In a city as passionate as Gainesville, where people bleed orange and blue (go Gators!), it should come as no surprise to find an equally vibrant craft beer culture. We want to give a shout out to three microbreweries that not only brew exceptional beer, but also act as social hubs in their respective neighborhoods.
Whether you're just visiting Gainesville or a local on the lookout for some craft beer and camaraderie, we highly recommend a visit to any of these first-rate brewpubs. Cheers! and hope to see you there!
First Magnitude Brewery Company
1220 SE Veitch St | (352) 727-4677
First Magnitude offers a wide variety of craft beers in a low-key taproom and weekly tours of its facilities. Since opening with just five beers on tap in 2014, they now brew over 100 unique beers a year. The brewpub helped kickstart the revitalization of South Main Street in downtown Gainesville, turning an abandoned warehouse into a community hub.
Their year-round list is ale heavy, from pale to blonde to session brown. The golden, fruity, German-inspired hefeweizen is a good choice on a hot day. The drift session brown earned a gold ribbon at the Great American Beer Festival. Not too shabby!
The tasting room, known as The Source, is all reclaimed wood and exposed beams. You can also enjoy your beer(s) in the oak-shaded beer garden or the cavernous, covered warehouse.
They host a different food truck each week. Mexi Cocina, Filipino Flavors, and Big Rascal are just a few of the mobile kitchens in the mix. Find out who's going to be there this week by heading over to their food truck schedule. You can also bring your own food.
If beer isn't really your thing and you're just along for the ride, they also offers kombucha and soft drinks. Kids are welcome. Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed, with the exception of service animals.
Biking to First Magnitude is totally doable. They're located off the Gainesville-Hawthorne trail with plenty of racks provided out front.
Cypress & Grove Brewing Company
1001 NW 4th St | (352) 376-4993
This 15-barrell microbrewery's secret ingredient is artesian water from the original ice factory well that first occupied their current building in downtown Gainesville. The vibe is laid back and approachable. You don't need a PhD in Botany to order a beer here.
Their signature German-inspired beers stick to four simple ingredients – Floridan aquifer well water, malted barley, hops and yeast. The Porter, Blonde Ale and IPAs are all very well done and uniquely flavored.
For a reduced gluten option, ask for a Crane Song. It's a Japanese style lager inspired by the call of the crane that signals the blessed arrival of winter in North Central Florida.
Cypress & Grove hosts a different food truck every day. Eim Thai, Tommy Knocker's, and Big Lee's BBQ are a few of the usual suspects. Find out who's going to be there on the day you plan to visit here.
Much as First Magnitude is playing a hand in the revitalization of South Main, Cypress & Grove is putting the Grove Street area on the map as an up-and-coming corner of Downtown Gainesville. On Mondays between 4 and 7pm they host the Grove Street Farmer's Market, so you can stock up on locally grown veggies on your way home from happy hour.
There's plenty of room to stretch out here, with seating options at the bar, in the cavernous warehouse, or at picnic tables in the back yard. It's very kid-friendly. Unfortunately only ADA animals are allowed due to liability reasons.
Cypress & Grove is on the Gainesville-Hawthorne trail, so arriving by bike is definitely an option.
Swamp Head Brewery
Last but not least, Swamp Head Brewery in Southwest Gainesville bills itself as "Inherently Floridian". Founded by a University of Florida alum in 2008, Swamp Head is Florida proud and consistently cranks out creative beers.
From the outside you might mistake the state of the art 30-barrell microbrewery for a UF science lab. Inside however, the tasting room -- known as The Wetlands -- is sunny and inviting. It fills up on game nights, but there's plenty of overflow seating outside.
Here's Craft Beer Geek's take on their IPAs: "So often session IPAs turn into a hops & water ordeal, but Swamp Head has done it right here, giving you full flavor and full body without less alcohol so you can enjoy this one all afternoon!"
An oatmeal stout flavored with locally roasted coffee known as Midnight Oil is a favorite among regulars. It's bold enough for a cold winter night yet not so heavy it can't be enjoyed on a summer evening.
Swamp Head hosts a daily rotating line-up of food vendors. Check the schedule here. The brewery is kid-friendly and dogs are allowed. Bonus points for being the first craft brewery to open in the city and a carbon-neutral operation!
More Great Breweries in the Area
Blackadder Brewing Company - Belgian inspired beer, old world atmosphere
618 NW 60th St | 352-339-0324
High Springs Brewing Company - Live music, local BBQ and great brews
18562 NW 237th St, High Springs, FL | 386-232-8756