Florida’s Gulf Coast might be more known for its beaches, but in recent years the craft beer scene has been taking over. Any search for breweries in Southwest Florida these days will turn up plenty of tasty options.
That’s why we wanted to highlight some of the best Southwest Florida breweries from Fort Myers up to Safety Harbor you need to check out.
Fort Myers Brewing Company
Fort Myers Brewing Company has been around for nearly a decade, with many visitors labeling it their favorite brewery in SWFL. Fort Myers Brewing Co’s core beers consist of an easy-drinking Gateway Gold Blonde Ale, the High 5 IPA for you hop lovers, a silver medal winner in their Fort Myers Light beer, a Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter because why not and an American Wheat Ale.
And, of course, you have to have seasonal brews covering the big three – Oktoberfest, Pumpkin time and winter. All of which Fort Myers Brewing Company has you covered along with some small batch releases throughout the year.
Fort Myers Brewing Company does not serve food, but like many craft brewers, they have embraced the local food scene. So on most days, you can find some area offerings or food trucks on site.
Palm City Brewing Company
Like most craft breweries, Palm City Brewing Company in Ft. Myers was started as a hobby by owner Ryan, brewing in his garage. Palm City Brewing is best known for their IPAs like Hazify, but they have 15-20 rotating taps that include Porters, Sours and some fine German staples like a Kolsch and Hefeweizen.
The location is large enough that Palm City Brewing even rents out event space because all parents need to be able to enjoy great beer while hosting their kid’s birthday party. Palm City Brewing Co does not serve food but welcomes plenty of food trucks throughout the week.
Point Ybel Brewing Company
Known to have some of the best IPAs in the SWFL region, Point Ybel Brewing Company does not disappoint with a full selection of small-batch craft beers. It’s evident that the Fort Myers, FL area is bustling with fine brews and the neighborhood tavern feel of Point Ybel Brewing has even non-beer drinkers raving about the place.
We dig their old-school German-looking graphics on the beer cans, but the Point Ybel tap list is well-rounded. Everything from the Snook Bite IPA, Sanibel Light Helles to The Full Breakfast Stout will have you saying Prost over and over!
Music lovers will enjoy their time at Point Ybel Brewing Company since they welcome various artists to play from Thursday to Sunday. And don’t forget to visit on Wednesday or Saturday evenings to enjoy a meal from the Yabo Mobile food truck.
When you get done hanging out at the beach in Sarasota head over to Calusa Brewing and order The Florida Flavor or Calusa Legacy Trail. After one of those pilsners cools you off, try any of Calusa’s other 16 rotating taps and you will quickly realize why they are one of the hidden gem breweries of Southwest Florida.
The Calusa Brewing taproom has plenty of seating and a covered outdoor area if fresh air and plenty of humidity is your thing. This Veteran-Owned Florida brewery’s name pays homage to the Calusa Native Americans that inhabited the Gulf Coast of Florida before the Spanish arrival in the 1500s.
An award-winning brewery on Florida’s Gulf Coast in Cape Coral, Scotty’s Bierwerks treats you to $6 flights every Monday to help you discover their beer offerings. Scotty brews up plenty of IPA options for your hoppy taste buds and some of our German-style beer favorites, Hefeweizen and Dunkelweizen. You ale lovers will rejoice too, whether you sip on an English Ale, Cream Ale or the new Citra Pale Ale.
Scotty’s Beirwerks also serves up live music and brings in food trucks throughout the week, so there’s never a dull moment or empty stomach in sight.
Mad Beach Craft Brewing Company
With over 1000 4+ star Google reviews, Mad Beach Craft Brewing Company had to make the list of best Southwest Florida breweries! The Mad Beach Craft Brewing brewpub offers a full menu – sorry food truck fans – and 28 brews from sangrias, to cider, to seltzer, IPA, stouts, ales, lagers and more.
Parking is a little tricky in this area of St. Pete, north of Treasure Island, so keep that in mind when you plan your visit.
