My next review moves a little farther south to Ocala, Florida and a new brewery on the block named Hiatus Brewing Company. Until recently, this area about 30 miles south of Gainesville, has had a relative scarcity when it comes to breweries. Enter Hiatus, which opened its doors in the fall of last year to inject some life into this sleepy equestrian town. So grab a beer, take a break from your work, and enjoy my review of this technicolor brewpub.
- Beer – While the styles gravitate more to the lighter side (think wheat beers and some lager styles), they do dabble in the dark beers and more esoteric flavor profiles. Even better, they get a little wild with some experimental beers like their beertini which is crafter with a lot of the ingredients you will find in a dirty martini. I thought the flavors in everything I tried were well balanced, with an appreciable nuance to many. I would say all-around above average beer. Score: 3.5/5
- Brewery – If the décor is any indication, their idea of a hiatus involves the beach. The tap room is bright, clean, and open, with a decent amount of table seating scattered around the room and a large bar at the back. A large set of windows at the back of the room open on to the small brew floor and let you see where the magic is made. They have a kitchen that serves up a nice mix of lighter fare, all at reasonable prices, especially for someone coming from the west coast. Their hours, at least pre-pandemic, were from lunchtime until late, and it looks like they are back open now for those feeling adventurous. Score: 3.5/5
- Ambiance and Entertainment – There was a bingo game going on when I arrived, and it seems to be a regular event (pre-pandemic at least) along with trivia nights and tons of live music. Some outdoor games and televisions inside for watching the local sporting events (its Ocala, so lots of horse racing plus SEC football) round out their stable of entertainment at the brewery. Score: 3.5/5
- Location – Located in a stretch of strip malls quite a ways from what I would consider downtown, Hiatus is mostly surrounded by residential suburban neighborhoods. There are a few restaurants close by if their food doesn’t do it for you, along with some light shopping, but not much else. If you are looking for more entertainment, you will have to head closer to town. On the plus side, there is ample parking all around the brewery. Score: 2.5/5
- Customer Service – Quick and efficient table service that had my beers out to me with barely a wait and some really good suggestions of what to try, despite a mostly full house when I stopped by. My server checked in frequently and I noticed that all the staff treated every patron like family. A good experience all around, I really enjoyed my visit to Hiatus. Score: 4/5
Total Score: 17/25
Favorite Beer: One Hit Wonderful – 6.7% IPA
Final Thoughts: A pleasant surprise, Hiatus was an unexpected finding in an area not known as a craft beer hot spot, even with Gainesville just up I-75. They are definitely worth a visit if you are in the area, and since I will be back in town to visit family in the future I look forward to stopping in again and seeing what is new on tap.