One of the best breweries in Florida (if not more widespread) is right here in Gainesville… Swamp Head Brewery. I’m not just saying that because I live in Gainesville and may be biased about it. I really believe it. And it’s really quite a bold statement considering the caliber of breweries. This includes Cigar City, 3 Daughters, Intuition Ale Works, Reprise, Orlando Brewing, Funky Buddha, Lauderale, and a lot more than I feel I can type right now.
Founded in 2008, Swamp Head has been taking the Florida Craft Beer Industry by storm. There have been a few restaurants with Craft Brews and microbreweries in Gainesville for several years. And it has a community of home brewers as well. But Swamp Head was the first production brewery to emerge from the local craft beer scene.
In 2014, at the Best Florida Beer Championship, their Sciaenhops Imperial Red Ale won a silver medal and their 10-10-10 Imperial IPA won the gold, then it went on to win the Best in Show. Later that year their Smoke Signal (Robust Smoked Porter) won the gold medal at the World Beer Cup. Let me repeat that…
World…Beer…Cup. I would say that is impressive. For a brewery that’s only a few years old, I consider that very impressive.
And this year (March 2015), one of their year-round selections (and one of my favorites), Cottonmouth – Belgian Witbier, won the silver at the Florida Brewers Guild Beer Fest.
Okay, let’s say none of that impresses you. Then I suggest…. no… Dare you to stop by their brewery in Southwest Gainesville and see for yourself. They have recently completed construction on their new facility and tap room (pictured above and below). The tap room is called The Wetlands, but what else would you call a tap room for a Brewery named Swamp Head.
While you’re there ask about touring their facility. They enjoy showing off the new place and will readily answer any questions you may have. In fact, they have been known to give advice to other brewers in Gainesville and the rest of Florida. That is a trait that a lot of great breweries have.
Swamp Head has five year-round brews on tap in their tap room and they bottle these beers in kegs for shipping to local pubs and restaurants, and other areas in Florida. They also have begun canning some of these and have some available in Publix (a Florida based grocery chain).
Wild Night – Honey Cream Ale. this a light refreshing beer that I find very easy to drink.
Cottonmouth – Belgian Witbier. Since I’m a wheat beer fan it’s only natural that I would like this award winner.
Stumpknocker – a Pale Ale. A good hoppy flavor.
Midnight Oil – an oatmeal stout brewed using locally roasted coffee. This is another favorite of mine.
Big Nose IPA – this is a beer for Hop Lovers. My friends the Maestro and the Newlyweds L&H love it.
Besides the five flagship brews listed above they also have many different seasonal, occasional and hard-to-find releases. The afore-mentioned Sciaenhops, Smoke Signal and 10-10-10 fall into these categories.
While visiting there with the Doctor today, I had their Batch 800 PB&J. A very smooth and tasty Amber Ale with hints of peanut in the taste and a little jelly in the aroma, this is one I could drink year-round.
I also had the Down Deep West Coast IPA. If you likes hops you will more than likely like this. I liked it because it had a good balance.
Swamp Head does not serve food but will frequently have food trucks in front the Wetlands. And they don’t mind if you bring your own food in.
To learn more you can visit their website at www.swamphead.com and they have a Facebook page as well.
As one of the first local breweries I would say they have set the bar pretty high. I hope their influence leads to more breweries of the same caliber opening near Gainesville. They have already influenced one (First Magnitude) and I know they have begun working on collaborations with other breweries. They are…
Inherently Floridian. 🙂