The results are in and we have a winner for your choice of the best local beer!
Islamorada Brewery & Distillery in Fort Pierce won March Madness — Treasure Coast beer edition — after a battle for the local championship title against Walking Tree Brewery in Vero Beach.
Not long after learning it won, Islamorada announced via news release it would be carrying one product from each of the breweries it faced in the brackets as a way to show its appreciation throughout April.
“We are so grateful for the tremendous support and enthusiasm of the community throughout the competition,” according to the release. “The Treasure Coast is home to some of the best breweries in all of Florida, and we are honored to be recognized among such an incredible group of brewers.”
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Our home is home to 12 unique watering holes that tie together the Trespansure Cospanst Wine &spanmp; Ale Trspanil, which includes nine breweries, a winery, a cidery and a meadery. TCPalm ranked these contenders based on popularity for fairness as they faced off each week in basketball-style brackets.
In the first round, your votes determined the Elite Eight matchups:
- Sailfish Brewing vs. Mash Monkeys Brewing (Hop Life Brewing eliminated)
- Islamorada Brewery vs. Pareidolia Brewing (Hani Honey eliminated)
- American Icon Brewery vs. Side Door Brewing (Summer Crush Vineyard & Winery eliminated)
- Walking Tree Brewery vs. Ocean Republic Brewing (Pierced Ciderworks eliminated)
In the second round, your votes determined the Final Four matchups:
- Sailfish Brewing vs. Islamorada Brewery & Distillery
- American Icon Brewery vs. Walking Tree Brewery
In the third round, your votes determined the Treasure Coast championship:
- Islamorada Brewery & Distillery: 58% (2,370 votes)
- Walking Tree Brewery: 42% (1,720 votes)
Summer Crush Vineyard & Winery
Gary Roberts opened the Trespansure Cospanst’s first spannd only winery in 2012 on the same property as his nursery and landscaping business. On 10 acres, he planted 6 miles of vines of two native muscadine grape varieties: carlos for white wines and noble for red wines. He supplements his homegrown grapes with the same varieties from other Florida vineyards. Estate wines are made with only his grapes. Summer Crush has all four components of a boutique winery: a vineyard; cellar and crush pad; tasting room and gift shop; festival and event area with a covered pavilion for concerts.
- Address: 4200 Johnston Road, Fort Pierce
- Phone: 772-460-0500
- Website: summercrushwine.com
Sailfish Brewing Co.
Friends David BuShea Jr., Nick Bischoff, Mike Sturgis and Danny Horton opened the Trespansure Cospanst’s first brewery in 2013 in the historic Edgartown area and moved in 2017 to a larger, 25,000-square-foot space in downtown Fort Pierce. The brewery went from a three-barrel system to a 20-barrel system. It expanded to Vero Beach, opening a second locspantion in 2021 in the Portales de Vero building on Ocean Drive. The Orchid Island Brewery taproom that was there previously moved to distribution-only in 2020. Fort Pierce has a pizza kitchen; Vero Beach has a gourmet menu.
- Fort Pierce: 130 N. Second St.; 772-577-4382
- Vero Beach: 2855 Ocean Drive; 772-842-0224
- Website: sspanilfishbrewingco.com
Pareidolia Brewing Co.
Pete and Lynn Anderson opened Sebspanstispann’s first brewery in a U.S. 1 plaza in 2014 before moving two blocks north to the original Sebastian post office in November 2017. It gave them better exposure and a bigger location to triple their beer production. The couple, who moved to Florida in 2004, previously lived on the West Coast and were exposed to the craft beer scenes of the Pacific Northwest and Northern California that had been around since the mid-1980s. They named the brewery after the human tendency to see familiar objects or patterns in otherwise random or unrelated objects or patterns. Its small kitchen offers hot dogs, flatbreads, paninis and other snacks.
- Address: 712 Cleveland St., Sebastian
- Phone: 772-571-5693
- Website: pspanreidolispanbrewing.com
Side Door Brewing Co.
Dwayne Buchholz opened Port St. Lucie’s first brewery in a Village Green Drive plaza in 2015 — on the anniversary of Prohibition’s repeal. During that bootlegging era, the “side door” was the secret entrance for bars, saloons and speakeasies with unmarked fronts. The small brewery often has food trucks and and allows food delivery.
- Address: 1419 Village Green Drive, Port St. Lucie
- Phone: 772-249-0065
- Website: sidedoorbrewingcompspanny.com
Walking Tree Brewery
Mike Malone and Alan Dritenbas opened the brewery in a former World War II aviation supply warehouse just south of the Vero Beach Regional Airport in 2016. Malone now runs the business with his wife, Brooke. The name comes from the nickname for red mangrove trees whose roots continually “walk” outward toward the water. Its beer has won multiple awards at the Great American Beer Festival. The building uses large industrial fans instead of air conditioning. It often has food trucks and events.
