A massive steamboat chandelier with brass octopuslike arms suspends from the ceiling inside the old-timey taproom at Broski Ciderworks and Winery. Charlie Chaplin silent films play on a row of flatscreen TVs, while a steampunk-style cogwheel logo on the wall frames an arrow-pierced apple and the cartoon likeness of owners David and Daniel Verdugo.
In the next room, the Broski brothers are busy fermenting apple juice in gleaming steel tanks inside Broward's first hard-cider brewery (1465 SW Sixth Court, Pompano Beach), found in a jumble of nondescript warehouses off Andrews Avenue north of McNab Road.
"There's a lot of breweries opening up, but not too many make big-scale craft cider," says head brewer David Verdugo, a PhD in engineering from the University of Florida. South Florida, not exactly known for its apple orchards, has two cider makers — the other is Accomplice Brewery and Ciderworks in West Palm Beach.
The brothers' Broski project is about to find itself in strong alcoholic company. In Pompano Beach and beyond, a new brewing rush is underway for 2017, as 11 new breweries and hard-cider makers get set to debut taprooms between January and later this spring. That's compared to the 25 breweries with taprooms already open in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade, according to the Florida Brewer's Association, an outfit supporting independent craft breweries.
When Broski's taproom begins pouring its first ciders in mid-January, so will two other craft-beer breweries in the same city: Holy Mackerel Small Batch Beers (3260 NW 23rd Ave. #400); and Odd Breed Wild Ales (50 NE First St., Pompano Beach), opening in Old Town Pompano, the area's rising arts district.
Verdugo, for his part, is hopping on the growing trend of hard ciders, brewing the crisp, gluten-free elixir inside Broski's 7,000-square-foot space. (By federal rules, Broski is a winery, not a brewery, because cider is made from fermented fruit juice.) Lured by the fermentation science behind cider, the 28-year-old studied three years ago at a cider-making academy in upstate New York. With his brother as business partner, he rented the Pompano warehouse in December 2015.
Broski will offer two flavors to start in the taproom: a light, sweet Passion Fruit Cider and a tart Crisp Cider, both of which spend 10 to 14 weeks fermenting, another six aging in cubical tanks, then pasteurizing in finishing tanks. Beyond cider, Verdugo is also experimenting with its pear-juice cousin, perry, and mead, a honey-punched fruit wine.
"You can't even imagine the amount of math, science and engineering that goes into these," says Verdugo, of Miramar. "But I feel better after I drink cider than after I drink beer. It's full of antioxidants."
If Pompano Beach has been kind to ciderworks and breweries – come February, there will be five such businesses – Boynton Beach will offer a similar beer destination amid a row of warehouses just west of I-95. In mid-January, NOBO Brewing Company will join nearby breweries Due South, Devour and Copperpoint with its 1,900-square-foot microbrewery.
"We like to call ourselves a neighborhood brewery, not a microbrewery, because it gives us a community flavor," says co-founder Steve Dornblaser, 35, who brews with his brother, Tim. "All us brewers are a fan of big, big growth in Boynton. One brewery won't hurt the other, because we're all within walking distance, and people can hit three or four in one day."
The buildout for Dornblaser's NOBO (short for North Boynton) is near-finished, he says, and is awaiting bartops for its loungy, 1,000-square-foot tasting room. The room's speakeasy-themed décor will be distinguished by white subway tiles, black leather furniture and vintage Edison lightbulbs. Soon, he says, they'll be brewing up to 775 gallons of beer at once.
NOBO's first taproom beers will include a sweet, malty Honey Blonde Ale; a chocolatey Coffeepot Porter (they roast the coffee beans in-house); and an Old Skool Hefeweizen with German yeast. Their Basil IPA, Dornblaser's personal favorite, adds the fresh herb to soften the beer's hoppy citrus kick.
Sharing the same block as Bailey Contemporary Arts in Old Town Pompano is Matt Manthe's petri dish of a new brewery, Odd Breed Wild Ales, which specializes in sour beers flavored with yeast strains and probiotic bacteria. Manthe teamed up with friend Daniel Naumko, owner of Boca Raton restaurant the Sybarite Pig, to build the 2,500-square-foot Odd Breed.
