first year, Pete kept his job as a fourth-grade teacher. By the
company’s second year, Pete, not sure it would all work out,
took a leave of absence, keeping open the chance to go back.
Things did work out. Pete has since become a kind of godfather
in the evolving Treasure Coast craft beer scene.
“No one thought we could do it, which only made me want
(to succeed) more. When we brewed our 100th batch, we
named it Ignorant Bastards,” said Pete. “People asked why
we named it that and I said, ‘Half this town said those ignorant
bastards won’t last two months in this Bud Light town.’”
After a while Lynn quit her job at school district offices for
Indian River County to work at the brewery and pub full-time.
The Andersons and Pareidolia were last year named Entrepreneur
of the Year by the Indian River County Chamber of
Commerce. Pareidolia’s best-selling beer is 32958, a Hazy IPA
sold at bars and restaurants on the Treasure Coast.
WALKING TREE BREWERY, 3209 Dodger Road, Vero
Beach. 772.217.3502. Opened June 2016. Taps: 28, of which 24
have products made on site. Bar snacks, BYO Food or food
Walking Tree Brewery is in a 24,000-square-foot building
that was first built as an aviation warehouse for the U.S.
Navy during World War II, which explains its location near
the Vero Beach Regional Airport. The bar and tables of various
sizes are in the major room that makes up most of Walking
Tree, and the owners, Mike and Brooke Malone, have created
smaller rooms for private parties. Sometimes someone
rents out the entire place. Baby showers, wedding receptions,
bachelor and bachelorette parties and major business events
have been held there.
Like nearly every craft brewery owner, Mike Malone began
as a home brewer. He was dating his future wife Brooke
when she asked him to make her a stout, which they called
Baby Cakes. It quickly won some home brewing contests.
Baby Cakes oatmeal stout has also won professional beer
competitions and is still on tap at Walking Tree.
He kept getting better at making beer, and he wasn’t happy
at all as a manager at a lumber yard in Fort Pierce. Brooke
says she told him, “We can be married and happy or we can
be married and be slaves to things we don’t like to do.” She
adds, “We decided to do something we love so we kind of
jumped all-in to this, probably a little earlier than we should
have because we were really, really, really broke there” for a
couple of years ahead of the brewery’s opening.
The massive building offers room to grow, which Mike says
is easier than finding another location to expand. There is the
capacity to make 4,000 barrels per year, and they are expected
to brew 2,200 barrels this year.
Kegs of Walking Tree beers are distributed on Florida’s East
Coast from Martin County to north of Flagler County; all of
Central Florida, including the major market of Orlando; and
the Gulf Coast from Collier County to north of the Tampa-St.
Petersburg area. The Malones say they hope to start canning
and bottling by the end of 2019, starting with White Walking
ORCHID ISLAND BREWERY, 2855 Ocean Drive, Vero
Beach. 772.205.2436. Opened August 2014. Taps: 16, including
1 or 2 guest taps, the rest are products made on site. Kitchen
on site Michael’s Table at OIB. >>
Orchid Island Brewery owners Alden Bing and Valerie Bing take pride in the fact that local citrus flavors their brews.