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Spirits Trail: Sip, Taste, Explore!

Over the years, I have come to realize that spending a leisurely weekend exploring local beer and wine venues requires starting the day with a solid breakfast.

Right then, first stop, Masaryktown Winery. Don’t let the name fool you, this lovely family-friendly spot offers the whole deal. The farm to table meals served on weekends are a great opening for exploring what the rest of the farm has to offer. After brunch, stroll through the produce market or pick a bucket of blueberries or blackberries with the kids. Now having eaten and worked, it’s time for wine tasting – it is the weekend, after all. A selection of homemade desserts for the children gives parents time to enjoy a glass of wine crafted from fruit grown here and on other Florida farms. Wines range from sweeter berry wines to blueberry wine aged on oak. Passionfruit, peaches, and tangerines contribute to a variety of muscadines. And, for the traditionalists, a merlot aged on the skins in toasted French oak plus a selection of European and South American wines that will appeal to most palettes and occasions. Stretch the day long enough to enjoy the Friday night live music.

Voted the Best Small Brewery in Florida in 2020, Tidal Brewing Company takes us off the farm and into the wilds. Dedicated to quality craft beer, the extensive tap list is updated regularly and includes IPAs, lagers, pilsners, sours, stouts, ciders, and most everything in between. From your Daily Dose of Vitamin Sea to Turbid Waters and Grown and Sexy, the beers delight and surprise. Blending Old World brewing styles with the bounty of Florida they create “Just good beer with good people.” As a means of giving back to the community, the owners of Tidal Brewing, a husband-and-wife team who were once science teachers, recently initiated Tide for a Cause in collaboration with Hernando County and Roots Creative Company to create a limited-edition brew for each of five county preserves in the Environmentally Sensitive Lands program. A release event will honor the preserve and encourage participation in local wildlife habitat restoration, water quality protection, and appreciation of the natural bounty of Florida’s Adventure Coast. A toast for the Coast! Weekly events and food trucks round out this family- and dog-friendly venue.

Remember when you were a kid? There was always one favorite neighborhood house. Marker 48 Brewing is that house. And there’s beer that you don’t have to sneak out of the fridge. The rotating selection is extensive; broken into five categories, there is something for everyone: Hops and more hops; Crisp and yellow; Small batch; Rich and malt; Fruits, spices, and sours. Hairy Pelican, Half Fin, and Oat and About will set you right. Don’t forget the Tasty AF. You’re welcome to bring your own snacks or order out for delivery and there are rotating guest food trucks (you know, the one neighborhood mom that cooked for you – but better because you get to choose what you want). The beer garden offers a shady place to hang out with your friends and pets. Trivia night, karaoke, and live music occur weekly. Even Willy Nelson, the cat employee of the year, rings of familiar, comfortable, and chill.

Sparacia Witherell Family Winery and Vineyards admirably captures the memory of Sunday dinners with the family. Like communities of old, the family-run venture brings together their talents to produce exceptional wine from Florida fruit and grapes. Using biodynamic and environmentally sustainable farming methods, native Muscadine and hybrid varietals are grown on the property. Complimentary tastings take you through the fruity, rich, and luscious flavors of Duet, Fratelli, and Sicilian Punch. For the final course, blueberry and black currant wines complete the selection. Set high on Snow Hill, the winery has a magnificent view and a patio from which to enjoy it. With live music and a bottle of your favorite fruit or varietal wine, it is a delightful place to inspire the friends and family dinner conversations of old.

“Creating community one beer at a time,” Broad Street Brewing Company is making appearances at regional events, including the New Port Ritchey Rotaract’s Craft Beer and Wine Festival on June 4th. The owners, native Floridians, have a background in craft brewing and will contribute traditional style beers and some new twists to old standards. The soon to open taproom will display local art talent in their gallery space, and plans are afoot for game and trivia nights, art classes, and other community-building fun.



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