We talked to some local breweries about their plans for 2016 - new brews, expansions and more.
3rd Planet Brewing
Niceville will get its own nano-brewery and taproom in early 2016.
"Cool tap room, great energy, and nice people bringing great craft beer to Niceville and the greater Emerald Coast," Co-owner Tim McCool said when asked what he wants people to say about 3rd Planet.
Growlers as well as a special craft beer tap room menu and wine from 120 A Modern Bistro will be offered. The taproom will have TVs, games and more.
The brewery plans to have 12 beers on tap: six of their own recipes and six craft beers from other Panhandle breweries.
3rd Planet's own offerings will include a brown ale, a Hefeweizen ("Bluewater Hefeweizen"), a pale ale ("Panhandle Pale Ale"), a cream ale and a dry hopped pale ale.
They'll also offer two of their award winning brews. The 3rd Planet Chocolate Stout (now renamed the Boggy Bayou Stout) won first place in the British Ales category at the Brewfest in Fredericksburg, Va., in 2013. The brewery's American Wheat (the name is still in the works) won the spiced herb and vegetable beer category at the Washington DC Cherry Blossom brew competition in 2014.
"If the beer wasn't good, we wouldn't be doing this," McCool said.
The quickest way to learn about the brewery's opening date is to follow them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/3rdplanetbrewing. Look for a full article about the new brewery in the next Beer Tap!
Look for more "Uncommon Ales" from this Destin nano-brewery. An wheat ale is planned for the spring.
"It'll be giving everyone something new to try," said owner and brewer Kelly Taylor.
Three new fermenters were recently added. The brewery has tripled its capacity since it started in June, but it still has some room to grow, Taylor said.
They don't intend on having their beer distributed outside of the area, Taylor said. They'll keep it between Panama City and Fort Walton Beach, Taylor said.
"We kind of just want to grow along the lines of how Destin did," he said.
Idyll Hounds Brewing Company
This brewery based in South Walton hopes to add a few new can styles to their lineup.
Although nothing is solidified yet, they hope to have two new cans by the end of 2016, said Chas Swanson, assistant brewer.
"We've also been playing with different brews," Swanson said. "We want to do a kettle sour."
They hope to have later weekday hours as well as some Saturday hours for their taproom. Keep an eye on their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/IdyllHoundsBrewing, for updates.
"We're pretty happy to have a year of brewing under our belts and we're really excited for the support and response we've gotten," Swanson said.
Grayton Beer Company
Expect to see more brews in Grayton Beer Company's barrel-aged series, said founder Jamey Price. The South Walton-based brewery is about to dedicate 2,000 square feet just to barrel aging.
The first one, Treble Hook, is a Belgian Tripel that's being aged in 2014 Magnolia Chardonnay barrels from Krutz Family Cellars.
Salt of the Gulf will be their next release. It's a Gose style brew being aged in tequila barrels.
Grayton Beer brewed 9,000 barrels this year and it anticipates brewing 22,000 in 2016. This is after brewing 4,000 barrels in 2014. Four new 120-barrel fermenters and a 240-barrel brite tank will be installed.
Distribution will also expand to Georgia and middle Tennessee, plus Chatanooga. Price attributed the brewery's growth to the "explosion" of craft beer in the Southeast.
"People are being educated on small local breweries and they're going out there and they're testing the market more," Price said.
Vacationers educated by their own local craft breweries visit Grayton Beer and bring home brews to their friends and family. They in turn also get hooked.
"Going into their market is a natural progression," Price said.
With all this expansion, Grayton Beer is close to maxing out their current facility. They're looking into options for an additional space, Price said.
Don't expect them to leave the Panhandle, however.
"This is our home," Price said.
Pensacola Bay Brewery
After finishing up its fifth year, Pensacola Bay Brewery wants to simply maintain its growth while also investing in the infrastructure of its existing building, said owner and brewmaster Mark Robertson said.
Besides streamlining processes in the brewery, they hope to cover their patio, making it comfortable throughout the year regardless of weather.
"We don't expect to do anything dramatic in the next year," Robertson said.
Props will be looking into a distribution brewery in 2016, said Brian Oneill, the owner and general manager.
"I'm excited," he said.
Ideally, the building would be in Fort Walton Beach and be about 20,000 square feet. It would also make for a "greener" brewing process than their current setup.
They'd like to offer a "brewery experience" with tours and a taproom to try freshly brewed beers, Oneill said.
On the beer side, the process has started to get labels for their 4 Kings Brown Ale, Flying Coffin IPA, and Prop Oil Porter in order to distribute them in the future.
As far as new beers, they're more likely to do "one offs."
"It becomes special and creates a little buzz," Oneill said.
Ye Old Brothers Brewery
More special beers will be on tap at Ye Olde Brothers Brewery, said brew master Bill Bunning.
The brewery side of this Navarre brewpub has been open since July. They have four basic beers they keep on tap, while the other four taps rotate.
"Our goal is to have the best beer in the Panhandle," Bunning said.
They want to treat February 2016 as big beer month and offer a Double IPA and Imperial Stout. In May, they want to offer a Maibock - a German bock beer - on tap.
Their popular Milk Chocolate Stout may be on tap again for Valentine's Day as well.