A few years ago, if you were heading out to the bar for an ice-cold beer, you'd be hard-pressed to find a locally brewed one on tap anywhere in the tri-county area. In 2010, there wasn't a single production brewery in Broward or Palm Beach County and only a handful of brewpubs crafting their own suds.
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.
1. Steam Horse Brewing
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.
2. West Palm Brewery & Wine Vault
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.
3. Ookapow Brewing Company
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.
4. Mathews Brewing Company
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.
5. NOBO Brewing Company
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
6. Prosperity Brewers
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.
7. GreenWolf Brewery
Longtime South Florida resident and homebrewer Robert DeWitt is in the planning stages of GreenWolf Brewery (not to be confused with the New York-based Green Wolf Brewing Co.). The name is a nod to his love of the outdoors and his favorite line from Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book: "The strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack." The Deerfield Beach resident and Hopaholics Brew Club member says he began making mead in 2006 and swapped formats in 2009 to began crafting his own beer. Now, nearly two decades later, DeWitt hopes to share his favorite recipes with the community via a small-scale facility he plans to debut in his hometown of Deerfield Beach.
The focus will be on a few core styles — porters, stouts, and ales — and flagship brews such as his smoked porter flavored with spiced rum; core pale ale; imperial chocolate stout made with Ghiradelli chocolate; and a cream ale flavored with gingerbread spices. For now, find him pouring at events such as Bangin' Banjo Brewing's Iron Banjo homebrew competition.
Scheduled to open in early 2018 in Deerfield Beach.
8. Odd Breed Wild Ales
Sybarite Pig owner Daniel Naumko and Wild Oak Artisan Ales founder and Boca Raton Brewzzi brewer Matt Manthe have teamed up to create Odd Breed Wild Ales. The goal: to make some of the wildest ales they can. Along with Miami-based Unseen Creatures Brewing & Blending, Odd Breed will be among South Florida's first to offer a dedicated wild-ale program, a term that usually refers to beers brewed using yeasts and bacteria such as Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus that can yield an impressive array of flavors commonly described as "barnyard" or "funky." Odd Breed will be located in Old Town Pompano Beach, just one part of the city's push toward large-scale revitalization. Although no brewing will occur onsite (the pair plans to do the core brewing at nearby breweries such as 26 Degrees), Manthe will use the new space to create some unique offerings, produced by blending and aging beer that's been fermented using a mixed culture of wild yeast and bacteria and then aged in wooden barrels. Inside, a taproom will have several taps to pour the final product, including three flagships and beers from other breweries.
The flagships are a saison, an easy-drinking and slightly sour barrel-aged wild farmhouse ale made with imported pilsner malt, spelt, rye, and oats; a wild pale ale brewed like a West Coast style but fermented with the mixed culture of wild yeast and bacteria and aged in French oak barrels before dry-hopping with Mosaic hops; and a golden wild ale blended from multiple vintages of pale sour ales. Manthe also plans to produce a series of seasonal farmhouse ales, as well as some dark wild ales and one-off beers made with local fruit, many of which will be bottled for special releases.
Scheduled to open in late summer 2017 at 40 NE First St., Pompano Beach.
9. Invasive Species Brewing
South Florida natives, brewers, and friends Phil Gillis, Josh Levitt, Chris Bellus, and Jordan Bellus have joined forces to create Invasive Species Brewing, one of several breweries slated to open in Fort Lauderdale. The name has been around since 2011, when Invasive Species was founded as a brewing club in which Levitt crafted recipes using a homebrew system he built himself. Today, Invasive Species appears to be quite the craft-brew dream team, with its pairing of professional brewers Gillis (a graduate of the World Brewing Academy and former assistant brewer at Funky Buddha Brewery) and Levitt (former assistant brewer at MIA Brewing), alongside pioneering Laser Wolf cofounders the Bellus brothers. They declined to give New Times an interview, but they mapped out a handy infographic (pictured above) to explain their plans for the brewery.
The five-barrel brewhouse will be located somewhere near Flagler Village and Laser Wolf, and will produce a rotating lineup of quality brews in a variety of styles. The taproom will also sport a "weird hunting-lodge vibe" and a 50-seat bar with ten taps. Expect plenty of cool stuff and beards, along with bottle releases and special events. "We have a reputation for making great beer, and we want to focus on that while providing something fresh and exciting for everyone," Gillis says.
Scheduled to open sometime in 2017 in Fort Lauderdale.