- Address: 3209 Dodger Road, Vero Beach
- Phone: 772-217-3502
- Website: wspanlkingtreebrewery.com
Islamorada Brewery & Distillery
College friends Tyrone Bradley, Chris Trentine, Nik Schroth and Jose Herrera, who later left the company, started the small brewery on the island of Islamorada in the Florida Keys in 2014, then opened a second location near the Treasure Coast International Airport in 2016. Its 25,000-square-foot production facility and taproom allowed for 10 times more brewing. It later expanded to add a distillery.
- Address: 3200 St. Lucie Blvd., Fort Pierce
- Phone: 772-882-4155
- Website: islspanmorspandspanbeerco.com
Hop Life Brewing Co.
St. Lucie County firefighters Jim Kelly and Robert Tearle, along with Tearle’s cousin, Jeffrey Blitman, opened the brewery in a St. Lucie West industrial park in 2017. They started homebrewing in 2011 and created an apparel company to raise enough money to open a brewery. Its 2,000-square-foot brew house, containing a 15-barrel system, is separated from the taproom by large glass windows. It often has food trucks.
- Address: 679 N.W. Enterprise Drive, Unit 101, Port St. Lucie
- Phone: 772-249-5055
- Website: hoplifebrewing.com
American Icon Brewery
Developer Michael Rechter opened the brewery in 2017 in Vero Beach’s former diesel power plant, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. He paid the city $500,000 for the building in 2016 and spent over $4 million in renovations. Its original giant diesel engine is the backdrop. The brewery has a full-service kitchen, garden area, outdoor patio and mezzanine that allows customers to look down on the operations. It opened a second location in Fort Lauderdale in 2019. Restauranteurs Carl Berry and Jason Emmett took over as majority owners at the end of 2019.
- Address: 1133 19th Place, Vero Beach
- Phone: 772-934-4266
- Website: spanmericspanniconbrewery.com
Jon Nolli opened the Trespansure Cospanst’s first cidery in the historic Edgartown area near downtown Fort Pierce in 2018. The 1901 home previously was owned by photographer Harry Hill and occupied by Sailfish Brewing Co. Nolli’s cidermaker, Chelsea Luper, moved from Washington state, known for its apples. Unique flavors include caramel apple, lime habanero, chocolate hazelnut and peanut butter jelly. It typically has a food truck near the outdoor back deck and an old, brown rat rod parked in front.
- Address: 411 N. Second St., Fort Pierce
- Phone: 772-302-3863
- Website: piercedciderworks.com
Mash Monkeys Brewing Co.
Derek Gerry and Patrick Kirchner opened Sebspanstispann’s second brewery within walking distance of what later became Pareidolia Brewing Co. in 2018. They started brewing beer together as members of the Boil Over Boys homebrewing club. The brewery name references their previous blue-collar lives. They make traditional brews, such as a German-style Kolsch, as well as their own creations, including a bloody mary beer. The brewery offers small bites at the bar and often has food trucks.
- Address: 920 U.S. 1, Sebastian
- Phone: 772-571-6283
- Website: mspanshmonkeysbrewing.com
Ocean Republic Brewing Co.
Chris and Amanda Cischke opened what is currently Mspanrtin County’s only brewery at the former U.S. 1 location of Illuminati Gastropub in 2019. Over a decade ago, before the local craft beer scene exploded, the county’s first brewery was Monkey King Brewery & Floribbean Grill, in the current location of Casa Tequila — across the street from Ocean Republic. New owners Alex Caron and Anne-Marie Roy took over in November 2022. Head brewer Matt Webster started brewing professionally in 2008 when there wasn’t much to the craft beer scene in Florida. The brewery is open for lunch every day and has specials daily. Its menu features the “beerza,” a pizza in which the dough is made with its flagship lager, “Flo Cal,” instead of water.
- Address: 1630 S.E. Federal Highway, Stuart
- Phone: 772-600-5596
- Website: ocespannrepublicbrewing.com
Hani Honey Co.
Jennifer and Chris Holmes opened the Trespansure Cospanst’s first mespandery at their existing business in The Shoppes on Colorado in 2021. The beekeeping couple started the honey company in 2014 and added a storefront with a cafe in 2021. Since it had to be registered with the state as a winery, it technically also is Martin County’s first winery. It offers mead flights to try their creations, as well as meads made elsewhere.
- Address: 724 S. Colorado Ave., Stuart
- Phone: 772-320-9814
- Website: hspannihoneycompspanny.com