Sour beers brewed with live bacteria. Old World-style cask ales. Rum barrel-aged flavors. A beer named Peanut Butter and Jealous.
In 2018, the state of South Florida’s craft-beer union is strong, with a bounty of experimental brews soon to be released by eight new breweries in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.
Hosting grand-opening celebrations in January will be Mathews Brewing Company in Lake Worth and Odd Breed Wild Ales in Pompano Beach. Bousa Brewing Company, in Miami’s Little River neighborhood, opened in December, and five more breweries will follow between now and the end of spring: Prosperity Brewers in Boca Raton (opening late January), Tarpon River Brewing in Fort Lauderdale (February), Gulf Stream Brewing Company in Fort Lauderdale (February), Steam Horse Brewing Company in West Palm Beach (March) and Tripping Animals Brewing in Doral (spring).
Below, get to know South Florida’s newest class of beermakers.
Odd Breed Wild Ales
50 NE First St., Pompano Beach; 754-220-6099 or OddBreed.com; now open
Who they are: Matt Manthe and Daniel Naumko’s 2,500-square-foot brewery, which opened in December, is a petri dish in Pompano Beach’s Old Town district, specializing in sour beers flavored with yeast strains and probiotic bacteria. Naumko, who also owns the Sybarite Pig restaurant in Boca Raton, partnered with Manthe, a former brewmaster at Boca brewpub Brewzzi, to focus on “wild ales.” These wild ales are so named for the cocktail of lactic and other organic acids naturally produced during each brew’s fermentation. “The secret is in the fermentation, not the hops, not the grains,” Manthe says. Yeast strains, rare bacteria and fruit are also added to each batch, he says, which is aged in French oak barrels.
On tap: Unlike other South Florida breweries, Odd Breed brews offsite (its venue features a taproom but no brewing tanks) at Boca Raton's Barrel of Monks and Pompano Beach's 26 Degree Brewing Company. So far, there are four house ales: Broken Tall, a tart, Belgian farmhouse-style wild witbier; Beeker, a red saison barrel-aged 11 months with notes of caramelized fruit; Tres y Dos, a wild amber ale blended with toasted malt and tropical fruit; and Torito, an imperial porter aged 16 months in Cabernet wine barrels and flavored with figs, dates and raisins.
Hours: 4-10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 1-6 p.m. Sunday; tours available by request
Bousa Brewing Company
7235 NE Fourth Ave., Miami; 786-338-8035 or BousaBrewing.com; now open
Who they are: Founders Enrique Garcia and Juan Pablo Vergara brought on brewmaster Jack Sparks (formerly of Allen, Texas’ Nine Band Brewing Co.) to concoct recipes inside their 20-barrel warehouse in Miami’s Little River neighborhood. For the Venezuela-raised Garcia, whose homeland faces political turmoil and import restrictions, craft beer can bind a community and rebuild his country, he says.
On tap: Bousa’s 1,500-square-foot, tree-filled tasting room boasts all-white tap handles and a pair of core beers: the British-style Bousa IPA and the Bousa Blonde American wheat ale.
Hours: 4-10 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 4 p.m.-midnight Thursday-Saturday; tours available by request
Mathews Brewing Company
130 S. H St., Lake Worth; 561-812-3738 or MathewsBrewingCompany.com; grand opening Saturday, Jan. 13
Who they are: Homebrewer Dave Mathews’ eponymousbrew house is Lake Worth’s first brewery, which boasts a steam-powered, 310-gallon brewing system he designed with head brewer James Retzler. Their 117-seat taproom will border a dog-friendly beer garden (inspired by Mathews’ late Jack Russel terrier, Dakota) as large as the brewery itself, which hosts bands and food trucks nightly. The brewery is home to South Florida’s only cask-ale program. Mathews’ cask ales, unlike conventionally brewed beer, aren’t blasted with pressurized carbon dioxide for pasteurization, which means his recipes spoil faster . “We’re brewing the beer just like they used to do in England,” Mathews says of the ales, aged in smaller kegs called firkins. “It really unlocks the true flavors of the malts and the hops. The yeast is still alive in the beer.”
On tap: There will be food trucks, live music and 16 taps when the brewery hosts its grand opening from noon to 11 p.m. Jan. 13, including: White Goblin Belgian wit, L-Dub tropical pale ale and Heavy Metal American double IPA, which will join special releases such as Peanut Butter and Jealous brown ale and Chocolate Vanilla Orange Porter and Florida Hop Juice, a New England-style IPA. Drinkers can pick up a free souvenir glass at the grand opening, which will also offer two-for-one pours.
