Monday, March 17, 2008

Observations on Orlando Beer

I traveled to Orlando for Convergence last week with my brewing/business partner Brad. We had a pretty good time drinking our way up and down International Drive near the convention center.

There is a microbrewery in Orlando but we didn't have a car so we couldn't get to it. We saw 2 Florida beers: Landshark Lager was the most abundant, Brad had one and said it wasn't bad. Yuengling was another Florida beer, it was decent.

I was really hoping to have some of the east-coast beers I have heard of like Dogfish or Victory that aren't available in my area, but since we were trapped in Tourist Central our selection was very limited. Even the bars/restaurants that had lots of beers carried only the big labels. It is amazing that with 15 beers on tap and 15 in a bottle the selection is still mainly the big 3 and their various permutations of cheap lagers!

One night we went to a Microsoft-sponsored party at Universal Citywalk, and the selection was also limited there. The exception was that Red Stripe was available at the Bob Marley cafe, and Amstel Light at the New Orleans-Themed restaurant. Other than that it was Bud, Bud Light and Heineken.

We spent a couple nights at a British pub drinking and throwing darts. Their selection included one "British Ale" and Boddingtons but I think their lines were dirty or something. It just didn't taste right.

Several restaurants had Guiness on tap, and did a good job of pouring it too. One place had a neon Bass sign in the window but didn't actually carry it, another had it on tap and it was good.

My expectations weren't too high considering we were in the vacation playground of mainstream America, but it is a shame that restaurants aren't more bold with their beer offerings.

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