By Brandi Perry
Cammack and Cain Roberds had always loved good beer and being out on the water on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Their love for beer started in the 1990s, and that desire to find the best craft beer led them down the road of homebrewing. The idea for Chandeleur Island Brewing was born. But after their contractor business built two breweries in Alabama, it was not long before they realized it was definitely the right time to bring their longtime dream to life. Fast forward to December 2013, and the men had decided to partner up on this dream and bought a historic building in downtown Gulfport. By autumn of 2014, construction was underway, and their dream was slowly becoming a reality. Being contractors, they got the construction work done in about three months and were brewing their first beer by years end of 2014.
Chandeleur Brewing quickly became a fan favorite not only on the Gulf coast but throughout the state, and for good reason. They are easily making some of the best beer in the southeast, a testament to years of trial and error and the inherent flavors of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. But the Roberds were focused on more than just making good beer. They wanted to give back to the water, marine life, and islands they grew up enjoying.
The namesake of the brewing company is a chain of uninhabited barrier islands that stretch approximately 50 miles in the Gulf of Mexico. Created nearly 2000 years ago and named by explorer Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville when he christened them in 1700, the islands have always been a popular spot for boating and fishing. Fishermen from all over the country come to the islands to hook one of their world-famous redfish or speckled trout.
Chandeleur Brewing partnered with Mississippi State University’s Marine Fisheries Ecology Program to create a beer that can give back with every purchase. The result was Shark Tracker Wheat Ale that is perfect to fight that summertime heat. Every purchase helps support the Great Hammerhead Shark Tracking efforts in the Gulf of Mexico. It is safe to say there is not a more recognizable shark in the gulf than the hammerhead. These amazing sea creatures make round-trip migrations each year that total 2,000 miles. Sadly, these sharks are considered critically endangered, and their population in the United States is currently unknown.
That is where Chandeleur Brewing comes in: a portion of the proceeds from the Shark Tracker beer supports hammerhead satellite tagging projects which will provide critical data for future conservation and management. To say the brewery and the brother are dedicated to conservation would be an understatement because the hammerhead tracking is not the only collaboration they invest in. The brewery also partners with the Mississippi Aquarium and has released a Conservation Beer Series. There are only seven species of sea turtles in the world, and most of them are threatened with extinction. One such turtle is Kemp’s Ridley. The Kemp’s Conservator Munich Dunkel is a beer that is fighting for these beautiful turtles. Proceeds from their sales will go directly towards the Mississippi Aquarium’s research and conservation efforts for the Kemp’s Ridley.
The second brew in the conservation series was Croctober Fest Marzen Lager. There are 24 species of crocodiles in the world, and many of them are critically endangered. In the southeast, the American alligator was a success story as far as conservation goes. The American crocodile can be found around south Florida and continues to be an endangered and vulnerable species.
There is no doubt that Chandeleur Island Brewing is producing the best beer on the coast. Regardless of what your beer preferences are, you can find it in their taproom. Located less than a quarter-mile from the same waters that inspired the tastes, smells and relaxed feels that the brewery exhibits, their taproom menu truly has something for everyone. Lucky You (Nitro) is a stout and Irish dry. It’s the coffee that will get your motor going. Complete with roasted cacao and a nutty flavor, even non-coffee drinkers love this. A unique addition to Chandeleur’s tap list is hard seltzers. Staycation, Rosieon, Prick Off and Respect top off their unique hard sparkling water. H90 Surfside Pineapple Wheat, Sir Columbus II and Shark Tracker are on tap as their American pale wheat, followed by Elegant Plum as their Scotch Ale. If you enjoy golden ales or IPAs, they have them ready to serve too. One type of beer that is a little more unique than the others is fruited sours. The Lil’ Miss Sour is a tangerine sour ale, while the Don’t Whine-A-Melon is even more unique with watermelon and sea salt as their ingredients. A variety of beers can be found at any time in their cooler that may not be on tap.
Even though tours of the brewery are temporarily on hold, there are still many ways that visitors can experience the brewery. Their taproom is always pet and family-friendly, and they are open seven days a week. Each day of the week there is a special group that receives a discount as a thank you for all they do. On Mondays, it is Military and First Responders Night, and they received 15% off. Trivia Night is from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Tuesday is for those amazing teachers, and they also get 15% off. Wednesdays are dedicated to the Service Industry workers and Thursdays to Healthcare Heroes and game night. On Friday, new beers release, and visitors will find live music on Saturdays from 3 to 6 pm and 7 to 10 pm, and on Sundays from 3 to 6 pm.
A trip to Gulfport and Chandeleur Island Brewing is a must. Regardless of what beer you prefer, you will find that each has the flavors of the Mississippi Gulf Coast and the hard work. Opened seven days a week, you can visit on weekdays from 1 to 9 pm, Friday from 12 to 10 pm, Saturday from 11 am to 10 pm, and Sunday from 11 am to 7 pm. They are located at 2711 14th Street in Historic Downtown Gulfport. If you have questions before you visit, give them a call at 228-701-9985.