Today that's no longer the case, and the area extending from Tequesta south through Hollywood and across Miami-Dade is now rife with independent brewhouses where locals are making some truly incredible beers. While some like to keep it traditional and true to style, others are experimenting with brewing methods and creating all-new categories you'll find only in the Sunshine State (think fruity Florida Weisse).
Still, more beer is headed this way. About a dozen to be exact, from a fully dedicated wild-ale program and some large production facilities to a handful of small-batch nanobreweries.
Here are a dozen of the best new brewers in Broward and Palm Beach Counties to keep an eye on in 2017.
Fran Andrewlevich and Matt Webster, the brewers behind north Palm Beach County's Twisted Trunk Brewing and Tequesta Brewing Company, will expand south to join the West Palm Beach craft beer scene. In mid-2017, the duo plans to launch Steam Horse Brewing, named for the vintage rail cars once located in the up-and-coming Warehouse District, where they'll open as part of the new urban complex just south of the city's downtown area.
According to Andrewlevich, the 6,000-square-foot facility will house a ten-barrel brewhouse and a spacious, air-conditioned taproom fashioned to resemble NYC's Grand Central Station. More than a dozen taps will pour a variety of core, seasonal, and specialty craft brews in a number of styles.
Love barrel-aged beers? Expect a few local rum barrels to make an appearance at Steam Horse thanks to a proposed neighbor. According to Black Coral Rum founder Ben Etheridge, the Warehouse District will also be home to an all-new facility for the Palm Beach County rum maker who hopes to relocate his Riviera Beach-based distillery to the new urban park later this year.
Scheduled to open in early fall 2017 at 1500 Elizabeth Ave., West Palm Beach.
When it opens later this year, West Palm Brewery & Wine Vault will be the first brewery (with a wine bar) to launch within the downtown limits of West Palm Beach. Founded in April 2016 by Dan Galasso and a business partner, the two say they took their time searching for the right spot to open the ten-barrel brewhouse. They decided on a spacious 6,000-square-foot standalone industrial building just a few blocks south of downtown's busy Clematis Street. Currently under construction, a 2,500-square-foot open-plan tasting room and 30-seat bar with 24 taps will serve a rotating lineup of core, seasonal, and specialty-release beers.
Expect to sip some signature core brews such as a citrus IPA, a stout, a pilsner, and a Florida-inspired orange cream ale that incorporates tons of fresh orange peel. What will really set these brewers apart from the others on the local craft scene, however, will be the selection of eight to 12 private-label red and white boutique wines exclusive to the brewery's onsite wine vault. According to Galasso, you won't be able to find these small-batch, limited-production wines anywhere else; they'll be procured from California vineyards in and around Sonoma, Anderson Valley, Napa, and Santa Barbara. The space is under construction.
Scheduled to open in late summer 2017 at 332 Evernua St., West Palm Beach.
Wellington's Jeff Singletary and Boynton Beach's Damian Ramos, both passionate craft-beer lovers and homebrewers, have teamed up to launch Ookapow Brewing Company, a craft microbrewery slated to open later this year in West Palm Beach. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Singletary arrived in South Florida when he was 16 and has been brewing since 2011; Ramos began brewing in his kitchen in New York more than a decade ago. The duo met while participating on the local competitive homebrewing circuit and found common ground, something that also inspired a business partnership. Over the past two years, they've developed a steady following while seeking out the ideal location for a facility that will allow them to share their brews with the masses. Although they originally planned to settle in Boynton Beach's growing craft beer neighborhood, they selected a spot at 1142 Old Okeechobee Rd., an industrial space in the heart of the city's up-and-coming Warehouse District. Here, 1,700 square feet will be transformed into an open-style brewery where a single-barrel brewhouse will share space with the taproom. (As demand grows, the plan is to increase capacity to a seven-barrel system.)
Fellow brewer Ron Karwoski, founder of Boynton Beach Narcosis Brewery, will help the two begin producing a number of their heaviest-hitting beers, including Ookapow's signature O-Squared double IPA, which Singletary says is similar in flavor to the Alchemist's Heady Topper, boasting 160 IBUs; Clan MacDonnell Scotch ale, brewed with English hops; Sage Belgian, quadruple-aged on various dark fruits; and 13 percent ABV Russian imperial stout.
Scheduled to open in late September 2017 at 1142 Old Okeechobee Rd., West Palm Beach.
Later this year, Mathews Brewing Company founder and longtime homebrewer David Mathews and head brewer James Retzler will launch Lake Worth's first brewery. An oversize, ten-barrel brewhouse will be housed in a standalone building in the newly named Artisanal Industrial District, located just a few blocks southwest of downtown Lake Worth. The brewery will produce beer for distribution and for an onsite tasting room and auxiliary beer garden. Mathews says 14 taps will pour more than a dozen in-house beers alongside two rotating guest taps.
In addition to using the main brewing system, Mathews will also employ a two-barrel pilot system to create sour styles and cask-conditioned ales such as "real ale" — beer carbonated by fresh wort — offering craft beer lovers an opportunity to try a locally made, unfiltered, unpasteurized, and cask-conditioned ale served without added nitrogen or carbon dioxide pressure. "Being a small, independent craft brewery allows for more hands-on brewing and greater control of the beer's flavor, aroma, and drinkability," Mathews says. "That's what craft brewing is truly all about." The facility is under construction.
Scheduled to open in September 2017 at 130 S. H St., Lake Worth.
Brothers and South Florida natives Steve and Tim Dornblazer began homebrewing several years ago.
Today they're doing it full-time as Boynton Beach's fourth brewery (and second nanobrewerery, after Devour Brewing). NOBO Brewing Company — named for its location in north Boynton Beach — offers residents a smaller-scale alternative to larger production facilities such as Due South and Copperpoint.
The 1,200-square-foot, air-conditioned taproom will serve a variety of NOBO's flagship and core brews, including its Boynton Blonde ale, made with Florida honey; Basil IPA, brewed with four types of hops and plenty of fresh basil; and Blackstrap imperial stout, a traditional recipe that boasts a heavy dose of blackstrap molasses.
Scheduled to open the last week of March 2017 at 2901 NW Commerce Park Dr., Boynton Beach
Parkland neighbors and friends Ken Gross and Dominic Peri are behind Prosperity Brewers, a nanofacility located in Boca Raton's Roc Urban Community Spaces in the Boca Water Tower Art & Design District. The two craft beer lovers call their one-barrel brewhouse a passion project. Coral Springs native and head brewer Cameron Donisi will make the brand's core beers. The 2,400-square-foot warehouse will have an open floor plan, 900 feet of which has been fashioned into a tasting room and lounge area. Peri and Gross say they want to concentrate on making quality small-batch brews that rotate often. Expect a strong, community-based calendar of events, such as Saturday Bend & Brew yoga and Paint & Pint Night Wednesday.
Core and flagship beers will represent a number of styles, including Rounders Hefe-U Hefeweizen; IntraKolsch Kölsch; Clutch Plate IPA; Wells Coffee stout, made with locally roasted Wells Coffee; Palm Beach Tart sour; Red Reef rye; and Spanish River double brown ale. Regular bottle releases — and the launch of a barrel-aging and sour program — will present more limited brews and special releases such as their Vanilla Oaked English mild; Cinnamon Vanilla English ale; Sour Saison with rose hips; Big Foot Stomp coffee and coconut strong ale; and Jack Talk Thai guava sour.
Scheduled to open in late June or early July 2017 at 4160 NW First Ave., Boca Raton.