Broward County, it's time once again to break out the confetti, as the newest brewery in the land will open its doors this Friday, July 24, for a soft opening from 4 to 10 p.m.: Bangin' Banjo Brewery.
The facility, located at 3200 NW 23rd Ave., Suite 500, in Pompano Beach, will be the first to open in that municipality.
"Pompano was actually our first choice," Bangin' Banjo brewer Matt Giani says over pints at Barrel of Monks Brewery in Boca Raton. It's conveniently located between Coral Springs and Boca Raton, where Giani and brewing partner Adam Feingold live and grew up.
Their venture will precede another brewery set to open in the city this year, 26 Degree Brewing Co.
"We hadn't even heard of 26 Degree until we signed a lease," Feingold says. "Come November, I found 26 Degree on Facebook, saw articles... so we reached out to the guys, met them at World of Beer in Coconut Creek, and was like, 'We're cool; you're cool.'"
"We've been friends with them ever since," Giani says.
Giani and Feingold are setting their sights to make Pompano Beach a craft beer town with some bold ideas but are first putting their skills to the grindstone to get their brewery open.
The team come from a strong homebrewing background, having had their start as roommates in Gainesville, where Giani was completing his civil engineering degree.
"We did two or three batches together in our house," he says. "Every Sunday. We did that for about a year until I moved down here. Then I brewed by myself for about three years before I gave that up four months ago and started brewing at the brewery."
Feingold quickly interjected. "I wouldn't say you gave it up; you just transitioned."
"One day, I still hope to homebrew again!"
Early recipes included Goat Scrotum Porter, a classic recipe from Charlie Papazian's The Complete Joy of Homebrewing. (Read this cover to cover if you want to start brewing; it's the best resource out there.)
From there, things escalated pretty quickly.
"We had a room just filled with shelves and equipment and this and that," says Giani. "You go into the dining room and the kegerators are in there and a whole hutch full of glassware, not including everything that was stored outside. We were just crazy, and we religiously brewed every week.
"It became every Saturday. I was kegging, racking, whatever cellaring I had to do. And then Sunday, usually we did double batches, starting at 10 p.m. and then finish around 7 or 8."
Now, they'll be able to brew on a larger scale using professional equipment. The brewhouse will come online with a three-barrel system (93 gallons) that will let them create what they need in the opening months, which will begin with a core of six beers:
Cypress Creek Cream Ale
Odin's Revenge Belgian Red
Gose Getter, a gose beer that uses fresh Florida orange zest.
Judy's Amber Ale
Hop of the Muffin American IPA (As Matt describes it: "If I had to describe it in one word, it would be 'dank.' We'll be dry-hopping it, using the hop back; we're basically going to be inserting hops anyway we can.")
- Moodoo Voodoo Milk Stout
With a 1,500-square-foot taproom and a total manufacturing space of just over 5,000 square feet, there will be plenty of room for Bangin' Banjo Brewery to become an established player in the market.
But that name?
"Our friend Karl, he was a banjo player," Feingold says. "We brewed a black IPA... We'll show it to him for his birthday. It sat in his closet for like a month and a half, terrible fermentation conditions. Beer came out awesome. A couple of years later, we need a name, and we're coming up with names, and I think of 'What about Bangin' Banjo'?
"I miss the Southern hospitality that you get in Gainesville. Let's bring the South to South Florida. Karl was in a band, Greenland Is Melting, and this is his first banjo. That's sitting right above our brewery doors. His banjo playing, in turn, indirectly inspired our name."
"'Bangin' Banjo' is unique," Giani adds. "And you don't forget it once you hear it."
The brewery is slated to open its doors this Friday, so you can see that banjo for yourself and drink some South Florida-made beers too.
Bangin' Banjo Brewing is located at 3200 NW 23rd Ave., Suite 500, in Pompano Beach. Visit banginbanjobrewing.com.
Doug Fairall is a craft beer blogger who focuses on Florida beers, and has been a homebrewer since 2010. For beer things in your Twitter feed, follow him @DougFairall and find the latest beer pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.