Less than an hour away from me, the sleepy beach town of Vero Beach is starting to make a name for itself in the brewing industry. Orchid Island Brewery has been open for almost five years and in that time has created a brewhouse like no other. Located steps from the beach, this brewery embodies the Florida lifestyle with its many citrusy beers and laidback taproom.
I have been to Orchid Island Brewery a few times in the past year and find myself frequently craving another visit. I still have yet to try the inventive food menu served here, but I’ve heard rave reviews. If this brewery was closer to me, I could definitely see myself being a regular here. Be ready to add this to your brewery bucket list after reading this, because it’s excellent spot to visit!
Location and Atmosphere
Orchid Island Brewery is conveniently off of A1A and a few block souths of one of the major Vero Beach causeways. This makes it the perfect place to go after the beach or a game of golf. It’s just south of the Kimpton Vero Beach hotel which is another favorite spot of mine.
Among the restaurants and shops, Orchid Island Brewery has a small tap room and an expansive covered patio. There are plenty of tables and high tops inside and outside. The whole vibe is very old Florida with its dark wood bar and the plentiful plants throughout- occasionally even orchids!
We have never had an issue finding a seat and are always pretty comfortable here. It can get dark at night, but the twinkle lights add to the ambiance. The only bad thing is I got destroyed by mosquitoes the last time I sat outside at night so plan accordingly!
Orchid Island Brewery Philosophies
This brewery tends to have less than ten of their own beers on tap and then at least five guest taps. Though their own selection is on the small side, you can tell Orchid Island Brewery doesn’t cut any corners with their beer. In fact, due to Florida’s low quality ground water they use a process to pull water from the air so that it has zero impurities. This gives the beer a much fresher taste, although some brews have added salts and minerals to give the beer flavors from its inspired origin, such as with the Tahitian Saison.
Another aspect this brewery is passionate about it is using regional citrus in their beer. They have teamed up with nine local growers and specifically only use citrus grown nearby. You can look on the brewery’s Facebook page to see which citrus is in which beer and usually some fun facts about the citrus! One of the recent brews used “Orri” and they explain it’s a proprietary mandarin variety originally from Israel and known for being very sweet. To me, there’s nothing like a brewery that is knowledgeable and passionate about its ingredients!
One other fun aspect, especially for home brewers like Andrew, is that they include a detailed paragraph about how each beer was made. This includes the different types of malts, hops, added fruit and any other flavoring. You can really see the passion Orchid Island has for the brewing process and it translates into delicious beer.
The Beer Menu
There are a few different core beers at Orchid Island Brewery and then many rotating seasonal ones. Here are the four that I usually see on tap:
- Star Ruby Imperial IPA
- Beachside Berliner Weisse
- Indian River Grapefruit IPA
- Packing House Pilsner
The first three are all very citrusy, but not in a sour way. The Berliner is a little sour, however not as strong as some of the ones at Dirty Oar Brewing or Hidden Springs. My favorite of the four is the Indian River Grapefruit IPA, as the hops flavors come through perfectly. Star Ruby also has a nice hop flavor as four different kinds are used, but it can get a bit strong for me at 8.5%. I’m not a huge pilsner fan, but Orchid Island’s is one of the cleanest I have had. I suspect that has to do with the water treatment!
There’s really no guarantee what will be available though. According to the website, only six beers are on tap now and Star Ruby is the only core beer available. I’m not sure if they update their website frequently, but I’ve been there before when there are only six beers, so it’s not uncommon. The guest tap options are usually solid and they do have a large selection of wine and even a few wine cocktails in case the Orchid Island beer options are too limited for you.
The beer is between $6 and $7 for a pint or twelve ounces for the high percentage ones. The flights go for $10 and they also do growler pours. No crowlers yet, so make sure to bring one or buy one of their interestingly designed growlers as a souvenir!
Favorites from Orchid Island Brewery
I first found out about Orchid Island at the Rocky Water Brew Fest. Their Choc-O-Range Imperial Stout was on tap and it literally tasted like a chocolate covered orange. I was sad it wasn’t on tap at the brewery, but then next year it was back at Rocky Water Brew Fest! Being super excited, I made all my friends get it and then ended up very disappointed. I don’t know what changed between the years, but it was so heavy and bitter compared to the first time I had it. With the exception of this one brew, I have loved all the other beer I’ve had here! In addition to the Indian River Grapefruit IPA and the Beachside Berliner, here are my other favorites.
- Tahitian Saison- I mentioned this one earlier, as it’s potentially my favorite saison ever. It’s a bit on the dry side with flavors of cucumber lime.
- Sunfruit American Wheat Ale – This is a beer I will go for after the beach! It’s super refreshing and yet still loaded with orange flavor.
- Nuthin Fancy Southern Brown Ale – This brew recently came in 2nd in the best Florida beer championships! It’s one of their few not citrus beers, but it’s equally as good. I love the oaty nutty taste of it.
- Citron Wild Grovehouse Ale – If you like wine, you will love this beer. It’s aged for twelve months in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels and has sour, fruity and even some dank flavors. I think this is one of their most complex beers!
Right now they have the Orkideer-Half Grapefruit Berliner Weisse on tap that I am dying to try. It’s a mix of grapefruit, vanilla and milk sugar, which makes for a pastry like concoction! They are always brewing up more and I can’t wait to see what comes next.
The Food at Orchid Island Brewery
Like I said before, I haven’t had the food here. I almost always get dinner at my favorite spot Cobalt beforehand, but I really need to make an exception and come here. Every time I’m in the brewery, the food looks and smells amazing!
It’s a pretty small menu, but it’s filled with good options. There are four different kinds of sandwiches, a couple salads and a half a dozen appetizers. Everything has a slight twist, such as shaved prosciutto on the deviled eggs.
The charcuterie boards looks like the ideal snack to munch on with your drinks and I’m also very intrigued by the crab dip. The prices are kind of all over the place and they do seem a bit high for the portion size. They range from around $9 for appetizers, $18 for charcuterie and $10-$14 for a sandwich. This isn’t too bad for Vero Beach though and they do use farm to table ingredients!
Know Before You Go
Most breweries tend to be far from the beach because of real estate prices, so I was very happy when I discovered Orchid Island. It really fits in perfect with the coastal vibe of Vero Beach. Here’s everything you need to know if you plan to visit.
- Orchid Island Brewery opens at 11:30 AM Tuesday-Saturday and closes at 10 PM during the week and 11 PM on Friday and Saturday.
- It is closed on Sunday and Monday.
- There is seating inside and outside.
- Food is served every day but service stops at 9 PM.
- At least ten beers are on tap, ranging from $6-$7.
- Wine and wine cocktails are also available for $7-$10 per glass.
- There’s plenty of free parking all around the strip mall area.
Next up will be another Vero Beach Brewery -American Icon! Have you been to Vero Beach? What about Orchid Island Brewery?