ROAD TRIP: Caledonia Brewing, which just opened last spring, is a great addition to the beer scene in my favorite Florida beer town, Dunedin.
Those who know me well often hear my accolades for the craft beer scene in Dunedin. It’s a cool little town with seven small breweries — all walkable in downtown. On my recent trip there, I had the pleasure to check out Caledonia Brewing, and I’m glad I did.
Put together by Dave Dally and his family and friends, they took over the old town newspaper building and turned it into a welcoming oasis for beer lovers.
Dally came directly from homebrewing to commercial brewing at Caledonia without apprenticing anywhere else or completing any formal brewing education program. That may seem risky, but the quality of his beer shows he has mastered his art.
He began serious homebrewing with friends a number of years ago, and he discovered he also enjoyed building some of his own equipment.
“I’m a backyard engineer,” he said. “I like making stuff. One thing led to another and I got more involved in understanding the whole process. It was fun.”
So opening his own brewery was a natural thing to do. His favorite styles to brew include IPAs, milk stout, and Belgian styles.
“I like IPAs; I’m an IPA guy,” he said.
Suffice it to say that Dally produces a wide range of styles. Sampling across his beer board you will likely find more than a couple of brews that tickle your palate.
“I try to make a little bit for everybody,” he said.
Brews for you
A few of the beers to look for include Classic Jeff Pale Ale, Hoptacular IPA, HoppiNess Monster Double IPA, Oatly Doatly Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, Simon Le Blonde Ale, and anything Belgian style. Better yet, start off with a flight or two and get a feel for the overall quality these beers exhibit.
Small but effective
While Caledonia’s brewing system is on the small side, Dally really puts it through the paces keeping around 18 taps pouring house brews at all times. A few additional taps feature guest beers.
Caledonia’s brewing system was made by Stout Tanks and Kettles of Portland, Oregon. It’s a company well-known for building high quality smaller-scale brewing equipment. Caledonia’s fermenters are not jacketed but are each housed inside a temperature-controlled closet. The eight closets each hold a 150 gallon fermenter. Dally engineered this arrangement to give him great control over fermentation temperatures, yet at a cost much less than going with glycol-chilled jacketed fermenters.
“I can actually chill this beer down and lager it at 39 or 40 degrees,” he said.
The set up is also good for crashing beer which helps clear it up before it is pumped into the brite tanks. All beer is kegged and served from the kegs at the bar. No bottling or canning is done at present.
A good meeting place
The tasting room layout is conducive to groups, working meetings, and bunches of friends who just want to kick back and relax with a brew. They will fill one of the large tables in the main room. The spacious bar is perfect for singles and couples who want to be right up in the action. While Caledonia Brewing is not really known as a music venue, they have had a few bands play there. Beyond music, the brewery maintains an active schedule of themed events, which you can find listed on its website and Facebook page.
A snack menu is available, as is a complete line of brewery merchandise.
Caledonia is what the Romans used to call Scotland, says Dally. With the town of Dunedin featuring so much Scottish influence, he wanted to continue with that theme.
587 Main Street