5 Best Spots for Craft Beer in Sarasota and Bradenton

By Andrew Fabian

Craft beer has come a long way in the US since Boston Beer Company introduced Samuel Adams in ‘89. Today every city has their own breweries that concoct unique beers for an increasingly discerning beer crowd. These Sarasota, Florida area craft beer bars offer visitors singular, local spots where young and old can connect over the bubbly, hoppy libation. 

5 Best Beer Bars in Sarasota, Florida. A guide to the top locally brewed craft beer bars, taprooms, and breweries! Must Do Visitor Guides.

JDubs Brewery and Taproom 

Located within staggering distance of the Baltimore Orioles’ Ed Smith Stadium, JDubs Brewery is one of the most celebrated breweries on the West Coast of Florida, with beers that have become legendary to locals like the Bell Cow Milk Chocolate Porter and the Up Top IPA. The taproom serves up all of their regular brews as well as their seasonal and limited-edition ones like the Blueberry IPA in the spring. They also host some of the best food trucks in the area, meaning you can make an evening out of 100% local food and drink. 

JDub's Brewing Company Sarasota, Florida. Photo by Laurén Ettinger. Must Do Visitor Guides | MustDo.com
Photo credit Laurén Ettinger

Cock and Bull Gastropub 

The proprietors of Cock and Bull started slinging craft beer in the late 90s, long before the craze took off. Originally located on Main Street, they now operate out of a converted barn near the interstate, replete with a giant fire pit in their outdoor patio and live music indoors. With over 40 beers on tap and 100+ bottles, this place is the true test for the self-proclaimed beer aficionado. And, if the “gastro” prefix wasn’t a dead giveaway, the food here can hold its own too. Make sure to order a pretzel with beer cheese.

Motorworks Brewing Company 

Located right in the heart of up-and-coming downtown Bradenton, Motorworks has become a bonafide cultural destination. Its outdoor patio is practically the size of an amusement park, with lawn games, picnic tables, live music and kid-friendly accoutrements to keep the little ones busy. Their V Twin Lager is a great daytime beer, with a light copper color and a creamy head. And, it’s located close enough to Bradenton’s Riverwalk that an afternoon and evening can be made out of exploring a couple blocks of prime real estate.

Ice cold beer from Motorworks Brewing Company Bradenton, Florida.
Photo courtesy Motorworks Brewing Company

Mandeville Beer Garden 

Mandeville has quickly become a destination for parents that want a night downtown but don’t want the added expense of a babysitter. This is by far the most kid-friendly beer bar in the area, with Tonka trucks and a ping pong table to keep them busy while mom and dad carouse over an assortment of local and non-local brews. Their Tuesday “general knowledge” and Monday “music” trivia nights have become a huge hit. Head over between 4 and 7 p.m. to partake in the nightly $1 off drafts Happy Hour. They also offer the same Happy Hour draft deal on Friday and Saturday nights from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m., plus you can satisfy your late-night munchies with something from the kitchen.

Mandeville Beer Garden downtown Sarasota, Florida craft beer bar. Photo by Laurén Ettinger. Must Do Visitor Guides | MustDo.com
Photo credit Laurén Ettinger

Calusa Brewing

Like all great breweries and taprooms, Calusa resides amidst warehouses in an industrial sector. You would have to know where you’re going to find it off of Clark Road, but with Google Maps, the search will be simple and worthwhile. The taproom interior is spotless, with a free pool table for fans of 8-ball. But the beers are, bar none, some of the best in the state. Calusa is one of the few local breweries that makes a saison, a tart and fruity beer that evokes sour gummy worms. On Tuesday and Saturday nights, the brewery hosts Mouthhole BBQ Food Truck, purveyors of the finest smoked brisket this side of the Mississippi.

A cold glass of beer at Calusa Brewing in Sarasota, Florida. Photo credit dineSarasota/Larry Hoffman.
Photo courtesy dineSarasota/Larry Hoffman
5 Best Spots for Craft Beer in Sarasota & Bradenton, FL. A guide to the top craft beer bars, taprooms, and breweries. Photo by Laurén Ettinger. Must Do Visitor Guides | MustDo.com
Photo credit Laurén Ettinger

Written by: Andrew Fabian | Author Website

Andrew Fabian covers arts and food for various publications in Sarasota, where he has lived since 2005. He graduated from the University of Central Florida with a BA in English - Creative Writing. When he's not running around town to various restaurants and arts institutions, he enjoys a nice woodworking project or an evening on the couch with his wife arguing the merits of a television show or movie.