Support local journalism. Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club.

Sea Dog Brewing Co. 

Shipyard’s sister brew pub is still looking for its sea legs


8496 Palm Parkway | 321-329-5306 | | $$

Prior to opening their namesake restaurant in Winter Park a couple of years back, Maine’s Shipyard Brewing Company did many a beer enthusiast a favor by bailing out the then-financially troubled Sea Dog Brewing Co. from bankruptcy protection. Fast-forward a decade, and Shipyard has opened its first Sea Dog brewpubs outside Maine – one in Clearwater and this one, situated in the cavernous former Crab House space in the heart of the tourist sector. But unlike the original Sea Dog Brewing Co. in Portland, Maine, diners here are actually afforded a waterfront view. Granted, it’s a tiny pond whose bucolic atmosphere is shattered by the car-and-concrete crush of I-4, but just try bursting the bubble of the cheery salty dogs gathered under the covered deck for happy hour each afternoon. Folks definitely come here for the beer, and, judging from the fare we sampled, stay for the beer
as well.
Seafood is the specialty. For what it’s worth, it’s far and away better than the food served at the Crab House – if you ever ate at the Crab House, you’ll know that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement, but the kitchen here is considerably more proficient. Fact is, the clam chowder ($6.99) is wicked creamy (not watery in the least), New England proper (no tomatoes), and doesn’t skimp on clams and potatoes either. We liked the blueberry sauce on the sweet, smoky chicken wings ($9.99), even with a pint of the famous blueberry wheat ale. When our thoroughly capable and efficient waiter suggested we try the off-the-menu “gamechanger” burger ($13.95) as “it was voted the best in Orlando,” well, we had to comply, even if it meant downing yet more blueberry sauce. The patty blend of beef, bison and venison was ship-shape, and toppings like bacon, Boursin cheese and a dusting of paprika impressed even our burger-shocked systems (see last week’s “Burger time!” feature).
Unfortunately, it was the seafood dishes that took the proverbial wind out of our sails. An overly spiced fish dip ($8.99) and a thoroughly bland Maine lobster roll (market price, $17-$20) offered the sort of contrast that few would find appealing. Ale-battered fish and chips ($14.99) were visually grim (the saddest fillets of cod you ever will see) and arrived dead on the palate. While we applauded the plump barbecue shrimp ($14.99), we lamented the dry bacon-cheddar grits on which the curly critters sat. Of the sides offered, the house-made potato chips and crispy fries were both unremarkable, while the crunchy coleslaw did find a few fans at our table.
Desserts, we were told, are made in Miami using Sea Dog’s own recipes and shipped to the restaurant, but both the server-endorsed crème brûlée cheesecake ($7.50) and the Key lime mousse éclair ($5.99) were, dare I say, dogs. Further, the way-thick crust on the latter tasted stale.
For a good many readers of this publication, the real question is whether or not to make the drive to sample Sea Dog’s chow. My opinion aside, consider this: If reviews are your sole indicator, it could be a case of the tail wagging this dog.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

December 8, 2021

View more issues


© 2021 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation