As chief brewmaster for
"Here in the U.S., there are a lot of breweries doing amazing things, but the brewing scene in Florida is still evolving and maturing. I came here to start a revolution," said Vagifoglu-Khoffner. "I'm bringing my family knowledge and experience, and my goal is to make some of the best European and craft American beer around."
The son of esteemed German brewer Karl Hoffner, Vagifoglu-
Now, Vagifoglu-Khoffner — who named his original Turkey-based brewery after his family's German surname spelling — is looking to take the South Florida craft beer scene by storm with his father's old-world brewing techniques and more than 300 family recipes.
"My father worked under those original laws and brewed with just three types of malt and five varieties of hops. In those days, no experimenting was allowed," says Vagifoglu-Khoffner. "I was fascinated by this. I wanted to experiment, mix different ingredients to get new tastes, new colors, new aromas — something we couldn't do in Turkey or Germany. Today, my only goal is to continue in my father's footsteps, but in my own way."
Just don't ask him how he does it. Vagifoglu-Khoffner won't be sharing any family secrets. "Never ask me what I put in my beer. Never ask me how I make it. Just tell me if you like it or not," he says. "That's all that's important."
At 18, Vagifoglu-Khoffner began traveling to study beer production around the world, garnering knowledge from some of Europe’s most esteemed brewmasters. In 2012, he relocated to the United States to visit the nation's top-rated breweries. Last year, he connected with Kagan, a friend and avid homebrewer who today stands as
Although Khoffner Brewery is still under construction, Kagan confirms the brewery has already signed with Deerfield Beach-based Double Eagle Distributing, a deal he and Vagifoglu-Khoffner say will help them place Khoffner beer in bars and restaurants from Fort Lauderdale to Miami.
The 5,000-square-foot brewery is home to a production bottling system and a small army of brewing tanks, custom-built equipment that includes eight 30-barrel tanks, several 15- and 20-barrel tanks, and five five-barrel tanks that will be used to brew Khoffner's four flagship families of beer, as well as limited-edition and small-batch brews.
Construction is also making way for a 2,000-square-foot tasting room where guests will be able to sample anywhere from ten to 25 Khoffner Brewery beers at any given time, everything from ales, lagers, and Belgian-style brews to IPAs, stouts, porters, and lambics.
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"I want to show Europe that America can also produce high-quality, German-style beer," says Vagifoglu-Khoffner. "Most of all, I care about the quality of the beer and about tradition. It's my goal to put Florida on the map for good beer in the U.S."
Khoffner Brewery is located at 1110 NE Eighth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-614-2746, or visit khoffner.us.
Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.