Eat & Drink Local
We love craft beer and visiting local breweries. This means we’re always on the lookout for one in the areas we visit. We planned to spend the weekend in Orlando to use our Universal Studios season passes. It only made sense to add a Brewventures side trip!
What’s in a Name?
When we researched Orlando breweries and found Dead Lizard Brewing, we had to check it out! It also helped that it was only 4 miles from our hotel outside of the Universal Gate. They are open until midnight on Saturday too. This made it the perfect place to visit after a day in the park.
Dead Lizard Brewing
Richie, one of the owners, wanted a brewery name that embraced their Central Florida roots. Sun and sand have been overused but Rich always had lots of lizards around his yard. The perfect central Florida brewery name was born!
We love unique and fun brewery and beer names. I will totally buy a beer just for its crazy name. Their lizard logo is awesome. They have great t-shirts but my favorite is the hand stamped logo in the tap backsplash!
Brewery History – A Family Tradition
This brewery has the best back story of any we’ve been to. Beer is literally in their blood! We spoke to Dell, co-owner and father to Richie, the head brewer. Dell taught his son Richie to brew at 20 years old, just as Dell’s father taught him. Dell also taught Richie’s neighborhood friends who were interested.
Flash forward a few years. One of the Richie’s friends was so interested in the brewing process, he got a degree in it. Aaron learned the basics from Dell, then continued to Davis University. He earned a degree in Chemistry and Brewing.
It was only a matter of time until the idea of a brewery bloomed. They moved into the building and started the process in 2014. They wanted to have several taps of their own beer available. They went through the lengthy permit process and opened in August 2016. The brewery is truly a family affair, with father, son, friends, and cousins all helping out.
Even though we were later in the evening visiting, Dell kindly gave us a private brewery tour. We have done probably 40 brewery tours and this was the most informative I’ve ever been on. You can tell Dell is very knowledgeable and passionate about brewing. Most tours just point out the basic equipment and give you the names, but not Dell! He explained in detail malt and the malting process, hops and their use and purpose, fermenting and its process. He even explained how they clean and process their water, then add minerals back into it. I learned two new things about brewing that I’ve never heard on another tour:
- The mineral content of the water used to brew is different for each beer!
- The brewing tanks are cooled with glycol.
This was hands down THE BEST brewery tour EVER.
Attention to Detail
Dell told us they have their own hop farm in Ohio. Once a year they do a harvest beer. The hops are picked fresh, then trucked overnight, and used in the beer the following day. They brew the beer, keg it, and roll it into the cooler where it is piped into the tap room. You can’t get fresher beer than that! They are really dedicated to fresh, high quality beer. They want you to have the best beer experience possible. You can’t get a better, or fresher beer than straight from the source!
The Tap Room
One of the things we love about craft breweries is they are more along the lines of the pubs you see in Europe. They are a gathering place for the whole neighborhood. This means they are family and dog friendly and usually include local live music. The Deal Lizard ticks all these boxes and more!
The tap room is small and cozy but with plenty of seating. Richie’s two year old daughter was running around and dancing. There was the cutest little dog curled up in a chair making himself at home. A pile of board games in the corner invite you to come in and stay awhile.
Live music was provided by Jessica Delacruz. It was one of the best and most intimate live music shows I’ve attended. Jessica, her acoustic guitar, and her ethereal, soulful voice. No PA, no microphone. Her voice is perfection and her song list amazing. I was thrilled to hear rock classics mixed with new pop. I was especially impressed that she played several Fleetwood Mac songs, nailing Stevie Nicks while putting her own spin on the classic songs. She is an incredible artist, please check her out here.
They pair up with local food trucks so the food offerings are always changing. I love it because it allows you to eat and drink local at the same time! For times when there aren’t food trucks, they have sandwiches and packaged snacks available too.
We were invited to the bar by Sam, Richie’s cousin and resident beertender. Sam was so nice and friendly! Shortly after sitting down, we were also pulled into conversation with Dell and Dave. Dave is a regular Dead Lizard visitor and fellow craft beer enthusiast. He is also retired USAF, thank you Dave and all other vets for your service!
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We saw on their website they had a key lime beer that we knew we had to try. They had 8 beers on tap during our visit. We were happy to see they offered flights of 4. Tom and I each ordered a flight so we could try them all. (For blog research of course! Lol) The flights were served on these cool pieces of slate.
* Tip: Looking for craft breweries in your area while traveling? Download the Untappd app! (It’s Free!)
Hazelnut Praline Chameleon Creamsicle Ale
This beer is divine. The first sip is like a nutty cream soda, without being overly sweet. It is smooth and creamy from the nitro. All the flavors are subtle and well balanced.
Key Lime Chameleon Creamsicle Ale
We were so excited to try this one! First sip is creamy sweet vanilla followed by a light lime bite at the end. The key lime is very subtle but there. No one flavor is overpowering.
While I’m not normally a fan of IPAs, this one is wonderful. At 65 IBUs, it has plenty of hops without being a taste bud killer. It is very sessionable. I love the citrus notes and smoothness of this beer.
Trippy Pippy’s Red Dread Ale
I love red ales and this one is delicious. It is so beautifully balanced you can taste both the malt and hops without one overpowering the other. It is smooth with subtle malty sweetness and a mild bitter hop bite on the end. This is another sessionable offering.
Uncle Pudgy’s Two Fisted Porter
This is a very light porter. You get smooth roasty malt but not a ton of coffee. It’s slightly sweet but not a desert beer. I like that even though it’s a dark beer, it’s not heavy.
Butterscotch Caramel Bliss Uncle Pudgy’s Two Fisted Porter
This one smells like a Werther’s caramel candy. At first sip you get light caramel/butterscotch followed by dark roast coffee. If there was a butterbeer coffee, it would taste like this. I really loved this one.
Komodo “Koko” Dragon Stout
I REALLY love chocolate, especially chocolate beer! This one is aged on pure coco nibs. It is not heavy at all but is definitely chocolate. You can also taste vanilla in there as well, with a light hint of coffee. Dell gave us some candied pecan to pair this with and it really brought out the flavors of both the beer and the pecans. They complemented each other perfectly. The cinnamon from the pecans really worked with the chocolate beer.
Anole Bourbon Nut Brown
The BEST bourbon beer I’ve ever had, hands down. Most bourbon aged beers are like taking a shot and the liquor conceals any flavor from the beer. Not so with this one! The earthy nuttiness from the brown is complemented on the finish with sour mash. You also get very subtle flavors or vanilla and oak. This is an incredible beer. I wish it was available on growler!
Speaking of growlers, don’t forget to take some home. If you didn’t bring a growler like us, they have them for sale. Pick up a t-shirt and stickers too. They are constantly brewing unique new flavors, so visit often.
Enter as Friends, Leave as Family
Dead Lizard Brewing Company are masters at subtle, smooth flavors. No flavor outdoes or competes with another. They all meld wonderfully to create incredibly smooth, drinkable beers. That coupled with the stellar service, comfortable tap room, and family atmosphere, makes Dead Lizard Brewing the perfect place to come and stay for a while. Bring the whole family, kids and dogs included. Richie, Dell, Sam, and the gang will make your family feel like theirs. I know we sure felt that way. We can’t wait to go back and see what they have brewed up the next time.
Have you been to the Dead Lizard? What did you think? What about any of the other Orlando breweries? Drop us a comment and let us know!
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