Hours: 4-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 4-11 p.m. Friday, noon-11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and free valet Thursday-Saturday; free tours available by request
4160 NW First Ave., Boca Raton; 561-325-8495 or ProsperityBrewers.com; opening late January
Who they are: Parkland residents Dominick Peri and Ken Gross are behind the 2,200-square-foot nanobrewery (and 900-square-foot taproom), and have tapped head brewer Cameron Donisi (of Pompano Beach’s Bangin’ Banjo Brewing Company) to craft the recipes. Inspired to open the one-barrel brewery after a chance meeting with Dogfish Head baron Sam Calagione, Peri says the brewery’s name will match the vibe of the taproom, which is decked out with rotating artworks, murals and high-top communal tables built from reclaimed wood. “We’re all about hospitality, enjoying life and being prosperous,” Peri says.
On tap: Constantly rotating small-batch beers are the game plan for Peri and Gross, an idea that shares its philosophy with South Florida breweries LauderAle (in Fort Lauderdale) and Devour (in Boynton Beach). The starting lineup has 12 beers, including: Clutch Plate IPA, a Belgian-style witbier with lemon peel and strawberry; Well’s Coffee Stout, a collaboration with Boca Raton roaster Well’s Coffee Company; Circus Bear, a Russian-style kvass with rye bread, raspberry, plum and black tea; and Red Light Rosie, a Belgian-style dubbel with raspberry.
Hours: 5:30-11 p.m. Monday-Friday and 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; tours available by request
Tarpon River Brewing
280 SW Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale; 954-839-5725 or Facebook page; opening February
Who they are: Once dubbed New River Brewing, head brewer Adam Fine renamed his 12,000-square-foot downtown brew house for the Fort Lauderdale neighborhood in which it sits. Fine, a longtime South Florida brewer whose Native Brewing brand is widely known in local beer circles, hatched the concept with Tim Petrillo and the Restaurant People and Riverside Market Cafe founders Lisa and Julian Siegel. Before the tanks arrived, Fine tested new recipes on a pilot system at the Siegels’ homebrew supply store, Craft Beer Cartel.
On tap: A 954 Pale Ale and Honey Love Cream Ale, sours, a watermelon wit, a Midnight Express coffee stout, and East and West Coast-style India Pale Ales will be on the starting beer lineup.
Hours: Not yet announced, and Tarpon River’s team is still finalizing plans for brewery tours.
Gulf Stream Brewing Company
1105 NE 13th St., Fort Lauderdale; 206-794-2212 or GulfstreamBeer.com; opening February
Who they are: McKay Ferrell, by day a dentist, and Ty Eriks, a software company vice president, are Pacific Northwest natives who originally planned to open their brewery in craft beer-saturated Washington state until they found a 5,300-square-foot warehouse down the street from Fort Lauderdale’s Warsaw Coffee Company.
On tap: Ferrell and Eriks's 10-barrel brew house will specialize in low alcohol-by-volume, easy-drinking suds, including a West Coast-style IPA, porter, a German hybrid ale, a kolsch and a citrus hefeweizen to start.
Hours: Not yet announced
Steam Horse Brewing Company
1500 Elizabeth Ave., West Palm Beach; Facebook page; opening March
Who they are: Fran Andrewlevich and Matt Webster, who already head up Tequesta Brewing Company and Twisted Trunk Brewing in Palm Beach Gardens, are behind the 6,300-square-foot Steam Horse. Named after the vintage railcars that once rumbled around what is now West Palm Beach’s Warehouse District, Steam Horse’s taproom will seat 225 and use a recycled train rail as a bar footrest.
On tap: The beer menu is still being finalized, but the opening lineup will include a sour Berliner Weisse, a Belgian-style pilsner collaboration with Ommegang Brewery and a New England-style IPA.
Hours: Not yet announced
Tripping Animals Brewing
Who they are: Doral gains yet another brewery (after MIA Beer Co., Biscayne Bay Brewing, the Tank Brewing) thanks to 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 two years ago. When it opens, the 15,000-square-foot brewery will serve tapas and wine.
On tap: Animal-themed brews dominate the menu, including a Wild Duck dubbel, Bandido pale ale, a Tripping Turtle blonde ale and a Falling Pig IPA.
Hours: Not yet announced
For a weekly pint of news about bar openings and other drinking events, sign up for the Shot Caller newsletter, delivered to your inbox free every Thursday.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 954-356-4364