Space Coast Breweries – World Beer Tour

Our worldwide beer tasting adventure continues with a tour of the Brevard County breweries on Florida’s Space Coast! This area of Florida is famous for the Kennedy Space Center. Located on Cape Canaveral, visitors have the opportunity to walk amongst the retired spacecraft and meet astronauts. You can even find places to watch rockets launch into space from the nearby beaches. If oceans are more your thing, there is also Port Canaveral, where you can watch the cruise boats head out to see while enjoying a cold one. I am a huge fan of the Space Coast! It is an excellent weekend getaway from the crowds and theme parks of Orlando, and there’s a lot to experience for microbrew fans. So grab a glass and settle in for a trip to the Brevard County breweries on Florida’s Space Coast!

Brevard County Breweries

  1. Bugnutty Brewing Company
  2. Charlie & Jake’s Brewery Grille
  3. Cocoa Beach Brewing Company
  4. Dirty Oar Beer Company
  5. Florida Beer Company
  6. Hell ‘n Blazes Brewing Company
  7. Intracoastal Brewing Company
  8. Lost Shirt Brewing Company
  9. Playalinda Brewing Company
  10. Quarters Brewery and Arcade

Taster flight of six beer tasters at Bugnutty Brewing Company. Brevard County Breweries, Florida

Bugnutty Brewing Company

Our first of the Brevard County breweries is Bugnutty Brewing Company, located in a strip mall on Merritt Island. Every so often we run into breweries where their first, second, and third priorities are beer, beer, and beer. That seemed to be the case at Bugnutty Brewing Company. The tap room was comfortable and clean, but it was fairly small, with no outdoor seating area. There was a kitchen on site, but it wasn’t open at the time of our visit, so we weren’t able to taste anything on the menu. It felt like pretty much any other bar, with some TVs above the tap handles and a selection of board games for patrons. It was all about the beer, and it showed with how creative and tasty each one was.

We ordered the $16 USD flight that included six beers of our choice. We selected Suzi’s Red Belly Ale, Dark Matter Black IPA, Raspberry Lipgloss On a Pig, Red Wheat & Blue, their house root beer, and Key Lime Pie. I found all of the flavors to be very interesting and unique. The Raspberry Lipgloss On a Pig was created for a competition in which the brewers had to choose ingredients out of a hat; the mix of raspberry, bacon, and chocolate gave it a delicious, savory dessert flavor. Of all the breweries we visited, Bugnutty earns itself extra points for creativity in brewing.

Address: 715 N Courtenay Pkwy, Merritt Island, FL 32953 [Map]

Phone: +01 (321) 452-4460

Hours: Mon – Sat 2PM-10PM, Sun 1PM-8PM

Links: Website


Exterior of the Cocoa Beach Brewing Company Brewery and Pub.

Cocoa Beach Brewing Company

Hidden away in the hustle and bustle of hotels and beachfront shops in busy Cocoa Beach is the unassuming Cocoa Beach Brewery. There is little to no parking or advertising for this “nanobrewery”, as it was described to us. The building itself is just a converted, right off the main drag and a block or two from the beach. We entered through the simple front door, walked through the living room littered with kegs and bags of ingredients, to the back of the house where a kitchen may have once been. Now, there is a small bar, three taps, a couple of tables, and a friendly bartender who is very well versed in the Brevard County breweries and beer culture.

We had a $3 USD flight of Cocoa Beach Brewing Company’s three nano-brews. On this visit, they were offering the Dirty Blonde Ale, Key Lime Cerveza, and Cocoa Beach Pale Ale. Each one was delicious and had a unique flavor. I particularly enjoyed the Dirty Blonde and gave it a five star rating on UnTappd.

Address: 150 N Atlantic Ave, Cocoa Beach, FL 32931 [MAP]

Phone: +01 (321) 613-2941

Hours: Tue – Thu 1PM-9PM, Fri – Sat 1PM-9PM

Links: Website


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Exterior of the Florida Beer Company Tap Room. Brevard County Breweries, Florida

Florida Beer Company

The next stop on the tour takes us from possibly the smallest craft brewery in the state to what is undoubtedly the largest, Florida Beer Company. This Brevard County brewery is attached to the company’s warehouse in Cape Canaveral, making it an obvious attraction for beach-going tourists and NASA interns alike. We couldn’t really pin down the vibe of the place; it felt less like a brewery and more like a corporate sports bar, with lots of TVs, loud guests, and bartenders who seemed to have been selected more for their appearance than their beer knowledge.

