Like many commercial brewers, Cammack and Cain Roberds started as homebrewers before making the jump to professional brewing. In 2012, after Mississippi changed its law to increase the permissible ABV level from 6.25% to 10.1%, the Roberds decided it was time to open their brewery. After finding a historic building in downtown Gulfport, Chandeleur Island Brewing Company opened in 2014.
Despite the brewery’s location in Gulfport, its name comes from the Chandeleur Islands (pronounced: “shan-duh-leer”), which are a set of barrier islands along the coast of Louisiana (actually the easternmost point in the state). The Chandeleur Islands are a well-known sport fishing area and part of the Breton National Wildlife Refuge.
Shortly after entering the brewery my wife Katie and I were greeted by the general manager, Corey. We sat down at the bar and started talking about beer and almost immediately began sampling beers. Before getting too comfortable discussing and drinking beer, I captured some shots of the taproom’s layout.
There are two areas where visitors can sit: the bar and an area with high-top tables.
Since Mississippi allowed direct-to-consumer sales starting in July 2017, the brewery added a video game and ping-pong table. Corey suggested that more games may be added in the future. There is a setup for corn hole outside.
Near the front is the brewery’s merchandise display, which included a long-sleeve, dry-fit shirt. It is an item that my wife loves using, and is a clothing item not typically found at breweries. So kudos to Chandy for producing a unique and really useful item.
Also near the entrance were some of the brewery’s barrels that were being used for aging beer.
The greatest benefit of Mississippi modernizing its beer laws to allow direct to consumer sales is that breweries are now incentivized to brew and offer a wider variety of beers in their taprooms. The menu at Chandeleur Island Brewing reflects this change. According to Corey, the brewery offered six new beers on the first day they were allowed to sell directly to consumers.
The brewery offers five year-round beers, most of which I’ve drunk because Chandeleur Island Brewing distributes to Alabama. So I focused on sampling the taproom-only offerings like Blueberry Sour, Saison, Belgian Wit, and Raspberry Lambic (see more of my ratings on Untappd). I had two year-round beers, but for different reasons. Before my visit to the brewery I had not seen Lil’ Miss Sour, which is a tangerine-flavored sour ale. It was tart, but not mouth-puckering, and quite refreshing.
I hesitated at first, but Corey convinced me to try Curlew’s Coconut Porter on nitro. I’ve previously drank Curlew’s Coconut Porter, and despite my general dislike of coconut flavors, I really enjoyed the beer. So my hesitation wasn’t because of my enjoyment of the beer, but because it was warmer when I visited I wasn’t sure that I wanted to drink a porter. However, Corey prevailed upon me to try it because they offered it on nitro. Without a doubt I can say that Corey was right about the beer being different on nitrogen. It was a bit sweet and smoother than compared to the standard Curlew’s Coconut Porter.
Whether you’re a craft beer novice or an avowed beer geek, Chandeleur Island Brewing offers a beer for your palate. The year-round brews, especially the Freemason Golden Ale, are a great introductory beers. The taproom-only beers like the Belgian red offer something more complex that avowed beer geeks will appreciate.
Although Katie and I didn’t order traditional flights, the brewery has mats for those who order them.
As a blogger and someone who loves social media, I especially enjoyed seeing the brewery’s social media accounts listed at the bottom of the mat. It’s a great way to interact with people as they sip their beers.
Chandeleur Island Brewing Company offers a great atmosphere to enjoy craft beer. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly. The brewery is on the western edge of downtown Gulfport, but easy walking distance to the heart of downtown along 25th Avenue. The taproom offers a variety of entertainment options, and the beers are great.