Story by Courtney Murray
Picture spending the day basking on the sugar white sandy beach, soaking in the hot summer rays, and swimming in the crystal-clear water of the Emerald Coast. What is more refreshing after a day of fun in the sun than an ice-cold beer? Nothing. With Blondes, IPA, Amber, and Stouts, you can get a wide variety of beers to suit your taste along our shores. The Emerald Coast is officially riding the craft brewery wave which is growing in popularity with tourists and locals alike. McGuire’s Irish Pub has been serving up their locally brewed beer for over 25 years and others have been following in their footsteps, attempting to fill their “large shoes” with “custom brews”. There are now several breweries producing delicious micro-brews and serving up a lot of fun throughout South Walton, Destin and Ft. Walton Beach.
Just a few flip-flop steps away from the famous HarborWalk Village nestled in the heart of Destin is the new kid on the block, Destin Brewery. Founded in June, 2015, Kelly Taylor is currently brewing four flagship beers: Destin Ale, East Pass IPA, Red Sky Rye, and the Bridge Rubble Double. Always expanding with creativity, they’ve just introduced a rice lager perfect for pairing with sushi and available on draught at local restaurants including Bamboo Sushi Bar and Hibachi Express. Taylor is always looking for feedback on what to brew up next, so stop on by for a cold one and share your thoughts.
You can spot more than dolphins as you head over the Brooks Bridge into Fort Walton Beach; you can spy Props Brewery & Grill beckoning you in the distance. Founded in 2011, Props Brewery was one of the first to break out in the brewery scene on the Emerald Coast and has been rapidly picking up speed. When founders Nathan Vannatter and Mike Kee were transferred to the 6th Special Operations Squadron at Hulburt Field they decided that the area needed a brewpub. Perfectly pairing with mouthwatering food, their signature beers include Four Kings, the Flying Coffin IPA, and the Blonde Bomber. As they continue to grow and thrive, Vannatter and Kee have added more than a dozen signature and seasonal beers to their menu.
Idyll Hounds Brewing Company is located in Santa Rosa Beach and founder Frasier Hansen has been brewing beer for over a decade. This fearless leader started from scratch as a home brewer in Salt Lake City and then traveled to England to take courses and has been perfecting his craft ever since. Launching in October of 2014, Idyll Hounds has two phenomenal flagship beers, Divide & Conch’R and Man ‘O’ Wheat. You can visit their taproom in South Walton to sample their flagship and seasonal beers as well as other local craft beers from their 24 taps. Idyll Hounds is pet-friendly, so it’s always yappy hour there!
Hop on your beach cruiser and bike over to visit founder, Jamey Price at Grayton Beer Company. Their original brew, 30A Beach Blonde Ale, is always a crowd pleaser. Building upon their success, the brewery has more than doubled their production in two years, producing some of the most well known locally brewed beers. Visit the Grayton Beer Taproom for some brews and corn hole and try out their new lines of Barrel Aged beers
being introduced this year. With so many exciting local beers to try out, you better start your brewery tour now.