We ordered the $8 USD flight that included four tasters of our choosing. We selected the Carib Lager, Hurricane Reef Pilsner, Key West Southernmost Wheat, and the Hurricane Reef IPA. Despite the varying styles, they all tasted fairly similar, adding to the big corporate vibe. Each one was easy to drink and refreshing, but none of them stood out in any way. We joked that they were the perfect craft beers for people who hate craft beers.

Address: 200 Imperial Blvd, Cape Canaveral, FL 32920 [MAP]

Phone: +01 (321) 728-4114

Hours: Mon – Wed 1PM-9PM, Thu – Sat 1PM-11PM, Sun 1PM-6PM

Links: Website 


Taster flight with 6 tasters at Hell N' Blazes Brewery in Melbourne, Florida. Brevard County Breweries

Hell N’ Blazes

We enjoyed Hell N’ Blazes so much that we came back twice! It is conveniently located in historic downtown Melbourne and has a staff that is crazy friendly and knowledgeable. I loved the clean wood and metal decor and the excellent game room in the back. Although Hell N’ Blazes does not currently serve food, they did offer some free bags of pretzels and said they hope to be opening a kitchen soon. If their food is even half as good as their beer, you can bet that we will be one of the first in line to try their new menu. Hell N’ Blazes was definitely our favorite of the Brevard County breweries.

Hell N’ Blazes has a large menu of in-house brews. Their $8 USD flights consist of four, 4oz pours of your choice. For our first visit, we tried all of the their core beers, including the Causeway IPA, Huggins Hefewizen, Orange Blossom Honey Wheat Ale, and the Northern Flow Lager. I was happy with each of them, giving each no less than four out of five stars. My absolute favorite was the wheat ale. It seemed like the perfect Florida beer, with a citrusy orange flavor that enhanced the rest of the bouquet.

Address: 1002 E New Haven Ave, Melbourne, Florida 32901 [MAP]

Phone: +01 (321) 821-4052

Hours: Mon-Thu 4PM-11PM, Fri 12PM-2AM, Sat 12PM-2AM, Sun 12PM-11PM

Links: Website



Josh playing Maximum Force while drinking a beer at Quarters Brewery and Arcade. Brevard County Breweries

Quarters Brewery and Arcade

One of the newest members on the list of Brevard County breweries is Quarters. I am a huge fan of barcades (bars that are also arcades). Quarters Brewery and Arcade takes this idea to the next level, and is my very first brewcade! The menu of in-house micro-brews are still small, as is the game selection, but what better way to spend the day than to hang out in historic old town Melbourne, Florida while drinking a local brew and playing vintage games. I think I might be in heaven!

Flights are not yet available at Quarters, so we tried a pint of Dad Breakfast English Porter and the Princess Pale at $6.25 and $5.75 USD respectively. The porter had a fun hint of s’mores flavor, while the pale was easy to drink with only a hint of hoppy goodness. I sense good things to come for Quarters as they continue to grow and expand.

Address: 903 E New Haven Ave, Melbourne, FL 32901 [MAP]

Phone: +01 (321) 586-2142

Hours: Mon – Thu 4PM-11PM, Fri 4PM-2AM, Sat 12PM-2AM, Sun 12PM-11PM

Links: Website


Wrapping Up

And thus concludes our tour of the Brevard County breweries on Florida’s Space Coast! All in all, we had a great time exploring the local beer culture and getting the chance to spend some time mixing it up with the locals. We found the area to be the perfect hidden paradise in which to enjoy our favorite drink of choice. If you’re planning to visit the area, you would do well to schedule some extra time for exploring the booming beer scene of Brevard County, Florida, USA.


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#VanLife Diary: Day One

It’s 2:00 PM on a sunny afternoon in Cocoa Beach, Florida. The van was just discharged from the mechanic with a clean-ish bill of health; how healthy can Darla really be at her age and use (that’s the name we’re trying out right now)? But the people of the Dodge dealership think that she will get us across the country without any issues. So we’re off. Let #vanlife begin.

Read about our #VanLife preparations. ♥

Cocoa Beach to Lee, Florida

The Places We Live #VanLife Day One Map. USA from Melbourne, Florida to Lee, Florida

Today’s #vanlife journey took us 269 miles and about four hours. We were so excited to be traveling again. About half of the trip was spent talking about our excitement, goals, and expectations. The other half was spent listening to music and singing along. Today’s playlist included Blink 182’s California, a Google Play radio station of popular karaoke songs, and finally an episode of the Joe Rogan Experience. We were pretty proud of our harmonizing skills while singing along with Blink 182.

