Florida's first brewery dedicated to American wild ales is now open in Pompano Beach.
The day after Thanksgiving, Odd Breed Wild Ales owners and brewers Matt Manthe and Dan Naumko debuted their tasting room. The intimate space is located in the city's industrial-like Old Town Pompano area.
Odd Breed Wild Ales is South Florida's first brewing operation dedicated to producing barrel-aged wild ales.
It is also South Florida's first brewery to offer customers access to an online store designed to create patron profiles and allow anyone of legal drinking age to purchase specialty release bottles. Customers will be able to visit the Odd Breed website the day of a release to place orders available for pickup.
These American wild ales, often dubbed "sours" for their unique tartness, are best defined by layers of unexpected, complex flavors, Manthe says.
The sour notes are the product of lactic, acetic, and other organic acids naturally produced during fermentation using yeast and bacteria such as Lactobacillus, Pediococcus, and Brettanomyces (or Brett). Like Odd Breed, many wild ale brewers also re-ferment with fruit to add layers of flavor and complexity to the beer.
"I'd describe our beers as soft yet complex, with tropical, citrus notes and a Brett-forward funk," Manthe says.
Not unlike Belgian artisanal brewers such as Cantillon, which continue to produce beer through spontaneous fermentation, Odd Breed Wild Ales stands as one of a new breed of American brewers that inoculate beer using a unique blend of wild yeast and souring bacteria and age it in wood barrels to produce a tart flavor profile.
However, unlike the ever-increasing producers of American wild ales that also brew standard-style beers, Odd Breed will be one of just a handful of U.S.-based brewers producing only wild ales, developed with Manthe's custom-mixed culture, an evolving colony of wild yeast and bacteria he's refined over the past four years.
"From grain to glass, our beers won't be produced in a matter of weeks like most breweries," Naumko says. "Instead, many will be aged a minimum of five months to over three years, depending on the beer, before they are ready to serve."
To create these wild ales, Manthe and Naumko begin by brewing a base beer using production equipment at one of several local breweries, including Pompano Beach's 26 Degree Brewing and Bangin' Banjo, as well as Boca Raton's Barrel of Monks. From there, the resulting wort is transferred to stainless-steel tanks and transported back to the duo's Pompano Beach facility.
Each beer is then transferred into one of dozens of French oak barrels. Many of these beers will also be aged with fruit, Manthe says, while others will be double-barrel-aged or blended to create various offerings.
As a result, Odd Breed won't offer a familiar core lineup found at most local breweries. The beers will also continually change along with the wild yeast and bacteria that give the beer its flavor, although most will offer a discernible flavor profile that is distinctly Odd Breed.
"We're OK with not being able to make the exact same beer every time," Manthe says. "What we want to do is make the best beer every time. While no two beers will be exactly alike, the culture offers a consistent flavor profile that's uniquely ours."
Conceived as Wild Oak Artisan Ales in 2015, the Pompano Beach site today is primarily a tasting room that will also function as a barrel room where Manthe and Naumko treat, store, and age the beer they produce. The 2,500-square-foot space holds 56 barrels, 35 of which are 500-liter French oak puncheons.
Odd Breed's soft opening will continue through December. A rotating selection of the brewery's wild ales are being poured alongside a number of guest taps including a range of standard-style beers handpicked by Manthe and Naumko. The bar will also offer a refined selection of boutique wines.
"We won't be brewing standard beers here because we want to focus on our style of wild ales, but we want to offer them to those who might not want a sour beer but still want to come here to drink," Naumko says. "Our tap list will be more for classic-minded beer lovers."
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A larger selection of Odd Breed beer will become available in early 2018, when a number of aging brews will be ready to keg and tap.
For those interested in bringing a taste of Odd Breed home, patrons can join the brewery's Rare Bottle Club. Memberships cost $300 per person through the brewery's online store. The fee includes member-exclusive beers, early access to bottle releases, and branded glassware.
"The idea is to offer a completely new experience for beer lovers," Manthe says. "We want to create an environment unlike anything else in the area."
Odd Breed Wild Ales. 50 NE First St., Pompano Beach; oddbreedwildales.com. Thursday 6 to 10 p.m., Friday 4 to 10 p.m., Saturday 1 to 10 p.m., Sunday 4 to 8 p.m.