By Culinary Expert, Karen Feldman
Local breweries offer beer lovers variety, fun and friendship
Sure, you can find beer on virtually every menu in the region. But for the real aficionado, all beers are not created equal. Those made in small batches in microbreweries, lovingly tended by brew masters as passionate about the product as their customers, are a far cry from the mass-produced versions.
Fortunately, the Fort Myers area is blessed with a baker’s dozen breweries offering their crafted creations, many of which incorporate local ingredients, bear names with a tropical flavor and that often change with the seasons.
When you go to a craft brewery, it can be a complete social experience, with food trucks serving barbecue or empanadas or hearty burgers just made for pairing with a good brew. There might be trivia or yoga or a car show or live music or some combination thereof. In other words: This is a gathering place for like-minded souls who want to get their brew on and have fun while they’re at it.
Wherever you are in the Fort Myers area, chances are good you aren’t far from one of these establishments. Here is your guide to the breweries and taprooms around the county.
Big Storm Brewing Co.
This independent craft brewery has four taprooms in Florida, including Cape Coral. The beers contain local ingredients such as citrus and wildflower honey. The brewery produces about 20 beers including Arcus Southern Pale Ale, Tropic Pressure Florida Ale and Palm Bender Gulf Coast IPA. Flatbreads, quesadillas, boneless chicken wings and grouper bites are among the munchables served along with the brews.
839 Miramar St., Cape Coral
Situated in historic downtown Bonita Springs, this relative newcomer offers an eclectic mix of beers, such as Vanish Into Darkness: Chocolate Coconut Stout, Into the Maize of Malachi: Korn Lager and Behind the Wall of Sleep: Barleywine. Besides their own blends, the proprietors serve carefully curated offerings of guest beers, wines and canned cocktails. There is also a featured food truck each evening.
10441 Packinghouse Lane, Bonita Springs
Coastal Dayz Brewing
Whether you hang out inside the taproom or enjoy the view along palm-lined McGregor Boulevard at the dog-friendly and umbrella-shaded outdoor seating, Coastal Dayz offers 16 taps with staples like Seaz The Day Hazy IPA and Beach Hound Brown along with other specialty brews and guest beers. Food vendors are on site to sate your hunger. Because this one is on the small side, it’s a kid-free zone.
2161 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers
Crazy Dingo Brewing Co.
Crazy Dingo was founded by a pair of brewers who started in their garages. When friends praised their results, they decided to start a small craft brewery and named it after the rascally dog of one of the owners. Then they teamed up with Southern Fresh Farms, where the hops are grown, and located the brewery right there.
8500 Penzance Blvd., Fort Myers
There’s indoor and outdoor seating at this brewery devoted to appreciation of beer and developing a sense of community within that space. Beers brewed here tend toward “funky, sour and experimental styles,” according to the website. Knowledgeable staff help guide you through the selection and drinking process, explaining how the products are made.
4417 SE 16th Place, Cape Coral
Fort Myers Brewing Company
This brewery was one of the first in the region and continues to be a popular gathering spot with its range of beers and an equally entertaining array of activities, which include burger nights, run club and trivia, live music, an evening for people and their pups, food truck rallies and more. The brewery serves its own IPA, pilsner, farmhouse ale, brown ale, stout and other varieties, as well as a selection of hard seltzers and cider.
12811 Commerce Lakes Drive, Fort Myers
Hopsized Brewing Company
This family-friendly space offers lots of brews and fun. Beer yoga anyone? Perhaps trivia or a good run followed by some brews are more your speed. Food trucks are on hand to add interesting fare to the evening as well. Beers include Trendsetter APA, New England American pale ale, Deep Cutz imperial stout and Postcard Nebulous IPA.
9201 Cockleshell Drive, Bonita Springs
Millennial Brewing Company
At this brewery on the eastern edge of downtown Fort Myers you’ll find lager, pale ale, stouts and other beers as well as handcrafted ciders. Rotating food trucks offer a wide range of dishes, including options for vegans and kids. On weekends, expect multi-truck food fests as well as car shows, concerts and other activities that pair well with beer.
1811 Royal Palm Ave., Fort Myers
Palm City Brewing
Palm City is a 10-barrel brewhouse specializing in IPAs with 18 rotating taps of varying styles brewed on premise with a German canning line. You’ll also find pale ales, porters, sours and specialty beers. Daily rotating food trucks could be Viet Yum, H-Anger Management or Eat Bold on any given night. It’s family friendly and offers trivia nights among other fun.
7887 Drew Circle, Fort Myers
Point Ybel Brewing Company
What began as a modest family endeavor in a Sanibel Island kitchen grew into a small brewery named after the location of the Gulf Coast’s first lighthouse, Point Ybel (ee-bell). Beers served here are made in small batches and of local ingredients, when possible. The names have a certain local tang as well – Pineapple Snook Bite Ale, Sanibel Light, Grey Mangrove Smoked Porter. There are trivia nights, food trucks, live music, even yoga.
16120 San Carlos Blvd., Fort Myers
Riptide Brewing Company’s Bonita Springs Brewhouse
The former Momentum Brewhouse began like so many breweries: Some friends started brewing at home and soon a business was born. The Bonita Springs location (there’s another in Naples) offers a rotating lineup of food trucks and events such as drag bingo, trivia, cornhole tournaments and live music in addition to its rotating mix of beers, such as Guava Nice Day sour ale, Black Sails at Midnight Russian Imperial stout, Brighter Shade of Jade Saison and Frankenmothers IPA.
28120 Hunters Ridge Blvd., Bonita Springs
Cape Coral’s northernmost and largest craft brewery is just off Pondella Road. It’s a family-friendly spot with lots of events, food trucks, live music, games and tours of its brewery. Among its products are cream ale, blonde ale, German pilsner, Hefeweizen, extra pale ale, various IPAs, oatmeal stout and Irish red ale.
901 East Industrial Circle, Cape Coral
Tubby Pig Brewpub
Do not judge this one by its exterior. It’s a family run restaurant serving terrific food and its own beers. The barbecue is outstanding but so are the Asian dishes (try the crab Rangoon, which are made with real crab), and all go well with the artisanal brews such as Amber Sour, Trappist Single amber ale, Czech Pilsner and Dark Bock.
3732 Cleveland Ave., Fort Myers