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The drive through central Florida is exactly what we were used to. There were signs for beach resorts and Disney World everywhere. We got stopped by five toll booths, all within 15 minutes of each other, and got charged a total of $9.25. Once we got farther north, however, the scenery took a bit of a change. There were lots of small towns and farm land. It reminded me a little bit of home. I liked it.

Home Field Advantage Homestead

It is possible to overnight for FREE at a variety of truck stops, gas stations, and large commercial buildings like Walmart. As it was our first overnight in the van, we decided to book a camp site. I booked using Hipcamp.com. It is like AirBnB, but for camping. We ended up about 15 minutes off of the freeway on an adorable farm. The stay included a tour of the farm, free wifi, loaded fire rings, hot showers, flush toilet, and a couple of sinks with soap! It was an ideal place to crash for our very first #vanlife overnight.

Brown and white goat behind a fence at Home Field Advantage camp ground in Lee, Florida. The Places We Live #Vanlife

Our overnight was a learning experience. The average August temperature in Florida is 82°F / 28°C with 74% humidity. Needless to say, the temperature in the van was NOT comfortable. We opened the windows and enjoyed the cross breeze they provided, but then found ourselves in a rage from the needling buzz of mosquitoes. The mozzies in the USA don’t often carry disease, but they are still obnoxious as f*ck and Florida is home to A LOT of bugs. Our other idea was to turn on the car and AC to cool everything down every few hours. That didn’t work either. It would take almost five minutes to cool the van down entirely and then it would only last for about an hour.

The Places We Live van (Darla) posed in front of three red barn buildings at Home Field Advantage camp ground in Lee, Florida.

Our goal for #vanlife prep was to only buy what we know we need. We need a fan, more water, and bug repellent. Every day is a learning experience. I just hope our next lesson won’t be as uncomfortable. Tomorrow, we are waking up early to drive to Atlanta, Georgia.


 

 

Thanksgiving Weekend 2017

We heard some great stories, improved our chess game, ate delicious food, made connections, and bonded with friends and family. 

Oh my. Where do I even begin?

The day before Thanksgiving, we made the “quick” drive down to Miami, Florida. After being told not to use our GPS, we were treated to the longest 1.5 hour drive of my life (the GPS later confirmed my suspicions that it was, in fact, a four hour drive). We did eventually make it and spent the next two nights with friends of the family and 19 other dinner guests.

I had the pleasure of witnessing all of the pre-dinner fun. I ate my first Cuban meal, watched my first turkey deep-fry, played with the cutest puppies in Miami, and helped Josh to invent a new cocktail (Crystal Light, pineapple juice, coconut rum, and spiced rum).

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Dinner was amazing with all the traditional Thanksgiving dishes, including two deep-fried turkeys, home-made cranberry sauce, and whole artichokes. I particularly enjoyed my host’s rendition of stuffing which included mushrooms and nuts.

After a few days in Miami, we traveled back up north to Boynton Beach, Florida to stay with another family friend. She has a beautiful home on the river, a slew of delightful friends, charming birds, and dogs I fell deeply in love with.

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I was particularly fond of her large, secret garden-like back yard, which had a quiet dock on a slow-moving river. It was the perfect place to spend each morning drinking coffee and watching the wildlife. I spotted two new ducks, a bald eagle, and several large iguanas.

Although the town offers plenty of entertainment, Josh and I opted for quieter mini-adventures, like a short hike through what I can only assume was a spider sanctuary, and a 2-stop pub crawl. Back at the house, we were provided with delicious meals, great conversation, and games of chess filled with advice for both the game and for life.

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We met so many interesting new people over the holiday weekend. Being introverts, this was a little stressful for us, but it was a nice reminder of why we are out here. We heard some great stories, improved our chess game, ate delicious food, made connections, and bonded with friends and family.

Florida Birding – November 2017

Bird list from my month on the Atlantic Coast of Florida.

The birding here in Florida is wonderful! Most of the birds listed here are ones I found pretty regularly, either on the beach, the backyard, or at the numerous nature parks. My favorites were the Wood Storks; they were listed as being a rare find, but I saw quite a few of them and they were not particularly afraid of people. Their attitudes reminded me a lot of chickens.

The Anhingas were another enjoyable find. They were everywhere, but I mostly saw their silhouette during flight or just their heads poking out of water, and therefore mistook them for Cormorants for quite some time. It wasn’t until I saw one up close, with their distinctive coloring, that I realized I had made the mistake. It was an exciting moment.

