After you have toured the Castillo de San Marco Spanish fort and the other attractions in the destination that tops the list of the oldest cities in the U.S., then checked out the dining scene, you might be ready for a beer or two. Thankfully you’ll be able to find a quality craft beer easily here: there are four good Saint Augustine breweries to explore, plus a few pubs and taprooms that feature a good lineup from Florida microbreweries.
There isn’t a long list of breweries in St. Augustine Florida, but the ones that are here do a good job and they’re full of personality. Each has a distinctive vibe and decor, so it’s worth checking them all out. After that, explore some of the pubs and beer-focused bars to drink well on your Florida vacation. Bookmark this list if you’re headed to Florida’s Historic Coast and you’ll be in good shape.
Ancient City Brewing
This is the best-known St. Augustine brewery and has the widest distribution outside of town, available in cans in many stores across the region. Two of their beers you’re most likely to find in cans are quite appropriate for Florida: a coconut porter and orange amber ale. Their hoppy Anastasia Island IPA is also deservedly popular and at the other end of the scale there’s an easy-drinking Golden Ale that’s 4.8% alcohol but not wimpy on flavor.
The actual brewery is located near I-95 about 20 minutes from the historic center, so you’ll need a car or taxi for that, but if that’s an option you’ll find outdoor seating, a food truck or two, maybe some live music, and games like cornhole.
An easier option as a visitor is to just walk in the door at their Old Town taproom instead and sample what they’ve got there. It’s right on Cathedral Place, near the fort and the water.
I took a look at the Ancient City Brewing beer list and had trouble deciding. Sometimes I just go with the best name and that would have been their Left Turn on Red, a red ale of course. But I hadn’t had a coconut porter for ages and theirs has stood the test of time, so I went for the Castillo. It hit all the expected notes and I was happy. I would have gone for something else but had someone with me who’s not a big beer drinker, so we moved on.
This St. Augustine Brewery requires about a 20-minute walk from where Ancient City is located, but Bog Brewing is worth the trip. It’s in a mostly residential area past the San Sebastian winery and near The Sebastian Hotel. It feels like a neighborhood place rather than a tourist spot and there’s no pretension here–they don’t even bother to name most of their beers. The style is the name.
Bog Brewing serves a wide variety of beers brewed a few steps from the taps, hitting pretty much every taste from cream ale to saison. They have a few unique offerings though, like a smoked ale using the local datil pepper and a ginger rye pale ale. They don’t have a kitchen, but there’s often a food truck parked outside and ample parking if you come by car. Beer nerds who aren’t put off by a brew that has as much alcohol as a glass of wine will want to check out the 11.2% Belgian quad.
Dog Rose Brewing
Dog Rose Brewing opened a few years ago and has about five times the space that Bog does, with ample outdoor seating and an indoor area filled with fun games to play where you’re putting back some good St. Augustine craft beer. Table shuffleboard, darts, and other classics will keep you occupied.
It’s located at the back end of the Lightner Museum and a block from the gorgeous grounds of the luxury hotel The Collector. So it’s easy to get to from anywhere in the historic district.
The 10 beer choices available when I visited were relatively standard. It was a cool, overcast day, so I ended up getting a 3-beer sampler flight with a Rhapsody in Red red ale, a nitro Speedball Stout, and one I had to order because of the name: Uncle Whatsisface Stout.
The two stouts were quite good, the nitro one was strong and flavorful, with elements of coffee and smoke. The other was a silky sipper that had a bit of sourness on the finish. The red ale was a little soapy tasting, but I’m not sure if that was a glass washing issue or the brewing recipe. One thing was clear though: the crowd here was having fun.
Old Coast Ale
This is the only St. Augustine brewery I’ve been to twice and it would be the first one I’d make a beeline for if I were staying at the beach. Old Coast Ale is located between the beach and the city. It’s on Anastasia Island, walking distance from Marker 8 Hotel and next to the excellent Osprey Tacos. So yes, you can order a plate of tacos, order an Old Coast Ale, and your taste buds will be very happy you came here.
I love the decor of this place and the emphasis they’ve put on good graphics in their design. The beer is quite good too from what I tried–and I tried 4 of the 11 available on this trip. There was an Olde English cask ale that was high alcohol, but the others were pretty standard, including two IPAs and two hazy ales.
