Central Florida Ale Trail 3.0

On the road again..……………..


This time we’re hitting some of the breweries in downtown, historic Sanford, Fl.  The plans are to stop at #16 and #18.  A and C are breweries that were not open when the map was printed.

Most people aren’t aware that Sanford was at one time the top-producing area for celery, starting in 1896 – 1974.  This was when the Agriculture industry dominated the area.  Not so much any more.  Sanford sits on the southern shore of Lake Monroe and their downtown has had a renaissance and is truly a happening place to be with breweries, restaurants and shops popping up all within easy walking distance.

It was one of those places we began our day – Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Café.


They specialize in German food and quite frankly, it is THE place to be during the World Cup.  They opened in 2001 when the Sanford downtown area was just beginning to grow and thrive, starting with 7 employees and now have 90+.  Our lunch began with the pretzel appetizer and I can’t believe it…………….I didn’t take a photo!  😦  One pretzel was definitely enough to stave off any hunger pains before our meal arrived.  Two guesses who is drinking the coke.


Unfortunately Germany was already out of contention before our visit, but there was still quite a large presence for the final game between France and Croatia.


Eric was rooting for France and when the team made their first goal, anyone supporting France was invited to drink from ‘the boot’.  Needless to say, Eric joined the group.  I don’t have any great photos, but the left photo is Eric getting the boot to drink from and the right photo he’s  handing off to the person next to him.  They did several rounds before the boot was finally emptied.

We all stuck with German selections for our meal.  I ordered the Nuremburg sausages with cucumber dill salad and sauerkraut while Eric got the Jaeger schnitzer with cucumber salad and red cabbage.  Everything was delicious but the pretzel left little room for me to enjoy my selection – maybe next time.

We left with France ahead, walking to our first brewery of the day – #16 Sanford Brewing Company.  The first thing you see on their website is “Old Florida in a new way”.  I like it.  The 100-seat taproom has a craftsman or mission-style feel to it, a nod to what was found in a lot of houses in Sanford.


We enjoyed our beers and they have a 5 oz pour (yeah!) but there was no level of World Cup excitement and when France won the World Cup, no one noticed, except us.


Interesting view of their taps, but LOVE their growler!  What an interesting shape.  Yes, Adrienne got one to add to her growing growler collection and so did we.  🙂



Seven hours later (yes, can you believe that – 7) we ultimately had dinner here before driving home.  We all really enjoyed their fish dip.

The rest of their food was ho-hum.  Nothing really wrong with my burger or their wings, but we wouldn’t do a repeat.

Down the block, across the street is #18 Wop’s Hops Brewing Company.


As the window states…….this was the first microbrewery in Sanford, opening in October 2014.  It’s located in a building that formerly housed the Stokes Fish Market.  Love that the side of the building still has this mural.


The building was constructed in 1916 and is haunted by 5 spirits – check it out by googling it.  They specialize in English-style ales, American IPAs, German lager & ales and seasonal experimental fruit & spice ales.

They have a full kitchen offering appetizers (pretzel nuggets), salads, sandwiches, flatbreads, wings and more.  THIS is where we should have eaten.

Since we were in Sanford, it was recommended we stop at Deviant Wolfe Brewing Company (A)- even though I don’t need a stamp.

They don’t serve food but you can order from surrounding restaurants and eat-in.  Their beer is brewed with fresh ingredients, rotate seasonally, specialize in sour beers (yuck) and have guest taps for cider and offer wine.  Yep, Adrienne added another growler to her collection.  This brewery is the result of 4 friends that met at University of Florida.  I wasn’t too impressed when we walked inside, but their website was intriguing.  Their vision is ‘Promote balance in the lives of others.’  They chose a campfire for their logo since a campfire is a place to gather, share stories, immerse in nature and find balance – now that’s a story.


Our last brewery to visit was Inner Compass Brewing Company (C).  They need help with a website – just saying.  This is another location that is not part of my 18 breweries to visit since they were not open at the time my map was created.

This place used to be an abandoned gas station in Sanford, but I had to really dig to find that nugget of information.  They opened in February 2018 and don’t serve any food but encourage you to bring some and eat in.  I think I have to agree with Eric, their milk stout was possibly my favorite of the day.  That’s saying something since usually halfway through our brewery stops, all of the flavors blend together – at least for me.  And really, who could refuse a beer that is called “Meh?”


This brewery was recommended by a couple we kept running into, while doing the Sanford ale trail.  While the building is well done, they didn’t appear to be open – which was exactly what the couple said.   There’s nothing outside or easily seen inside to draw you in on a whim.  I would guess that quite a few people walk right past.  Another growler for Adrienne.


I did see one thing that is the prize for stopping at all of these breweries……….Central Florida Ale Trail growler!


Forgive the funky lighting.  I tried to get the photo between light changes from their back-lighting, but no luck.  After getting a stamp at all 18 of the breweries on my Central Florida Ale Trail map, I get the growler, filled with my choice of beer.  Now that’s a prize worth drinking for.  🙂



One thought on “Central Florida Ale Trail 3.0

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