Brewer Corey Artanis laughed when customers told him the shiny brewing tanks above the dining room at the Brass Tap Fort Lauderdale look fake. They're decorative, right?
"I was like, 'Uh, no. The brewing tanks are here because we make craft beer onsite,' " says Artanis, who quickly realized his nearly year-old Flagler Village Brewery had a branding problem.
The problem, Artanis says, was visibility. Not enough diners expected an in-house brewery hiding on the second floor of the Brass Tap, a brewpub franchise with 30 locations. So Artanis and Brass Tap owner Mathiew Baum hatched a summer face-lift for the brewery, adding to the 50-seat taproom black lounge chairs, flat-screen TVs and a beer mural, a whimsical Fort Lauderdale vision filled with hop plants, water towers and foamy brewing tanks as tall as skyscrapers.
Nine months after Artanis tapped the brewery's first keg, Flagler Village Brewery will toast itself with a launch party on Saturday, Aug. 13. The taproom will pour 18 rare and barrel-aged beers concocted for the occasion with co-brewer William Sada.
The blowout, which makes up for skipping a grand-opening party last year, Artanis says, comes after months of preparation. Flagler Village Brewery is pint-size compared to Funky Buddha and Due South breweries, and is technically a nanobrewery, a two-barrel capacity system that only brews about 60 gallons per batch. (Large breweries can produce 100 to 200 barrels.)
"But it's actually an advantage that we're small," says Artanis, who is also the co-founder of 3 Sons Brewing Company, which he plans to open next spring in Dania Beach. "When we brew in smaller quantities, it lets us focus on quality. We get access to expensive, hard-to-get hops that big breweries normally wouldn't get. It lets us do more gourmet-style beers."
"Gourmet" sounds right. The party's beer list, which includes names such as Chocolate Love Barrel Aged Imperial Stout (made with cacao nibs) and Ramsey's Imperial Brown Ale (made with cinnamon, vanilla and chili peppers) showcases the kind of experimentation that has raised Artanis' star in Florida craft-beer circles. His 3 Sons stouts —Lumberjack Morning Break, JBM 35 and Summation — have scored "Best Brewery" and "Best Beer" gold medals in 2015 and 2016 at Hunahpu's Day, a high-profile beer festival at Cigar City Brewing in Tampa.
The brewer, who lives in Davie, says he prefers to work small. A former paramedic for Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital in Hollywood, Artanis quit his job after meeting Nathan Connor, the Brass Tap's general manager, at an Oktoberfest event. In 2015, Artanis began making sour-beer recipes at South Cypress Brewing in Naples, a nanobrewery at the Brass Tap location in Naples. Last September, when the Brass Tap in Fort Lauderdale opened, the 36-year-old installed brewing tanks upstairs.
"Corey just had this reputation as a great homebrewer," Connor says of meeting Artanis. "I remember trying this peanut-butter-and-jelly brown ale, and then this Pumpkin Spice Latte pumpkin-spice-latte. It was like being in Starbucks. The aromas were so well done. So it's huge having Corey's beers in our house."
The launch party, Artanis says, also will feature Apple Brandy Summation, a treatment of his award-winning 3 Sons beer, and Boysen tha Hood, a sour beer with notes of boysenberry.
"This is as big as Flagler Village Brewery is going to get," Artanis says of the brewery's size. "But when people finally realize we exist, that won't matter. They'll just know we make good craft beer."
Flagler Village Brewery will host a launch party noon-10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, at the Brass Tap, 551 N. Federal Highway, in Fort Lauderdale. Beer tickets cost $5 each, or $100 for VIP, which includes unlimited drafts, a food buffet and beer glasses. Call 754-200-8648 or go to BrassTapBeerBar.com and the Facebook event page.
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