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Most people immediately get a picture in their mind when they think of Florida. Perhaps it’s the glitz of Miami, or the resorts of Orlando. Maybe it’s the legend of Florida Man. However, St. Augustine, Florida will change your view of what you think the state is. It’s the oldest city in the United States, a place filled with history & beautiful old buildings. There’s also a vibrant craft beer scene. I visited for a weekend trip & found plenty of good places to drink. Here are my favorite spots to drink craft beer in St. Augustine, Florida.
The best craft beer in St. Augustine, Florida
The two main areas for drinking in central St. Augustine are separated by the Matanzas River. However, you can easily walk between them across the Bridge of Lions.
Old Coast Ales
Old Coast Ales is across the river, on the east side of St. Augustine. When I visited, they had 10 taps of their own beer on the board (plus kombucha), though there were 14 taps available.
The bar very much felt like a neighborhood sort of place. Early on a Saturday evening, the place was buzzing with a diverse all-ages crowd. There was live music as well, with musicians rotating in to join the fun.
In addition to the live music, there was also an outside patio, games, and a taco place next door where you can grab food.
If a bar or restaurant has an exclamation point in their name, they are setting lofty expectations. There is no room for mediocrity when you’re so blatantly trying to show excitement. This is why Jeb Bush’s “Jeb!” campaign was a failure from the start.
The good news for Sarbez! is that the exclamation point is warranted. I loved it. I’d spotted what looked like an interesting bar across the street from the former Hoptinger Bier Garden & decided to pop in.
It’s an eclectic sort of place that draws more of a younger crowd than some of the other local beer bars. There are arcade games, live music (this seems to be a common thread at all the beer bars in St. Augustine), pool, board games, and if that’s too tame, Erotic Photo Hunt.
Along with 16 taps of craft beer, Sarbez! also has a full menu of fantastic grilled cheese sandwiches. They have a bunch of creations available, or you can make your own. I had one called The Green Ranger. It had mozzarella cheese, green apple, bacon, and caramel. It was delicious, and it was healthy because of the apple. The kitchen is open late, making Sarbez! the perfect place to go late at night when you really need something greasy to soak up the beer.
A1A Ale Works
Unsurprisingly, A1A Ale Works is located on A1A, the coastal road that passes through St. Augustine. The bar is located in a beautiful old historic building.
They no longer brew their own beer, but there are 24 taps of other craft beer, most of which are from Florida, along with a full bar & some decent bar food. Yet again, there was live music, with a guy playing British covers including Radiohead, Oasis, and George Michael.
Ancient City Brewing
Ancient City Brewing‘s main brewery is located just off I-95 outside of central St. Augustine, but thankfully they also have a taproom downtown.
The taproom has a rotating selection of 10 of their beers, with tasters available as well. You can also find their beer at hundreds of other locations around northern Florida.
Dog Rose Brewing Company
Dog Rose Brewing Company is a spacious bar located in the historic Lincolnville neighborhood in St. Augustine. Be sure to take a walk around the area & check out some of the signs documenting notable civil rights & other events that took place nearby.
The brewery has a rotating offering of 10 taps created by owner Doug Murr, who had formerly been the head brewer at A1A before they stopped brewing. The focus of his program is on straightforward, well-made beers.
There’s plenty of seating inside, plus shuffleboard, darts, and of course, live music.
Bog Brewing Company
Bog Brewing Company is located just west of downtown St. Augustine, in a quieter area of the city called the West King Street District. As such, it could be easy to overlook, but it was one of my favorite bars I visited. They’re a small operation that opened in 2016. I popped in at the end of an evening out, since it was near the hotel where I was staying, the TRYP by Wyndham Sebastian St. Augustine, which I highly recommend.
The bar was nearly empty, but I had a couple of beers while chatting with the friendly bartender, Katie, as she cleaned up. She had me won over when she said that I “didn’t look like an assf*ck”.
They have 10 rotating taps, but no visit to Bog Brewing is complete without having their Smoked Datil Ale. Datil peppers come from St. Augustine, so it’s a uniquely local beer that you can’t find anywhere else. If you’re a fan of spicy beers, or like me, you will always drink anything with local ingredients, you must stop in if you’re in St. Augustine.
The Blue Hen Cafe
The Blue Hen Cafe isn’t a craft beer bar at all, but I had to include it because it has the best brunch in town & I couldn’t not mention that. They’ve got a handful of bottles & cans of beer available, which is good enough in my book. I recommend the buttermilk chicken biscuits with peach butter & eggs.
St. Augustine is the perfect place for a weekend getaway. In May 2019, the first St. Augustine Craft Brewers Fest was held, bringing together all the breweries in town along with some other Florida favorites. Given how quickly the local beer scene is expanding, it will surely be popular.
Have you spotted other great places for craft beer in St. Augustine? Let me know in the comments!
Traveler. Writer. Photographer. Terrible dancer. 40+ countries & major territories so far, slowly working his way through the rest. Related interests: craft beer, street food, cocktails, culture, sporting events, history, value travel, credit card bonuses, hiking, visiting non-touristy places, bacon, seafood, & cheese