Best Beer 2011 | Der Chancellor, Tequesta Brewing Co. | Food & Drink | South Florida

The Tequesta Brewing Co. is a perfect mixture of old and new. The always-packed tap room sports modern flourishes like exposed metal rafters and dark-blue lighting that makes the stainless-steel brewing vessels visible from the bar look like UFOs about to take flight. Complementing that is vintage-style black-and-white photography and a 100-year-old bar that looks like it was taken straight out of a German bier garden. TBC's beers are all topnotch, from the smooth and drinkable Gnarly Barley to the heavy-hitting Double IPA injected with nitrogen. But the one that best represents owner Matt Webster's ability to toe that contemporary/classical divide is Der Chancellor, a German-style Kölsch that pours a beautiful shade of pale gold. In authentic fashion, this light-bodied lager is well-carbonated, with an almost champagne-like finish. But where Webster introduces a bit of good ol' American ingenuity is in the hops, a heady dose that's slightly bitter but extremely aromatic. The result is a brew that demands another round — and one you can appreciate no matter how old- (or new-)school a beer drinker you are.

You've been at the beach for hours, you've had a few beers, you have no plans for the entire afternoon, but you're getting sleepy. It's scorching outside — too hot to drink coffee and too pleasant to go home. Solution: Brush the sand off your ass and go to the Pirate Bar to walk the plank. It's a sake bomb but much more fun. Once you walk down Pirate Alley, just north of Las Olas, between Spazio and a junky gift shop, you'll encounter a dark enclave that is the diviest of beach bars. There, the bartender lines up booze-filled cups, balancing shots of sake on chopsticks over beer glasses; slam the bar and guzzle — and all for four bucks.

Movies, alcohol, and food... Is there any better trifecta? Lucky for us, all three are magically joined at FAU's Living Room Theaters movie complex in Boca Raton. Having opened its doors in October 2010, the complex includes four 50-seat theaters, each equipped with state-of-the-art sound, immaculate picture quality, and those fancy leather seats with moveable armrests. In addition to the ideal movie-watching environment, there are European-style café offerings, a slew of gourmet delights, and most important, a wide selection of specialty microbrews and wine. The alcohol prices aren't too shabby either; $5 pint glasses will surely spice up any movie experience. Best of all, no need to worry about keg-partying college kids or American Pie-type films. Living Room Theaters is committed to providing films from all over the world, indie flicks, and notable classics such as Hitchcock favorites. Just imagine hearing the shower scene from Psycho in digital surround sound after a few glasses of wine. So, for your next movie experience, skip the crying-baby-filled theaters and overpriced concession snacks and enjoy a beer (or a few) at FAU.

Over the swing bridge and through the park, to the best damned stifling-hot, people-packed, appetite-mocking sandwich shop we go. Would you like your cheeseburger on a normal bun or in the form of a gut-busting sub for just over five bucks? While you're thinking, close your eyes. It's easy to imagine you're on some rambling Deep South byway, hearing the sizzling grill and feeling the impotent gusts of the ceiling fans. Now open your eyes and look at that rack of homemade cakes, available by the slice. Holy mother.

Downtown Fort Lauderdale has no shortage of restaurants, from basic sandwich shops to upscale eateries that morph into clubs at night. Yet those of us who work and live in this panoply of gustatory diversity somehow still find ourselves wondering what the hell we're going to eat for lunch. Many downtowners have found the ideal solution: "Let's just go to the library." Truth is, the food at the Main Library's Charcuterie Too is just really freaking good. The dishes are simple and well-prepared, and the menu is posted online, so you can check the day's special before you head over. The curry chicken is arguably the most delicious dish in Fort Lauderdale. The line is quick, the staff friendly and efficient, and at about $8 for the whole meal, you won't go broke.

The words comfort food may not immediately bring to mind galbi, jjigae, and bibimbap — not unless you're Korean, anyway. But the heart and soul of comfort food is the idea that it should be something that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. Myung Ga, a humble Korean restaurant in far-off Weston, definitely delivers on that front. On any given night, the place is filled with families sharing hearty, soul-affirming meals. Central to that is the way in which those meals are eaten. In typical Korean fashion, each table is packed to the brim with all manner of food, so that almost every inch of bare space is taken up. There are plates of banchan (little appetizers that come complimentary with every meal), sizzling platters of char-grilled meat like short ribs or shrimp, and bubbling cauldrons of soup filled with roast pork, tofu, and plenty of heady spice. When it's time to dig in, folks pass bowls and reach with their chopsticks. They serve one another helpings of noodles coated in spicy chili sauce and sip from short glasses of Hite Lager. Most of all, there's this overwhelming sense of conviviality that spreads throughout the restaurant. Although Myung Ga may not serve comfort food of the meat loaf and mashed potatoes mold, it definitely has the same effect: Your heart warms, and your belly grumbles. It's time to eat.

Maybe it's because ice cream parlors are such ubiquitous fixtures on the American landscape, but for some reason, kitsch and gimmicks have become the rule rather than the exception. Seems that nowadays they all sell ice cream in bathroom fixtures so large that the flavors ooze together, or via a do-it-yourself scheme that tricks people into loading up on toppings only to realize at the register that you pay by weight and chocolate chips are much heavier than you thought. And then, of course, there's the singing. Oh, the singing. If you just want to get a couple of decent scoops on a sugar cone and enjoy it in peace, then pay a visit to Larry's Olde Fashioned Ice Cream & Yogurt in Coral Springs. This tiny spot will serve you ice cream in a normal, individual-sized container. The only work you'll have to do is to decide between colored or chocolate sprinkles. (Go crazy — have both.) And best of all, no one — repeat, absolutely no one — will break out into off-key song should you drop a dollar in the tip jar. It's like heaven. And if you find yourself going through gimmick withdrawal, order a sundae and spin the wheel to find out how much you'll pay. You might even get it for free.

Instead of grabbing the same old Starbucks croissant, pop into Barbara Young Bake Shop for a slice of homemade heaven. Barbara Young, a 35-year pastry chef, opted out of retirement to open her dream bakery on the Las Olas strip in 2010. The interior has a traditional Americana-meets-retro look, giving it a welcoming feel. When you walk in, the savory aroma of freshly baked goodies and brewing coffee will call out to your taste buds. The counter is lined with tempting delights just waiting to be devoured, including flavorful muffins that are as big as your head. One bite is guaranteed to start the day off right. In addition to the specialty breads and pies, Barbara's signature cheesecakes are not to be ignored.

Tabatha Mudra

People who should go here: those who like hamburgers. People who should not go here: those with peanut allergies.

Late-night eats or anytime treats... Oakland Park's Diner 24 knows what diner lovers desire — all things greasy, hearty, and home-style. And what's better than a filling portion of good, ol'-fashioned French fries smothered in a symphony of glistening beef gravy and creamy mozzarella cheese? A second portion of them! These fries, most likely invented during an inebriated moment of genius, will have you performing the night fever hustle in celebration. (Insider tip: Since some diners didn't know what "disco fries" meant, the menu was changed to list only "gravy fries." But if you ask for disco fries, you'll get 'em.)

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