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click to enlarge bartlettimage-gb_bottles-1806.jpg

Photo by Rob Bartlett

Five new Orlando area breweries and taprooms that prove learning (about beer) can be fun 

GB's Bottle Shop & Tasting Bar, 531 Virginia Drive, 407-634-0110

In the spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love – but in the fall, our thoughts turn heavily toward beer. It's the best time of year to enjoy Orlando's beer gardens and taprooms, especially those serving their own brews. We visited a few of Orlando's newest for this year's Beer Issue. GB's is the only taproom on our list that's not also a brewery, but it more than makes up for any perceived lack by offering an incredibly comprehensive list of choices: 20 rotating taps, plus a retail area with refrigerated cases and shelves filled to bursting with scores of bottles and cans.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ROB BARTLETT
  • Photo by Rob Bartlett

As a sister bar to the Gnarly Barley, the south Orlando craft-beer haven, GB's has a leg up on giving the people what they want. It's served them well in this clean-lined, airy, totally comfortable space – in the taproom area, there are board games and well-designed GB's merch (T-shirts, growlers, mugs) lining one wall, a TV projecting sports or movies on another, a comfy bench along a third and in the middle, a clutch of long tables perfect for hanging with a group or making new friends over a pint.

Each tap has a name and five numbers scrawled on the white subway tile in which it's embedded: the name of the beer, and the price for 5-ounce, 9-ounce or 1-pint pours, plus 16- or 32-ounce growlers. Staffers are eager to give taste samples before they pour, and the range of sizes means customers can either settle in for a pint or two of a known quantity, or build their own flight with various 5-ouncers.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ROB BARTLETT
  • Photo by Rob Bartlett

Unlike the Gnarly Barley, GB's doesn't have a kitchen, but there's a dedicated food truck space right next to the side entry (usually hosting the Travelers Truck), and customers are perfectly welcome to use any of the plethora of new delivery services to have food brought in. In fact, our beertender assures us, they plan to strike deals for promo codes with some nearby restaurants. (Black Rooster, Pig Floyd's and Yamasan are all nearby, so this should be a boon to peckish drinkers.)

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