Search for the Local 390 podcast on Facebook or whatever podcasting app you prefer, and listen to the recent episode from Orlando’s Dead Lizard Brewing.
Dead Lizard is located in the warehouse district on L.B. McLeod Rd., maybe 10-15 minutes from Universal Orlando. It’s pretty unassuming, but is readily distinguishable from its surroundings by the small seating area underneath a canopy of trees draped in rope lights.
Inside the modest tap room is an ever-rotating selection of local artwork, and they tend to focus on artists and themes on a regular basis. I can only assume to old range oven by the restrooms is an art instillation as well.
Social Media guru Keith Lyons was gracious enough to invite me over on a recent visit to Orlando, and I spoke to their assistant brewer/laboratory manager/bartender Aaron while Keith and Richard were recording the podcast. Aaron’s got quite the background after graduating from U.C. Davis, and frankly threw so much calculus at me that I had a heck of a time keeping up.
Once Local 390 did a quick break, Keith took me in the back to take a look around. There’s a custom-built hard-piped 10 bbl system in the back that head brewer and owner Richard Dine designed specifically for him. To that, Richard gets a lot of his hops from his father’s Ohio-based hop farm.
And Richard was there, to talk a bit more about the Dead Lizard story. The name came during a massive search for a new name. After doing a little housework, Richard found two dead skinks (once again, common in Central Florida) that were entwined in a yin-yang pattern.
The name just came to them, and Richard’s lawyer/artist wife drew their logo, which cleverly hides the name of the brewery In the bones of their, well, dead lizard. She had to pull an extensive amount of double duty as well, providing a lot of legal help with overcoming the extraordinary legal hurdles that came at them from the city. It’s remarkable to hear him tell the story of exactly what they had to do to finally open.
It was nuts.
Past that, It was time to see what came through that system in the back. Here’s what I was lucky enough to consume:
Li’l Tiny Baby Skink Session IPA (5% ABV, 64 IBU) – It’s a nice, classic pale, to be honest. Think a moderately floral bouquet, and a touch of bitterness. Clean and easy to drink. Skinks, by the way, are those lizards you see running all over the place in Central Florida. They’re just a way of life here.
Trippy Pippy’s Red Dread Ale (Amber Ale, 7.9% ABV) – There’s a modest amount of caramel malt in the beer, but just a touch more earthy hop quality. Nice and very approachable.
Orange Chameleon Cream-sic-ale (Cream Ale, 6.2% ABV, 36 IBU) – Dead Lizard uses this cream ale as quite the workhorse. They have quite the interesting lineup of different treatments from this beer, including Key Lime and a Pear, Lime, and Habanero randalling.
With the orange, it has a delicious kick to it, with the tartness of the orange shining quite nicely against the malty smooth backbone of the cream ale. That smoothness is helped with oats and lactose, which is interesting for a Cream Ale (they don’t usually have any sort of lactose in them at all).
Uncle Pudgy’s Two Fisted Porter (Porter, 6.6% ABV, 34 IBU) – I don’t know who Uncle Pudgy is. Not sure I want to. But his beer sure is good. Crisp and roasty, light enough to drink, but heavy enough to be noticeable on the palate.
Komodo “Koko” Dragon Stout (Milk Stout, 8.5% ABV, 45 IBU) – Now here’s the best of what I had. I am a sucker for a properly brewed milk stout, and this was a properly brewed milk stout. Great, rich malts and enough lactose to sweeten the beer and provide a luscious velvety mouthfeel.
It was nice to finally get to visit this brewery. I had wanted to for a little while, and it looks like they have nowhere to go but up and expanding out.
And I’m sure that wherever they go, there will be a few little lizards hanging around.
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