We made a pit stop at Motorworks Brewing, Bradenton’s first craft brewery, and were fortunate enough to be given a tour by their marketing director, Barry.

Barry explained that Motorworks was co-founded by Frank and Denise Tschida. Built in 1923 as an automobile dealership – complete with a concrete ramp that was used to move cars from the ground floor to the second floor service area – the 27,000 sq. ft. building is home to Motorworks’ full-production Brewery and Taproom. As a one-time Chevy dealership and later, home to a Hudson Motors dealership, the building’s rich automotive history inspired the Motorworks Brewing name.

They boast the largest beer garden in Florida. I was there on a Wednesday evening and wasn’t able to hang out but it looks like an awesome place to spend a weekend afternoon – complete with a pair of bocce ball courts, 12+ cornhole sets, giant Jenga as well as a music stage.

While they’ve adapted the historic building to meet the needs of a thriving brewery, they’ve had a few challenges that took creativity to overcome. The tall fermentation tanks posed a challenge to get into the tight spaces and required holes to be cut into the concrete floor of the second story. Barry explained to us that after several professional industrial movers passed on the project because of the degree of difficulty, he boss exclaimed that he was good at Tetris and they’d get them in place themselves. And they did.

The next set of tanks will be 180 barrels each and besides requiring a big hole in the floor, they are going to need a catwalk near the ceiling. Once the new equipment is in place in 2017, the overall capacity of Motorworks will jump up to 55,000 barrels annually.

The indoor tasting room features 30 taps as well as a full bar. When we visited, 28 of the taps featured Motorworks’ beers while the remaining 2 were guest taps. In addition to the wide variety of beers, they also have wine and a full bar.

While they don’t have a kitchen, they have an arrangement with several neighboring restaurants that makes the process of ordering-in a heck of a lot more convenient. The menus are available and orders, as well as billing, are handled by the bar staff. They frequently have local food trucks onsite with the same arrangement. We had Captain Crunch Chicken Tender w/ fries. #OMG

Motorworks Brewing is located at 1014 9th Street West, Bradenton FL, right down the street from McKechnie Field.

For more information, check out their website.