West Palm Beach’s first craft brewery, Ookapow Brewing Company, will open this weekend in the city’s rising Warehouse District, a dining and lifestyle village a few blocks southwest of downtown.
The 1,600-square-foot nanobrewery will open Saturday, Sept. 2, and is the brainchild of partners Jeff Singletary, Damian Ramos and Ron Karwoski, all self-taught homebrewers who say Ookapow fulfills their longtime “fantasy” of opening a brewery.
“It’s always been a dream,” says Singletary, a stay-at-home Wellington dad . “You get to come to work and have fun every day.”
A 36-foot-long countertop will divide Ookapow’s one-barrel brewhouse from its 600-square-foot taproom, outfitted with two flat-screen TVs and rows of picnic tables. It’s an open-floor-plan concept that Singletary says will bring drinkers closer to the brewing process and to Ookapow’s big-flavored beers, which have helped the trio win awards at brewing competitions such as Delray Beach Craft Beer Fest and Brew at the Zoo at Palm Beach Zoo. The strength of Ookapow’s local fan base promptedSingletary to quit his fitness-trainer job of 25 years and focus full-time on beer.
The brewery will feature six beers to start: a Jackfruit IPA, punched with jackfruit from a Wellington nursery; the Sage, a Belgian-style quadruple ale with dark fruit notes; a Mango Cream Ale; a Super Saison brewed with fresh ginger and sweet orange peel; a MacDonell Wheat Heavy, a Scotch ale inspired by his family name; and a bourbon barrel-aged MacDonell.
“We don’t make beer for the masses, but big beers we like to drink,” says Singletary, who hopes to add six more brewing tanks within Ookopow’s first year. “It’s one thing to be a homebrewer, and it’s another to really understand the science behind making consistent, good beer.”
Singletary admits that Ookapow’s bizarre name sounds like fight-scene onomatopoeia from the 1960s “Batman” TV series. He blames that on Ramos, who heard the nonsensical word uttered by two characters in the 1995 cyberpunk film “Hackers.”
Despite Ookapow’s proximity to the Warehouse District, the brewery’s location was Singletary’s second choice, after failing to secure a space in Boynton Beach’s growing craft-beer neighborhood. He says he discovered the Warehouse District by accident and only learned recently of the neighborhood’s ambitious plans, which include the soon-to-open Steam Horse Brewing Company and Grandview Public Market, a 12,000-square-foot food hall with coffee roasters, produce vendors and butcher shops. Both are scheduled to open this fall.
“It’s the right place, right time, and I think the sky’s the limit if the District keeps moving the way it has been,” says Singletary, 48. “We’re going to get a ton of foot traffic in this area.”
Ookapow Brewing Company will open to the public at noon Saturday, Sept. 2, at 1142 Old Okeechobee Road, in West Palm Beach. Hours of operation are 5-10 p.m. Wednesday, 3-10 p.m. Thursday, 3 p.m.-midnight Friday, noon-midnight Saturday and noon-10 p.m. Sunday. Go to Ookapow.com..