I’ll admit it, I’m not a big beer drinker, but when I do indulge, I prefer local craft beers. I’ve definitely come a long way with my knowledge over the past several years, and one thing that surprised me is that I actually prefer stouts and porters over light beers. That is the direct opposite of what I used to drink, which was usually light and fruity (Bud Light Lime). They just have such a depth of flavor that is unmatched by the light beers, and with notes of coffee and chocolate, two of my favorite flavors, what’s not to like? With a total of five breweries in Indian River County, three of which serve food (and more coming soon!), you don’t have to travel far to get a great pint of craft beer!
Now let’s dive right in and see all the amazing craft beer I tasted over the past couple of weeks while creating this article!
American Icon – Vero Beach, FL
Located on a two acre site right in the heart of downtown Vero Beach, American Icon Brewery is one of the most unique breweries you will find on the Treasure Coast. In operation now for almost 4 years (opened fall of 2017), this place definitely has atmosphere to spare. The founder, Michael Rechter, is a real estate developer, investor, and entrepreneur from South Florida and spared no expense when renovating this building. Rumor has it that he invested close to 6 – 7 million dollars into this project. Co-owners, Carl Berry and Jason Emmett from the Paradigm Hospitality Group took over the day to day operations in October 2019 have updated the menu and added several new beers to the tap list. From the expansive industrial designed interior, the old 750-kilowatt diesel engine generator being transformed into where the beer taps are located, and a gastropub style menu, this is one brewery experience you won’t soon forget!
American Icon Brewery
Address: 1133 19th Pl, Vero Beach, FL 32960
Phone: (772) 934-4266
Mash Monkeys Brewing Company – Sebastian, FL
Owners Derek Gerry and Patrick Kirchner first opened Mash Monkeys in March 2018 as the ninth brewery on the Treasure Coast. They signed the lease in 2017, but didn’t open until a year later due to the extensive remodel. During my visit, I asked Derek how they picked the name “Mash Monkeys” He states “The name Mash Monkeys refers to the blue collar lives they’ve lived up until now. Patrick was a mechanic, aka a “Grease Monkey”, and Derek cooked professionally, aka a “Stove Monkey”. Now that they are brewers, they are “Mash Monkeys”. When visiting a new brewery, the owners recommend you always order a flight of beers so you can try several different varieties in one visit to help you discover and find one that you like. While they don’t sell food, there are a few restaurants close by that you can order take out and bring it over to the brewery and enjoy.
Pareidolia Brewing Co. – Sebastian, FL
Owners Pete and Lynn moved to Sebastian from the Pacific North West in 2014 and were shocked at the lack of craft breweries in the area, so they decided to open the very first craft brewery in Sebastian! As avid home brewers for over 20 years, it only made sense to follow their passion and open Pareidolia Brewing Company. When I first heard the name, I had no idea what it meant, so I did a little research. Its pronounced “PARR-I-DOH-LEE-AH” and it’s definition means “The psychological phenomenon that causes some people to see a vague or random image of something significant.” So what does that mean exactly? By using your imagination you can see faces in everyday common objects, hence their slogan “Face it, beer is good!” Don’t stop for food before you visit them, because they have an extensive menu of Pub style grub “crafted” by Pete’s wife Lynn, that includes sandwiches, hot dogs, poutine, flat breads, and more!
Sailfish Brewing Co. – Vero Beach, FL
As one of the largest craft brewers on the Treasure Coast, they first opened their doors 9 years ago in Fort Pierce in what is known today as Pierced Cider Works. They quickly outgrew that location and moved to the large warehouse on 2nd Ave. This gave them ample room to grow and brew large quantities of craft beer. In their quest for world craft beer domination, they decided to expand into Indian River County and they just opened (Oct 2021) their first craft beer outpost. While they are not actually brewing in IRC yet, 8 of their most popular beers are on tap, with hopes soon to brew a few specialty beers just for the Vero location. The taproom also includes a kitchen with a brand new chef and menu to tempt your taste buds! The menu features light bites and more filling items like flat breads, a poke bowl (featured above), and a smash burger.
Walking Tree Brewery – Vero Beach, FL
Established in June of 2016, Walking Tree just celebrated their 5th anniversary this past summer. The brewery is located on Dodger Road, just a few hundred feet off of Aviation Blvd (near the airport), in a building with some interesting history behind it. It was constructed in 1945 by the US Navy and used as an aviation supply warehouse during WWII. With dart boards, corn hole and a giant Jenga game, there’s plenty to keep you busy as you enjoy your beer. As for food options, you can bring take out from any local restaurant, or you can get food on the weekends from a local food truck. I also heard they are in the process of putting in a full commercial kitchen and plan to start serving food in 2022!