I took a recent trip back home to visit friends and family and of course I had to visit some of the new breweries that have cropped up in my old stomping grounds. Cypress and Grove is in the heart of Gainesville, Florida in a building replete with history and a truly unique feature. Built in what was once an ice factory, there is still evidence of its previous life in the form of a well in the brewery! Tapping in to the Florida Aquifer, the brew masters use this pristine source of water for all their brews. Read on for my thoughts on this quaint little piece of Florida history.
- Beer – Solid line-up and solid beer. They are relatively new and can be forgiven for not having brews such as sours or Belgian styles on tap yet. They do a very good job at balancing flavors in their beers and the stout was positively delightful. Hopefully we will see more offerings on tap next time we are in town once they have had more time to work on their line-up. Score: 4/5
- Brewery – Unique and spacious are the best ways to describe the brewery. The bar and main seating area appear to occupy only a small percentage of the buildings footprint. That area is open and airy with ample seating of all different styles. There is also a decent outdoor area for the nicer times of the year. We even had a television to watch the college football national championship on so there is a little something for everyone here. While I did not see food offerings during our visit, according to their website they have food trucks that stop in from time to time with live music to boot. Open every day of the week save Tuesday and with reasonable pricing, they check most of the boxes for what you want out of a brewery. Score: 4.5/5
- Ambiance – Quiet is probably the most apt description for Cypress and Grove. While there was some live music outside, inside was sparsely populated, even during an event like the national championship game. While this did not detract from my visit at all, it makes me wonder about the sustainability and ability to attract customers. Score: 4/5
- Location – Cypress and Grove’s location, while close to downtown Gainesville and more heavily trafficked areas, is not one that would have been my first choice. Located in a more industrial area that has not historically had the best reputation, they none the less took a chance on being able to attract customers based on the strength of their beer and good marketing. They do provide ample parking right next to the brewery and plenty more on the street and in surrounding business parking lots, which compensates somewhat for the lack of any other amenities close by. Score: 3.5/5
- Customer Service – Cypress and Grove’s strongest point was in customer service, at least for this visit. The bartender was friendly, knowledgeable, and served our drinks in a timely manner even with the larger party we had. He even came and sat with us to watch the game when not busy and chatted about the history of the building and the plans for the brewery. It’s exactly what I would want out of an employee if this was my business. Score: 5/5
Total Score: 21/25
Final Thoughts: With a better score for location, this could have been one of my highest rated breweries to date. That said, I was pleasantly surprised to find this place and impressed at how far they have come in terms of selection and quality of beer in such a short time. Being only the fourth stand-alone brewery in Gainesville, a city that could easily support twice that many at least, they have the room to grow and stand their ground against the more established places such as Swamphead. Cypress and Grove is a unique brewery that should be on the list to visit for anyone swinging through Gainesville.