fantastic wine and beer with the tranquil eyes of the Buddha smiling beatifically upon you, head to The Imperial at Washburn Imports located at 1800 N. Orange Avenue, right in the middle of antique row. One can’t help feeling worldly and traveled at The Imperial, which is a bar built right in the middle of a furniture store and is decked out in owner John Washburn’s exotic acquisitions. Our good friend Brett Banta, The Imperial’s manager, put together a Redlight Redlight take over of his own and along with my colleagues Jess and Sara, I survived a totally slammed Tuesday night. I guess Redlight’s regulars just can’t get enough of us. Or maybe they just love beer. It certainly didn’t hurt that Brett had just tapped Orlando’s first keg of Sierra Nevada’s exclusive beer camp’s newest creation Lost Guy Rye, which our very own Brent Hernandez helped to create. Despite the packed crowd, I found time to continue my research.
The next night I returned to Oblivion Taproom to help out with their popular Wing Wednesday. Basket after basket of mouth watering wings passed under my nose, but as I scrambled to fill the glasses of a parched and ravenous crowd, I didn’t find time to indulge. The Oblivion’s regular bartender Matt and a patient weight staff tolerated my blunders with the unfamiliar POS system and enormous list of ciders, by far the biggest selection in town. By last call, I felt like one of the gang. After a busy and thirst-inducing shift, I was eager to spend my tips on any of the Oblivion’s forty taps, but Pete, ever the philanthropist, wouldn’t hear of it and bought me a couple of pints himself.
The Falcon at 819 E. Washington Street in the middle of Thorton Park is arguably the hippest bar in town, though owners John and Melissa Felcman are much too modest to ever make that claim themselves. Their recent addition, a small lounge known as the Red Room, is one of the strangest and most original drinking spaces I’ve ever seen. An homage to the motion picture The Shining, it looks like it was lifted straight out of the Overlook Hotel and opened in conjunction with the Redrum art show, which featured work inspired by Kubrick’s classic film. Functioning as much as a gallery as it does a bar, The Falcon host some of the finest art shows in town, and if this isn’t enough, its head bartender Karen Russell is one of the most talented painters in Orlando. Thursday night she was generous enough to show me the ropes, share her tips, and even had me drinking straight out of the tap for a photo shoot that required so many retakes I had beer running down my beard by the end of it. Fish Out of Water’s sushi kept the customers thirsty and Karen and I kept them quaffed with three dollar pints of Rogue Mocha Porter, and absolutely unbeatable deal.
By Friday we were splashing a final coat of paint on Redlight and on Saturday, in time for Audubon Park’s Zombietoberfest, we opened our doors to the public. The response and turnout were overwhelming. Dripping with fake blood, I endured the busiest single night of bartending I’ve experienced since I started slinging beers five years ago, and though the digs and even some of the faces were new, it began to feel like home. As good as it is to be home, it’s even better when you know your neighbors have got your back. Orlando proves that a city has room for as many great bars as there are visionaries. Oblivion Taproom, The Imperial, The Falcon, and Redlight Redlight each fill a niche and help to make our city an amazing place to live and work. Until last week, I never understood the concept of community so completely, and I’ve never been more thrilled to be a part of one. The generosity I have received in my time of need is staggering, and I hope to be able to repay some portion of it one day. If you need me, you know where to look.
Orlando Beer Blog
Our goal is to provide you with the latest on where to enjoy craft beer in Orlando.