Shipyard Brewery just opened up January 28th in Winter Park (200 Fairbanks Avenue). I knew about the opening night, but was unable to attend. I was told over twenty five hundreds people were there opening night. What a mob scene that must have been!
A few days after the Grand opening I was going to a free concert at Rollins College. Walking down Fairbanks, I couldn't resist going inside the brewery to see how everything came together. The young man at the door explained the layout to me. The place is part Deli and gourmet grocery store then there is seating for the restaurant. Finally there is the bar which overlooks the micro brewery where specialty beers are made by brewmaster Ron Raike daily. I sat at the bar and looked at the description s of the wide variety of beers. I decided to try the Alligator Braggot. I was given a small sample to taste and I loved it. It turned out that Ron had just finished brewing this new brew that morning. above the bar there were many rows of blue mugs hanging from the ceiling. They belong to people who joined the mug club. Each time they return they are served their favorite brew in their own personal mug.
I decided to order a grilled Portobello sandwich with zucchini, roasted peppers, herb goat cheese all on a toasted ciabatta. Along with a second beer, the sandwich was fabulous. Seriously this was culinary heaven. Allison Stevens tapped me on the shoulder to say hello. She is responsible for all the back breaking work that helped make this brewery a realty. She offered me a hot chicken wing dip along with pita chips to scoop it up.The dip was hotter than I am used to, but it had the advantage of making me want to sip more beer.
The owner of Shipyard Brewery, Fred Forsley, had flown down from Maine and he was with a video cameraman shooting footage. By the time I left to walk the rest of the way to Rollins College, I was feeling great. Shipyard Brewery offers delicious food, great beer and a chance to talk to the master brewer himself. I know I will find many reasons to return.