I’m still having trouble identifying differences in common birds like doves/pigeons, sand pipers, terns, and seagulls. There are just so many of them! My goal for the trip was to identify two different types of seagulls. I saved the identification guide and brought it to the beach with me each day. I learned a lot, but I still have a ways to go. I did, however, make some good strides in my dove identification thanks to the open windows of my bedroom each night. The sound of the various doves are pretty distinct and really helped to boost my identification confidence.


Birding Update – November 2017

Identified: 15

New: 6

Life List: 89


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  • Anhinga
  • Bald Eagle
  • Black-bellied Plover 
  • Black Vulture
  • Brown Pelican
  • Common Gallinule
  • Double-crested Cormorant
  • Eurasian Collared-Dove
  • Great Egret
  • Muscovy Duck
  • Osprey
  • Ruddy Turnstone
  • Sanderling
  • White Ibis
  • Wood Stork

 

Florida Brews – November 2017

14 new beers from four different breweries. Yum!

Florida has a better beer scene than I expected. The breweries looked very similar to the ones I have visited elsewhere, but with the added perk of actually being able to sit comfortably outside on the adorable patio (maybe it’s just my luck, but the weather almost always keeps me from sitting outside). All of the ones we attended did not provide food in-house, but did have a food truck or two in the parking lot that proved to be quite delicious.

I think my favorite brew of the month was the Florida Beer Company’s Conchtoberfest and Copperpoint Brewing Company’s Copperpoint Lager. They were both very fresh and provided the perfect warm-weather reprieve.

My favorite brewery was Due South. It was under renovation, so not at it’s best, but I could really see the potential. It had a clean look with a picnic vibe. However, my favorite brewer was Copperpoint. I didn’t enjoy all of their beers, but I liked that each flavor was unique and purposeful.

[Josh’s take: I wasn’t a fan of Due South, either the feel of the taproom or the beers. The beers all had the same body, which shouldn’t be the case; there’s should be a difference between a lager and an IPA. Copperpoint had better decor, friendlier staff, and delicious beers that were well crafted and stood out. I’d highly recommend visiting Copperpoint Brewing Co.]

I only got a taste for the flavors around me. Please share your favorite Florida beers in the comments!


Brew Update – November 2017

New Flavors: 14

 New Breweries: 4

Flavor Life List: 14


 

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Due South Brewing Company

  • Ginger Snap Imperial Brown
  • Kevin’s Bacon (Cream Ale)
  • Oktoberfest
  • Craft American Lager

Copperpoint Brewing Company

  • Slick Shoes (IPA)
  • Das Pilsner
  • Pumpkin Queen Ale
  • Copperpoint Lager

Florida Beer Company

  • Florida Lager
  • Conchtoberfest

Intracoastal Brewing Company

  • Dry Hopped Lager
  • Belgian Pale Ale
  • Eau Gallie Weiss
  • Intracoastal Lager

 

Sebastian Inlet State Park

Sebastian Inlet State Park is located just ten miles South of Melbourne Beach and is the second most visited state park in Florida.

Sebastian Inlet State Park is located just ten miles South of Melbourne Beach and is the second most visited state park in Florida (wikipedia). We spent half a day exploring the ten mile drive down to Sebastian and the park itself.

The majority of the drive was through beautiful water-front neighborhoods and was along the famous Florida Birding Trail. Our first stop was the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Information Center, where they had a lot of free and informative interactive material about sea turtles. It also detailed the conservation efforts undertaken at the refuge specifically, and in Florida more generally. For example, proceeds from the sales of these license plates go to fund sea turtle research and conservation efforts around the state.

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There were several hiking trailheads along the side of the road during our drive. We stopped at one of them, but due to the recent hurricane, much of the trail was flooded and covered in plant debris. We didn’t make it very far before we were forced to turn around and go back to the car.

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Many “nature walks” in Florida are built on raised walkways like this one.

After our failed hike, we reached the main attraction, Sebastian Inlet State Park. It is a fairly large park, with sections on both sides of the inlet that connects the ocean and the river. There is an entrance fee, but it’s only $8 for the day. The park also showed signs of hurricane damage, with some fallen trees left uncleared and dark waters that are usually crystal clear.

Even a short walk through the park allowed us views of more flora and fauna than we had seen during the entire rest of our trip. We saw several species of birds, including a rare sighting of Wood Storks, along with several sea turtles, fish, a huge land crab, skinks, hermit crabs, and a few types of butterflies. Our favorite was the land crab; we chased it for a while, trying to capture a photo of it’s bright ruby coloring before it could disappear back into the water.