There are few places where you can enjoy a cold beer under a 150 year old oak tree, but Motorworks Brewing’s beer garden in Bradenton, FL, is just that place. Plus, baseball and automobile enthusiasts alike will appreciate Motorworks Brewing’s location. Housed in an old Hudson Motors dealership and close to LECOM Field, where the Pittsburgh Pirates have spring training and their minor league affiliate, Bradenton Marauders, play.
Oh, you want to know about their beers too?!?! Not to fret, Motorworks Brewing has something for everyone like their Don’t Call Me a Little Girl IPA, TropiKolsch – you guessed it, a Kolsch beer, Hudson Hefeweizen – remember what I said about their building’s history, and the Adoptable Lager that was even featured on the Ellen Show, CNN and the BBC!
Motorworks Brewing is dog and family-friendly and their food truck schedule has tasty options from bbq to pizza and crepes.
Cigar City Brewing
Any list of breweries in SWFL to visit would not be complete without mentioning Cigar City Brewing. We might be biased since living in the Tampa area images of Cigar City’s Jai Alai IPA are more common than Starbucks locations but yes, Cigar City beers are good!
Other fan favorites are the Cigar City Frost Proof, Belgian-Style White and Maduro Brown Ale, although you would be hard pressed to find any of their beers lacking flavor. Cigar City brews up special releases throughout the year and you can join their Barrel-Aged Beer Club, the El Catador Club for more special releases.
With taproom locations in downtown Tampa, at the Tampa International Airport, and their Spruce Street brewery – home since 2009 – there’s plenty of places to get your Cigar City Brewing fix!
3 Daughters Brewing
A staple in St. Petersburg, FL for almost a decade, along with a location in Clearwater, 3 Daughters Brewing is the largest independent brewery in Florida. 3 Daughters St. Pete taproom has 42 rotating tops at 3 bars where they are constantly serving their new creations whether they end up hitting the shelves or not.
A long-time staple, the 3 Daughters Brewing Beach Blonde Ale is worth getting a full pour of and if you are looking for something a little stronger, go for the Belgian Tripel.
Rapp Brewing Company
A little off the beaten path between St. Pete and Clearwater, FL, you will find Rapp Brewing Company. Rapp Brewing specializes in small-batch artisan beers and is part of the University of South Florida’s Brewing Arts program.
You will find most of Rapp Brewing’s offerings have a nod to the owner, Greg’s family brewing heritage in Germany via a Hefeweizen and Kolsch, but there is plenty of variety to go around.
With experimental sours, stouts, porters, and a barrel-aged Red Wine Biere de Garde, you will be glad you ventured off Hwy 19 in Southwest Florida to visit Rapp Brewing Company.
Crooked Thumb Brewery
Safety Harbor, Florida is a small town in SWFL that doesn’t put off that touristy vibe and Crooked Thumb Brewery is a must-visit when you’re in town. You might be wondering where the name comes from, so we’ll be nice and tell you. Crooked Thumb Brewery is located in Pinellas County Florida which is said to “hang off the west coast of Florida like a crooked thumb”. You’re welcome!
Crooked Thumb’s IPAs are their most popular brews, but seasonal beers like the Rule #7 Hurricane Pale Ale and Tootsie Pop Stout, and the vast selection of sour beers all hold their own.
Crooked Thumb’s taproom has plenty of seating whether you belly up to the long bar, pick a table inside or venture out to their spacious outdoor area where you can enjoy live music from time to time. Some great area food trucks make the visit and park right by the front door, so you don’t have to go far to fuel up.
Wrapping it Up…
We have no doubt you will find a beer to suit your taste buds at any of these or the other breweries in Southwest Florida. And don’t forget to sign up for the Gulp Coast Craft Brewery Passport or the SWFL Ale Trail Passport so you can log all those beer miles.
Some of the area’s breweries offer discounts and if you are a diehard craft brewery fan, you might even get yourself a free t-shirt!