With just a little over a week left to vote for Best Craft Beer in our Foodster Awards for Independent Restaurants (voting ends at midnight Aug. 23), I've been out doing some practical research. Very demanding, but I insist on it.
To that end, I met a friend at Hourglass Brewing in Longwood recently.But for some reason I hadn't gotten around to visiting it until now.
It's a big place and a big operation in terms of its brewing facilities. A big, boxy space, sort of like a warehouse with a bar set up in a corner, there's plenty of room for tables and stools and still space for brewing tanks, seen behind tall windows behind the back side of the bar.
They keep the beers rotating, as a good brewer should. In fact, the available beers listed on the website are under the heading Live Menu; currently they're featuring anniversary drafts with such variety as Auld Clootie (old ale), 'Round the Riverbend (farmhouse ale), Rusty Barnacle (American wild ale), and Apricaustic (fruit beer), which was concocted for the fourth anniversary. This year's commemorative brew is Giant Giant Braggot that blends two stouts blended in bourbon barrels and apple brandy barrels.
The nice thing is that the bar staff is well versed on all of the brews, so all you have to do is tell them the sort of beer you like and they'll make recommendations. Or better yet, they'll gladly offer you a sample before you commit to a full glass.
Hourglass Brewing doesn't serve its own food but it has a collaboration with Wako Taco, which is right next door. Actually, it's accessible through an open doorway from HGB. You can order your food at Wako's counter and someone from there will find you in the brewery and bring your food to you when it's ready.
I ordered the three taco basket and had one of each of the available meats, carne asada, grilled chicken and pibil pork. I liked the pork the best, but all were served nicely packed into corn tortillas and topped with plenty of lettuce and pico de gallo, plus a little decorative squiggle of sour cream.
Having the option to put something in the belly along with the beer is nice. And necessary.
Hourglass Brewing and Wako Taco are both at 480 S. 427, Longwood. They are open for lunch and dinner daily. Hourglass Brewing's phone is 407-262-0056; Wako's is 407-636-3149.