Manthe will ferment new beers inside the space, which features a taproom but no brewing tanks. Instead, Manthe will brew them offsite, and says he's signed contracts to make new batches at Boca Raton's Barrel of Monks and Pompano Beach's 26 Degree Brewing Company. Bacteria-punched beers, unlike IPAs and other ales, are more difficult to brew, says Manthe, who has experimented with wild ales for seven years.
"The unknown is what drew me to it. They're very challenging to produce," says Manthe, 31, and a brewmaster at Boca Raton brewpub Brewzzi. "I like pale ales and IPAs, but the approach for making wild beers is actually artistic. The secret is in the fermentation, not the hops, not the grains. We have a boutique product, and we want to sell as much from our taproom as possible."
Bobby Gordash will also brew beer offsite when he debuts his Holy Mackerel Small Batch Beers taproom in January, in a warehouse across a manmade lake from Bangin' Banjo Brewing Company in Pompano Beach.
Gordash spent 10 years realizing his 2,800-square-foot nanobrewery, first selling his signature beers – Mack in Black imperial black ale, Special Golden Ale and the buzzy, high-alcohol Belgian-style Panic Attack – at the Mack House brewpub in Davie in 2011. After leaving the Mack House, Gordash met his business partner, Corey Brysman, and the pair opened the Pompano Beach warehouse.
"This is basically our test kitchen, our garage project," says Gordash, 51, who bottles his beers at Thomas Creek Brewery in Greenville, S.C., and distributes them across 100 South Florida bars, restaurants and liquor stores. He hopes to be in 500 locations by the end of 2017. "Pompano is very receptive to breweries, and I can't wait for people to take a sip and say, 'holy mackerel.'"
Here's a closer look at the 11 breweries and wineries opening early 2017 in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.
Holy Mackerel Small Batch Beers
3260 NW 23rd Ave. #400, Pompano Beach; 954-532-0196 or HolyMackerelBeers.com; opening mid-January
Who they are: After 10 years of selling his four beers in South Florida retailers, Bobby Gordash's will debut his first nanobrewery with partner Corey Brysman.
On tap: Mack in Black imperial black ale, Special Golden Ale, a buzzy, high-alcohol Belgian-style Panic Attack and Cafe Cubano, a coffee-flavored version of Panic Attack. All are currently sold in liquor stores, bars and restaurants in South Florida. Although smaller batches will be made onsite, most will be brewed at Thomas Creek Brewery in Greenville, S.C.
NOBO Brewing Company
2901 NW Commerce Park Drive, Boynton Beach; 561-320-1522 or NOBOBrewing.com; opening mid-January
Who they are: Brothers Steve and Tim Dornblaser will open their 1,900-square-foot microbrewery just blocks from Boynton Beach breweries Due South, Devour and Copperpoint.
On tap: A sweet, malty Honey Blonde Ale, a Basil IPA with fresh basil, a Coffeepot Porter with chocolate notes and coffee beans and an Old Skool Hefeweizen with German yeast.
Broski Ciderworks and Winery
1465 SW Sixth Court, Suite 1465, Pompano Beach; BroskiCiderworks.com; opening mid-January
Who they are: Brothers David and Daniel Verdugo will debut Broward's first hard-cider maker, a 7,000-square-foot space that's steampunk-themed. The steampunk theme seemed like a natural choice after Verdugo found an old steamboat chandelier, the gleaming centerpiece of Broski's taproom, gathering dust at a thrift shop in Gainesville.
On tap: A light, sweet Passion Fruit Cider and a tart Crisp Cider
4160 NW First Ave., Boca Raton; 561-325-8495 or ProsperityBrewers.com; tentative February opening
Who they are: Longtime friends and co-owners Dominick Peri and Ken Gross tapped brewer Cameron Donisi (of Pompano Beach's Bangin' Banjo Brewing Company) to make recipes at the 2,400-square-foot brewery. A 900-square-foot tasting lounge will dispense 15 taps on constant rotation.
