In an era where local breweries are sprouting up all over the country, Fort Myers Brewing Company became one of the first successful craft beer houses in the Fort Myers area, setting the bar high. And they're continually raising it, too.
This is not a high-tech, fancy place. In fact, it's quite likely you’ll have trouble finding it, east of I-75 in an industrial park. But the hunt is part of the fun.
Many locals thought the owners were crazy to set up shop here, but the anti-establishment part of this establishment is a big draw.
Duck tacos from the Nosh Truck plus a beer flight equals happiness at Fort Myers Brewing Company — Photo courtesy of Gina Birch
With limited seating, this spot has become a BYOC kind of place; bring your own chair and set up camp in the parking lot. However, more permanent places to park it are being added, made from re-purposed pallets that the grain for the tanks is delivered on. The spent or used grain is also reused and donated to local farmers for feed.
The grain bags are also used for the interior design here, along with other brewing-related items.
Fort Myers Brewing Company opened in 2013, occupying about 3,000 square feet. A small tasting room with 10 taps and some paved parking out front adapted for seating only seemed to encourage interest.
Fans are thrilled with the recent expansion, which quadruples the space. The extended warehouse space now has a much welcomed new tasting bar with 20-plus taps, a projection TV screen for big sporting events, an area for live bands and more games like cornhole and life-sized Jenga.
While drinking beer out of plastic cups in a parking lot is entirely ghetto fabulous, the long expansion project (wrapping up in the summer of 2015) offers more covered space and provides for upgrades in plumbing, finally allowing the brewery to provide real glass for real beer geeks.
All of the food here is on wheels. At least one food truck is on-site when the brewery is open, providing something delicious to pair with the creative brews. Drinking and dining takes on a life of its own on Thursdays, when it's Food Truck Rally time.
While the space offers lots of evening fun, the main reason people seek out Fort Myers Brewing Company is for the award-winning craft beer.
The most popular is a honey blond called Gateway Gold: Gateway is not only the community where you will find Fort Myers Brewing Company, but it's also the beer that's considered a gateway brew for those who are new to the craft beer world.
The High Five IPA took home a gold medal in the Best Florida Beer Championships, and so did the OYA Double IPA.
The brew masters are always experimenting, and small-batch Saturdays are a great time for you to be a guinea pig and try their new creations. There may only be a keg or two, so once it’s gone, it’s gone. That is, unless, patrons cry for more.
That's essentially what happened with the Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter, now one of the most popular, made in much bigger batches.
Fort Myers Brewing Company has quarterly events and celebrations like Oktoberfest and the Beer Mile, where participants run a quarter mile, drink a beer and repeat – three more times.
If you're looking for something different from traditional bars and clubs in the Fort Myers area, Fort Myers Brewing Company offers a fun night out that won't break the bank.