 

Josh and I spent a decent amount of time crabbing when we lived in Oregon. Despite our lack of actual spoils, we consider ourselves quite the seamen. Therefore, it was with confidence that we walked out onto the park’s crowded fishing piers. These docks were huge, jutting out much farther into the ocean than what we were used to. Not only that, but the fishermen on these piers were serious, not the laid-back Oregonians we usually met. These guys were cut-throat, and had more gear than our usual net, bucket, chair, book, and beer. And it appears that was for the best, because they were actually catching fish!

We watched three different large fish get lifted out of the water during our ten minute venture onto the pier. They looked to be at least two to three feet long. One fisherman told us that the fish we watched him haul up was limited to one per fisherman.

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Once the fish smell hit my nose, I had an immediate craving for fish. Thankfully, there is a large gift and snack shop in the park that provides decently priced food. It had all the expected park food, with the added treat of fresh seafood, most of it grilled or fried. Unable to resist (not that we really tried), we ordered a couple baskets of clam strips and ate them on the shaded patio overlooking the ocean.

I really enjoyed our trip to Sebastian and look forward to coming back next year once the area has had a little more time to recover from the hurricane. There’s some calm water off the inlet that looks like an amazing place to do some of my favorite “paddle birding”, and we may even bring some poles and try to reel in some of those delicious ocean fish.

Vacation Rental – Melbourne, Florida

Review of a vacation rental in Melbourne, Florida.

Obnoxiously Long Note: If you read my “I’m a Travel Blogger” post, you know that I spent the early part of this week boosting my “exposure” in the social media marketing world. I contacted a few vacation rental owners in the area and asked to tour their properties to feature on my blog. I had a great time and learned a lot. Today’s post and my next one are practice posts. Today’s post is about my favorite condo I visited and the next post is the food tour I would suggest if you were staying at said condo (or anywhere in the Melbourne area, really). 

I call it a practice because we did not actually stay at the featured condo. I would have loved to, but we already have a place here in town and I was too afraid to ask for a comped room for my very first feature. So, all of the pictures and opinions are my own, I was not paid nor rewarded, but my experiences are based soley off of a short walk-through and chat with the owner.


If I weren’t already staying at Mom’s, I would be staying at Tammy’s condo here in Melbourne, Florida.

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Location

This whole area of Florida is just lovely and full of opportunities, so my map radius was quite large. I included the whole town of Indialantic, which is an island snuggled between the river and the ocean, and the southern portion of Melbourne, where there is a lively Old Town area. This condo in Melbourne perfectly placed. Old Town is just a few blocks away, within easy walking distance. There is a fancy pier just a short walk the opposite direction, allowing access to the water. And the causeway into Indialantic is nearby, so that a beach trip is merely a five minute drive away.

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The only side of the complex that is less-than-perfect faces a busy street that is decently loud. I was nervous about this as we approached the apartment, but was very pleased to find that the road sounds did not follow me into the condo or down to the relaxing park and pier.

Room Type

The prices are low enough in this part of Florida that I felt pretty comfortable limiting my search to Entire Home. This particular rental is a large, one bedroom condo with a large bathroom, living room, dining area, and patio that faces the pier.

Amenities

The condo had all of the amenities I require including WiFi, washing machine, dish washer, and television. It had a couple of fun perks, too, including an updated kitchen with nice appliances, a walk in closet, a nicely decorated living area, and an amazing view.

Another amenity I always wish for, but can’t be sure I’ll get until I arrive, is a nice apartment host. The best vacation rentals I have stayed at were ones where I was greeted personally by the host, taken on a quick tour of the property, and given suggestions on nearby restaurants, shops, and activities (in Barcelona, our host sent us to a restaurant off the beaten path that was hands-down one of our favorite stops). I had the pleasure of meeting our host in person during this visit. Tammy was very approachable, friendly, and knowledgeable about the area. She gave us a rundown on the nearby attractions, local lifestyle, and let us know about some of her other amazing properties (including a large home near the Kentucky Derby *dream trip!*).

Price

The property we toured was a brand new one that hasn’t even been listed yet (that’s right, I’m VIP now). However, she did say that she was planning on setting the price at $100 or less per night. Her other condos in the same building were going for about $80 and although the fixtures were slightly more dated, the views from the higher floors were stunning. 3-Star hotels in the same map radius are going for $120 to $200 per night.

Overall, I was very pleased with the condo we toured, and would not hesitate to stay here if we were booking a trip to the Melbourne area. If you are planning such a trip, I suggest you click the link to Tammy’s profile and give one of her properties a try!