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Beer geek dad tracks down craft beer at Disney World

on 04/05/12 at 5:19 pm


At Walt Disney World, a beer geek can get pretty thirsty. I came to that realization this past week when I was there with my family. We had no car and no easy way to get off of Disney property to check out the burgeoning craft beer scene in Orlando. We were trapped in the Disney bubble.

While it’s a bastion of family entertainment, the house of the mouse is a veritable desert when it comes to craft beer. There are many stands that sell beer throughout the Disney parks, but these are dominated by industrial light lagers. Sure, you can get Newcastle and cans of Guinness Draught in the England section of Epcot, but if you’re craving a hop bomb or a craft brew gushing with malty goodness, you’re out of luck. Well, almost out of luck.

There’s an oasis in the desert that is the Disney beer scene: Nestled in the bosom of Disney’s Boardwalk hotel is the Big River Brewing Company, an honest-to-goodness brew pub, complete with a 10-barrel brewing rig and, depending on the season, five or more very good craft beers on tap. The brew pub has been at the Boardwalk since 1997, when Disney approached Big River’s parent company, Gordon Biersch, about creating a brewery in the park.