SWFL Taproom Named Best Beer Bar in Florida

Mar 4, 2019

Ave Maria is known for its towering cathedral-like oratory in the town center, for its manicured lawns, for its law school and for being owned by the creator of Domino’s Pizza.

What it can now be known for, though, is its craft beer selection.

“I’m really into a lot of our local breweries here. They’re awesome," Matthew Williams said. "We frequent them a lot on our tap list. We’ll have Point Ybel, Palm City, Bone Hook, Momentum.”

Oil Well Craft Beer was recently named the best beer bar in Florida by CraftBeer.com.

From the outside, the bar is as unassuming as any other shop in town, but upon entering, you’ll often be greeted by a packed house of laughing locals and visitors from nearby Naples and Immokalee. The menu board is filled with eclectic offerings, and whatever food truck is out front during your visit offers just as unique of fare.

The 20 taps at Oil Well Craft Beer
Credit Rachel Iacovone / WGCU

The place is everything its owners, Matthew and Danee Williams, dreamed of and more. Though, their success means they’re running out of room.

“Sometimes, people will be like, ‘Oh, I wanted to come in, but it was just so busy, so…’" Danee Williams said. "I hate when I hear that because I want everyone to be able to come in and have a great time if we have something, you know, fun going on. And, so, it’ll be great when we can have the extra space that we need.”

Co-owners Danee and Matthew Williams talk to customers at the bar.
Credit Rachel Iacovone / WGCU

CraftBeer.com’s annual survey – voted on by its several thousand readers – named Oil Well Craft Beer the best beer bar, but the taproom plans to become a brewery in the near future. The Williams have purchased the cigar and vape shop next door and are in the process of knocking out the wall between the spaces to make room for their own brewing equipment.

“We’re doing a smaller brewing system. I mean, it’s big enough to really crank out some beer, but you won’t come in here and see all 20 of our taps with Oil Well this or that," Matthew Williams said. "You know, at least half, at least 10 taps, if not 12 or so, will be guest taps. So, you’ll still see a wide selection of crazy beers.”

It’s decisions like this that have made Oil Well a standout amongst some pretty stiff competition. Right now, they have a crowler machine – not a growler, those big glass jugs; a crowler, as in, those large cans of beer, typically only found at places that brew themselves.

You can get a crowler of anything on the menu, like the coconut loconut cider from Pierced Ciderworks in Fort Pierce, or Red Cypress Brewery’s Death Roll Stout on nitro, out of Winter Springs. The menu changes by day, though, so one visit may not be enough.

The board listing the beers on tap on March 2, 2019.
Credit Rachel Iacovone / WGCU