The Beer Lover’s Guide to Breweries in Northwest Florida
July 5, 2023
So much to love about the Emerald Coast. White sugar sand beaches that go on for days, emerald waters that glisten in the sun, and water sports that satisfy both leisure enthusiasts and avid adventurists. From family-friendly attractions and delightful eateries, Florida’s panhandle is a compelling destination with activities to delight year-round.
It’s also home to some exceptional breweries, each serving up tasty pints and delicious eats sure to satisfy your appetite after a day spent exploring. Whether you’re new to the craft beer scene or interested in trying a few local brews during your trip, we’ve got the scoop on the best breweries in Northwest Florida. Our Beer Lover’s Guide features top-quality craft brewers from Pensacola to Panama City Beach, each offering locally inspired ales, lagers, and seasonal brews best enjoyed ice cold and shared with family and friends.
First settled nearly five centuries ago, the City of Five Flags is a beautiful and storied community with a vibrant downtown. The perfect mix of a relaxed beach town with a bustling metropolitan community Pensacola boasts historical, cultural, and natural attractions and over a dozen breweries to explore, several receiving accolades at the Best Florida Beer Competition.
This local brew house has gained a cult following, steadily serving a revolving lineup of beer, cider, and seltzer, the perfect way to end any day on the Emerald Coast. Featuring a 2.5-acre outdoor patio, you’ll find plenty of space in the Beer Garden to enjoy a hard lemonade or coastal cider and a strong lineup of your favorite brews. Be sure to try Fred’s Red, a classic Irish red ale and gold-medal winner that’s refreshingly satisfying.
Located in the heart of downtown Pensacola on Garden Street, this fun hangout features long communal tables, a chill ambiance, and indoor and outdoor seating. Their flagship beers, Pensacola Pog and Citra Spin, are renowned in these parts, with other faves, Colliding Waves and Yachside, offering nods to the coastal community. A gold-medal winner for Sabine Rations, a hybrid ale with a distinct personality, their Holy Spin, a drier, medium-bodied ale with a citrusy spin, snagged a silver medal. Grab both from their to-go cooler any day of the week.
Serving up brews for over a decade in historic Pensacola, friendly, knowledgeable staff will happily serve up brews, wine, and cider as you chill and catch a game on the flat screen. Enjoy live music, an outdoor dog-friendly patio, and a lively taproom with over twenty beers while taking in the sights at Seville Square. Winning a bronze for the Panhandle Special, an American-style cream ale, their Conquistador Doppelbock, a smooth sipping German-style beer, is also worth a mention.
Fort Walton Beach Breweries
Located between Pensacola and Panama City Beach, Fort Walton Beach is a family-friendly beach destination with a small-town feel. With a thriving downtown community, seasonal festivals and events, and Okaloosa Island offering water activities and delightful eateries along its three-mile stretch, you’ll also find a few local brewhouses serving a cold one.
Featuring over 30 craft beers on tap, cocktails, and wine, locals flock to this centrally located brewery in Uptown Station, a popular restaurant and shopping center. Sample their Crab Island Blonde or a Harborbock with the mac & cheese bites or truffle fries. Their sister location in Destin is just as fun, featuring Happy Hour, brunch, and burger night with mouthwatering half-pound burgers at reduced prices.
Founded by two Special Ops pilots over a decade ago, this small brewpub features small-batch brews rotating seasonally. Take your pick from ales, pilsners, IPAs, and lagers; you’ll also find porters and seltzers in the lineup and can grab them all at local package and grocery stores. Swing by for Happy Hour, Locals Night, or Trivia Night, order a Blond Bomber or a Flying Coffin and chill with friends.
Whether spending your days at Crab Island, the Destin Harborwalk Village, or strolling the beautiful beaches, Destin offers many fun and exciting attractions with families in mind. Of course, after all the beach-going, shopping, and water park activities, the trip wouldn’t be complete without hitting a local brewery.
Boasting too many accolades to mention, this little gem near Destin’s HarborWalk Village features a large tasting room and over a dozen tap beers. Winner of Florida Brewery of the Year at the New York International Beer Competition and Best in Destin for Best Beer Selection, its Destin Ale has been a consistent front-runner for four consecutive years. Other notable mentions include the East Pass IPA and Emerald Coast Kölsch, both refreshingly crisp and delightfully satisfying.
The name says it all; it’s a literal world of beer featuring hundreds of domestic and international brews, hand-crafted cocktails, and wine. Offering military discounts, game and trivia nights, and TVs on the patio, this pet-friendly hub is the place to be in Destin. Located in the popular Destin Commons, an outdoor shopping center with a splash pad for the kids, you can easily throw in a little shopping and dinner afterward.
From Dune Allen Beach to Inlet Beach, 30A is a lovely collection of small towns winding along the Gulf of Mexico. Home to some of the most picturesque coastlines, it’s also known for an outdoor lifestyle celebrated by sipping a cold brew with your toes in the sand.
Located just off of Scenic Highway 30A and featuring Florida-inspired craft recipes, this local’s joint is the premier brewery in Walton County. Offering carefully crafted brews inspired by the 30A lifestyle, they’ve kept visitors and locals hydrated in the best possible way for years. The Divide and Conquer, a tasty pale ale, and the Ghost Crab Pilsna are real crowd-pleasers, but the Rosemary Saison is gaining a cult following.
The Grayton Beach lifestyle is worthy of celebration, and nowhere is that more evident than in the offerings at this brewery. With a pet and child-friendly taproom and over twenty unique beers, the whole gang can play darts, cornhole, and life-sized Jenga while sipping a cold brew. The 30A Bleach Blonde Ale, Rose,’ and IPA are truly inspired and worthy of a try. With names like ‘Nother Beautiful Day’ and ‘Salt of the Gulf,’ it’s easy to see where they find inspiration.
Founded in 2019, this family and dog-friendly locals joint features over thirty of the coldest craft beers around. Order a flight and sample summer shandies, bourbon-barrelled stouts, and everything in between. Grab a pint, a half pint, or a growler to go filled with a sparkling Lime Lager or a Honey Brown Ale and enjoy it in your vacation condo or home. Dogs are welcome to hang out, too, while you listen to the occasional live music and sip on an iced cold Margarita Goose or Riptide.
Panama City Beach Breweries
Panama City Beach is an adventure-lovers paradise with 27 miles of white sand beaches, two state parks, and legendary attractions. Serving up more than sunshine and clear blue skies, here are a few local breweries you should check out.
Nothing like a giant pretzel and beer cheese or some smoked chicken wings to go with an icy cold brew, but don’t look for any flagship beers here. Their specialty is concocting IPAs, stouts, ciders, and porters on a regular rotation, so you’ll always find something new. Located in historic downtown Panama City Beach, swing by for small bites and whatever they happen to be brewing, each experimental concoction a refreshing delight.
Featuring rotating food trucks serving everything from Thai Fusion to Cuban sandwiches to Hawaiian cuisine, each bite is complimented by sipping the perfect brew. Try the Spicy Mango Habanero or the Voodoo Haze while enjoying a coastal sunset with your favorite people.
Cheers to exploring the breweries of Northwest Florida, where you can indulge in a fully immersive beer experience and savor the flavorful brews that embody our vibrant local communities!
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