Thursday, April 18, 2024

Brewery Review - Home State Brewing Company

The front door to Home State Brewing Company, a store front with glass windows.
Home State Brewing Company

Home State Brewing Company in Winter Garden, Florida, got me to visit through a theme park connection. What I found on our visit was a comfortable space and well-crafted beer that made for a fun afternoon.

Home State Brewing had a logo and name that did not tell me much about the vibe and story of the brewery. I’m not from Florida and I’m not sure if the owners are from Florida. I definitely don’t know if they are trying to masquerade as a local spot or explain what Florida means to them. A small part of me thinks they are trying to express their out-of-state roots, without emphasizing their transplant to Florida. Maybe they come from Nebraska? All in all, the logo was cosmic to me, without good old home vibes. So after a fair amount of research on my part, apparently, the owners are nerds, who chose a logo that made sense to them but not to me. After sleuthing up an answer, I knew why they chose their logo, but the issue still remains that I, as a common consumer, have no idea what their vibe was going to be.

I was there for Mammoth Club, the theme park YouTube channel. They were having a meet-up at Home State at the end of the week. Unfortunately, a meet-up I was going to miss. Alan and Molly had worked with Home State on a beer collaboration. As a proud drinking member of the MamFam, I needed to at least try and rate their IPA creation.

Expecting more, my expectations diminished when we arrived at a strip mall. A smallish strip mall brewery, likely with the typical cramped feeling setup that tries to fit ten times as much seating into the room as possible. Expecting the worst, I was surprised to open the door and find an unexpected phenomenon to my left. It was there I saw a large and spacious patio complete with games and an outside set of taps currently not in use. Additionally, the inside offered a roomy, clean and welcoming taproom. It was obvious time had been invested to set up a taproom that provided a consistent feel instead of one that haphazardly filled a room with mismatched furniture.

But hey, why are we here? Obviously the beer! I could care less about the atmosphere if the beer is worth the pain. So, is the beer good? Yes, the beer is well-executed. All in all, Home State makes a super drinkable beer.

A flight of four beers sitting on a table.

  • “SheMAMigans”: The Mammoth Club collaboration is to me a light hazy IPA. Light in the sense that there is a lower-level citrus taste, not a juice punch. But it is also not coming at the drinker with an excessive hop bite. I think a lot of MamFam members may not fully be in the “I love IPA” camp. For those drinkers, this is super approachable, something that they can share in without feeling excluded. And maybe, they can enjoy one of their first IPAs.

  • “Big Dark Energy”: I love Imperial Stouts. They are my jam. This version was roasty and toasty. I could cuddle up next to a fire with this beverage. Oddly, it seems like a good-tasting non-Imperial stout and the 9% ABV doesn’t slap one in the face. Honestly, that high ABV is super sneaky so watch out. But I do wish that it had lived for a while in a barrel.

  • “Doctor’s Orders”: This is a well-made on-model Hefeweizen that gives you the banana and cloves vibe. It’s exactly what one wants when ordering this style.

  • “The Audacity - Strawberry Peach” - I was worried this sour would be too puckery, not something that I enjoy. This is not a lactose-type sour that tastes like a fruity cocktail with the mouth feel of a smoothie. But it has a light pucker with a celebration of fruit flavor and a mouth feel that comes across as well, beer. It could serve as an introduction to traditional sours for some drinkers as it’s not overpowering.

  • “The Selective Eccentric” - I am not a Saison fan. But this was still something that I could sit down and enjoy if there were no other options available. It could have easily been the addition of peach and blackberry, as I’m not sure I have had an adjuncted saison before.

  • “Octoberfest, Ja!” - Yep, that’s a Marzan! I loved the bubbles, the perfect Marzan caramel color, and it’s one of my favorite representations of an Octoberfest this fall!

Overall, everything was approachable in a sense of style, and something that I could recommend to friends. But on this day, there were no unicorns that were must-haves that I would chase upon release. There were numerous to-go options if you wanted a great-tasting beer back at your resort.

For food, we just had the always-welcomed big pretzel, which was good. However, we did not go deeper into the menu because we noticed that there was a Pizza Press nearby. This was an unexpected find for someone who has fallen in love with this freshly made pizza joint in the shadow of Disneyland. So stumbling on one located in the Orlando area completely derailed the food plans of my party.

For the non-drinkers, there was an array of non-alcoholic beverages. Along with craft beer, Home State offers craft coffee. Specifically, Filigree Coffee is located within the same building but as a separate business. 

Second Sips: Recently I stepped in for a second visit on a Saturday.  And I loved that the outdoor patio was vibrant full of people visiting and enjoying the sun.  Some where there for a conservation event but others were just there using the large open space to socialize...and enjoy what is really is, a friendly open, neighborhood space.  I only grabbed one taster

  • "Sweet Nothings": To me this tart cherry stout is an experiment, trying to create a chocolate covered cherry.  I got the tartness instantly, but maybe not as much of the cherry as I wanted.  It was easy to drink, but maybe not something I would order more of. 

Who Drinks Here?:  Honestly, if one were visiting Orlando for a theme park, it’s hard to recommend a side trip to this brewery as a must-do. On the days we visited, no beer screamed, “Everyone must drink this!” However, if you need to get away and want some space, Home State would guarantee well-crafted and executed beer in a friendly environment. The beer is well-made, and delicious, and offers a menu where almost anyone can find a style that fits their tastes. It is a safe bet to keep a craft beer fan satisfied within a clearly theme park fan-friendly environment.

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