10. Gulf Stream Brewing Company
Gulf Stream Brewing Company cofounders McKay Ferrell and Ty Eriks, longtime friends and experienced homebrewers hailing from the West Coast, say they originally planned to open their brewery in Vancouver, Washington. Plans changed when Eriks relocated to Fort Myers in 2012 and noticed the potential for launching their business in South Florida's emerging craft beer market. Gulf Stream Brewing will join the nearly dozen production and nanobrewing facilities operating in Broward County and will be among several newer ones to recently open nearby, including Pompano Beach-based Holy Mackerel Brewing and Broski Ciderworks & Winery.
Construction is underway at Gulf Stream's 5,300-square-foot standalone building located in Fort Lauderdale, where a ten-barrel brewhouse will include a fully enclosed tasting room. "Our focus is on drinkable, sessionable beers," Eriks says. "But our biggest goal is education, to help transition people from drinking the big-name domestic beers to craft." Gulf Stream will debut with a number of core beers, including a Kölsch, a citrus Hefeweizen, a West Coast-style IPA, a brown ale, and a porter.
Scheduled to open in late June 2017 at 1105 NE 13th St., Fort Lauderdale.
11. New River Brewing
Later this year, Fort Lauderdale will welcome a brewery to an industrial complex just south of Sailboat Bend and the Tarpon River. Riverside Market's founders and Native Brewing's Adam Fine have partnered with Tim Petrillo and the Restaurant People to form New River Brewing. The project has been a long time coming for Riverside Market husband-and-wife team Julian and Lisa Siegel, who say they considered several locations over the past few years — everywhere from Pompano Beach to Fort Lauderdale's FAT Village — before settling on the current spot.
Fine, also founder of Fresh Beer, now Brown Distributing, sold Native Brewing Company as part of the new brewery project. The company, established in 1999, is best known for creating some of South Florida's first brews: Native Lager, the Eleven Brown Ale, Thunderhead Red Amber Ale, and Glades Pale Ale.
Slated to open before this fall, New River Brewing will be located in a large warehouse across the river from Sailboat Bend and just west of the Broward County Courthouse. It's currently home to New River Brewing's ten-barrel brewhouse and soon a taproom designed with a nostalgic vibe, channeling Florida-cracker architecture. When it opens later this year, expect the brewery to begin producing an all-new lineup of core brand beers that Fine and Julian created on the Craft Beer Cartel pilot system.
Scheduled to open late summer/early fall 2017 at 280 SW Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale.
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12. 3 Sons Brewing Company
Broward craft beer fans will rejoice when father-and-son team Joe and Corey Artanis launch their much-anticipated 3 Sons Brewing Company in Dania Beach. The name is a nod to Corey's wife, who came up with the moniker that pays homage to their three sons and embodies the family spirit behind the business. The 20-barrel brewhouse will be home to one of the area's most beloved brewers, Corey, who currently acts as head brewer for Brass Tap's Flagler Village Brewery (and, before that, the Brass Tap in Naples). Over the past few years, Artanis has honed his skills via brewing collabs with Cycle Brewing, Abnormal Beer Co., and Bottle Logic Brewing, allowing him to master a wide variety of styles. It's experience that no doubt helped him win Best Brewery and Best Beer at the 2015 and 2016 Hunahpu’s Day festival at Tampa's Cigar City Brewing. Corey says he has plans to begin local distribution to select accounts immediately, but fans of his beer will be excited to learn that in-house bottle or can sales will be a commonplace occurrence in the 1,500-square-foot tasting room, where 20 taps will pour dozens of his most popular beers.
Expect the brewery's core lineup to include an ever-changing selection Florida Weisse fruited Berliners alongside a vast array of hop-forward IPAs; a pilsner; and those bold, food-inspired, adjunct-rife stouts that put him on the map. Expect to see special releases of his Kopi Summation (the 2015 Hunahpu-winning bourbon-barrel-aged imperial stout brewed with coffee and vanilla bean) and Double Scoop Neapolitan Ice Cream stout (brewed with strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla) or Flagler Village favorites like his Apple Jax (a sweet cinnamon-apple brown ale) and Boysen Tha Hood (a boysenberry Berliner Weisse that pours a cloudy purple). Keep an eye on the brewery's social media to be at the brewery for the launch of its membership club. Those interested will be able to sign up only onsite the opening weekend, and memberships will be limited to the first 300 people.
Scheduled to open in late 2017 or early 2018 at 236 N. Federal Hwy., Dania Beach.