On my flight, I sampled a Run GMC hazy pale ale, an Empirical American pale ale, a Port of Call porter, and the No A’postrophe red ale. All were good and hit the right notes, the porter tasting like a perfect classic of the style. The hazy pale ale had some nice farmhouse funk and the red ale was one of the most interesting one of those I’ve had in a while. It was my favorite overall. I had to drive there though, so no seconds.
That’s the universe of St. Augustine breweries for you, just four of them at this point, but this is not a very large city. If you get bored with the options after being here a while, head north to Jacksonville and the JAX Ale Trail or west to the Central Florida Ale Trail for round 2.
Or just keep exploring the good microbrew options in the Historic Coast region. These Saint Augustine breweries aren’t the only places in town to get good craft beer. There are quite a few pubs and taprooms around the historic district that offer some interesting atmosphere with your pint.
Other Saint Augustine Craft Beer Stops
You don’t have to go to a place where they actually brew the beer to enjoy a cold one from the region. There are plenty of bars in the area that emphasize Florida beers in their choices, including the home town heros. Here are a few places to explore.
Auggie’s Draft Room – This is the easiest place to get a good craft beer after touring the famous fort or strolling along St. George Street. It’s one of those pour-your-own establishments where you pick what you want, insert a card, pour a draft beer, and pay for what you drank. What’s on tap rotates regularly, so you can always try something new when you return later. The choices from the 25 taps are mostly good craft beers, with about half the choices from Florida, but if you’ve got a friend with a lousy palate they usually include a couple of mass-market ones like Bud Light, Blue Moon, or Corona. They also serve a full menu of food, including popular burgers, so it’s a good casual dining option.
A1A Ale Works – You can’t miss this place since it’s right by the Lion’s Bridge on the A1A, near the Ancient Age downtown taproom. The name would make you think they’re a brewer too, but they’re not anymore. Instead they’re a restaurant and a big cheerleader for beer brewed in Florida. The bar has more than 20 choices on draft at any given time, all brewed in the Sunshine State.
I can’t give you my experience of what it’s like here though. Neither of the two bartenders had a mask on when I entered in early March while Florida was still adding thousands to its daily Covid-19 case numbers and the place was packed, so we went in the door and right back out. I’ll try it again another time post-vaccinations.
Rendezvous Restaurant is the place to go if you want to sample something interesting from some dot on the map around the world. This place was serving good beer back when that only meant “imported beer” and is still at it, with more than 300 international varieties to choose from at any given time. They’re located at 106 St. George Street in the heart of the tourist district.
Barley Republic Irish Pub – I didn’t have a drink here, so I can’t vouch for the selection of 70 beers on offer, but it looked like an inviting place where people were having fun when I walked by. The menu includes lots of hearty items if you’re hungry and you might just meet your new best friend. It’s at 48 Spanish Street.
The Social Lounge Bar – Like Barley Republic, The Social Lounge is in a historic house in the center, this one located at 59 Cuna Street. They only have six beers on tap at any given time, but they’re carefully chosen and all from Florida.
This is a good place to bring a non-beer-lover along though because they also specialize in organic wine from around the world and they make a fresh house sangria that’s refreshing on a hot day. There are board games to play and professional games to watch all the the time. They don’t serve food, but you’re welcome to order from elsewhere and eat it on site.
Sarbez! Saint Augustine
Yes, Sarbez has an exclamation point in their name and they’re not fooling around. The first thing you see on their website is “Grilled cheese and beer until 2 a.m.” Really, do you need much more info than that?
Sarbez! is located on Anastasia Island, near Old Coast Ale. So if that brewpub is too full or you’d rather have a grilled cheese than tacos (there are 18 varieties), this is a great alternative. There’s even a vegan grilled cheese and they serve kombucha, so you can go full-on hippy-dippy if you want. Otherwise, order “This is Why I’m Hot” and pick something from the many beer taps on the wall.
Just like at the Saint Augustine brewpubs, they’ve got stacks of board games, but Sarbez also has a full arcade with pinball games, air hockey, and Skee-ball.
You’ll need to eat when you’re in town, so check out our earlier post on Saint Augustine food and dining. Need a place to stay? Check out the options here: