When one thinks of Walt Disney World (as one often does, if by one, you mean Me.), one thinks about thrilling attractions, costumed characters and live shows, and pure, unadulterated magic.
I’ve been visiting Disney since I was 3, and would certainly consider myself a “Disney Nerd”. My first trip I went on with my wife was to Disney, and we got engaged at Narcoossee’s at Walt Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort in May of 2010. It holds a special place in my heart.
“Beauty and the Beeeeeeast!” 🎶 🎶
I would also consider myself a “Craft Beer Nerd”. I started getting into craft beer in 2010, working at Il Bambino (please see my other article on TigerLyfe Times about “The Bamb” if you haven’t checked it out yet), and my love for craft beer intensified when I met my dear friend Matthew Spitz (now he and his wife Lauri are the owners of Moustache Brewing Company in Riverhead, Long Island. Be on the lookout for my article on them soon!) and I would go to brew days at his house and would expand my palate, trying different flavors and styles. I wouldn’t be writing about beer if it hadn’t been for Ryan at Il Bambino, and Matt and Lauri at Moustache.
So, Beer and Walt Disney World are two things I’m very passionate about. Since about 2011 (perhaps before, but this is the first time I remember a big craft beer presence in and around the parks), the craft beer scene around Walt Disney World has exploded. I remember seeing Sierra Nevada on tap in hotel bars around the resort and being super excited to enjoy a Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA while sitting in elegantly themed lounges in the hotel (specifically at the Boardwalk Resort, which has board games and 1940s jazz music playing).
Looking into the bottom of a glass of Sierra Nevada Torpedo, playing Mancala and listening to Jazz… Not much better than that, right?
My lovely wife at Disney’s Boardwalk, home of our favorite hotel bar, The Belle Vue Lounge.
Disney’s Boardwalk is Home to its own brewery, Big River Grille and Brewing Works (whose beers aren’t amazing, but they’ll do in a pinch 😉).
In addition to Sierra Nevada (craft beer’s loving Granddaddy), I’ve enjoyed Beer from New Belgium (Fat Tire Amber and Ranger IPA), Bell’s (Two Hearted IIPA), Terrapin, and more.
Terrapin Rye Pale Ale, a citrus-forward Pale Ale with some spicy notes from the Rye malt, enjoyed at Disney’s Port Orleans River Roost on our Christmas vacation in 2012. There’s an amazing pianist, Yeehaw Bob, who plays jazz on a literal rocking piano.
Port Orleans Resort.
The lobby at Port Orleans Resort, decorated for Christmas.
So, yeah, now you can drink craft beer inside all 4 Disney Parks.
Epcot’s magnificent Spaceship Earth is enhanced, just a little bit, by this New Belgium Fat Tire, the Amber Ale that put all Amber Ales on the map.
As Florida’s beer scene continues to expand, so does Disney’s local beer selection. Cigar City is prominent throughout the parks (I had a Jai Alai IPA inside Gloria Estefan’s excellent Bongo’s Cuban Café), as well as M. I. A. Brewing Company, and Florida Brewing Company.
In addition to local beer, there’s a large selection of beer from around the world.
Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Lounge has beer from Africa and India (Tusker Lager, from Kenya, and Kingfisher Lager, from Bangalore).
Corsendonk Abbey Dubbel, from Belgium. Enjoyed at California Grill in Disney’s Contemporary Resort, while watching Wishes, Disney’s nighttime fireworks spectacular (which has since been replaced by a new show called Happily Ever After).
Disney’s Food and Wine festival also features craft beer prominently, in addition to the incredible, afforementioned food and wine. I haven’t had a chance to go, but plans are in the works for us to go next year, so you know you’ll all be the first to hear about it.
As if you needed another reason to enjoy the Happiest Place on Earth, or if it didn’t sound appealing to you in the first place, maybe some of these fine craft libations will entice you to go sometime, no?
As always, you can check out more of my adventures at www.benedictbeerblog.com!
Until next time!