On tap: A sour saison, IPA, double IPA, hefeweizen, a dry-hopped kolsch and an English mild.
Bousa Brewing Company
7235 NE Fourth Ave., Miami; 786-338-8035 or BousaBrewing.com; tentative February opening
Who they are: The first IPAs from co-owners Juan Pablo Vergara and Enrique Garcia showed up on draft in Miami bars and restaurants in early December, and the duo plans to launch their 12,000-square-foot brewery and taproom in February in the Little River neighborhood.
On tap: A malty, citrus-punched Bousa IPA for now.
Odd Breed Wild Ales
50 NE First St., Pompano Beach; Odd Breed Wild Ales on Facebook or OddBreed.com; tentative March opening
Who they are: Matt Manthe teamed up with Daniel Naumko, owner of Boca Raton's Sybarite Pig, to open the 2,500-square-foot brewery, which will specialize in sour beers flavored with yeast strains and probiotic bacteria. While fermenting will be handled onsite, brewing will take place at other local breweries.
On tap: A citrusy, sour Wild Witbier Belgian-style wild ale, a saison wild ale brewed with pilsner malt and spelt (a type of wheat), and a hybrid beer that's a blend of aged wild ales
Gulf Stream Brewing Company
1105 NE 13th St., Fort Lauderdale; 206-794-2212 or GulfStreamBeer.com; tentative March opening
Who they are: Fort Lauderdale's third brewery (after Khoffner and LauderAle) is the brainchild of McKay Ferrell and Ty Eriks, two West Coast natives who originally planned to open their brewery in craft beer-saturated Washington state until they found a 5,300-square-foot squat warehouse blocks from Warsaw Coffee Company.
On tap: Ferrell and Eriks's 10-barrel brew house will offer a West Coast-style IPA, porter, kolsch and citrus hefeweizen to start.
NightLife Brewing Company
588 NW Seventh St., Miami, at Marlins Park; NightLife Brewing Co. on Facebook; tentative April-July opening
Who they are: Miami natives Juan O'Naghten and John Cooper are pairing fresh craft beer and baseball with their 9,728-square-foot space, which uses a chunk of Home Plate Garage at Miami Marlins Stadium. The project, begun in June 2015, spent 12 months gaining approvals from the city and the Marlins team.
On tap: A brown ale, saison and a hefeweizen to start.
Ookapow Brewing Company
1142 Old Okeechobee Road., Bay 6A, West Palm Beach; Ookapow.com; mid- to late-spring opening
Who they are: Big-flavor beers are key for co-owners Jeff Singletary, of Wellington, and Damian Ramos, of Boynton Beach, who translated their love of homebrewing to a 1,700-square-foot warehouse near I-95 and Okeechobee Boulevard. A short wall will divide their single-barrel system from the tasting room.
On tap: A 13-percent alcohol-by-volume Russian imperial stout, a hoppy O-Squared double IPA, a fruity Sage Belgian quadrupel and a Clan MacDonell Scotch ale made with English hops
West Palm Beach Brewery & Wine Vault
332 Evernia St., West Palm Beach; WestPalmBeer.com; tentative late-spring opening
Who they are: One part downtown taproom and one part swanky wine cellar just west of the Intracoastal, the 6,000-square-foot warehouse from Dan Galasso and partner John Pankauski will sling 24 beer taps. Meanwhile, the brewery's wine vault will offer a dozen California private-label red and white wines.
On tap: A Florida orange cream ale brewed from fresh peels, along with a citrus IPA, stout and pilsner
Tripping Animals Brewery
2685 NW 105th Ave., Doral; TrippingAnimals.com; tentative late-spring opening
Who they are: Doral's rising brewery scene (MIA Beer Co., Tank Brewing) adds this 15,000-square-foot warehouse from Daniel Chocron, a Venezuelan-born brewer whose beers will pay homage to South Florida's fauna. Inflation for brewing ingredients in Caracas forced Chocron to shutter his nanobrewery Casa Coronarias, and he moved to Miami a year ago.
On tap: Two IPAs, a hoppy passion fruit and a mango-guava, along with a milk-chocolate stout and hefeweizen.
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