It was only a matter of time before the craft-beer scene exploded onto the West Palm Beach market, a city with plenty of thirsty patrons who are tired of making the trek to the nearest breweries in Palm Beach Gardens and Tequesta to the north or Boynton Beach to the south.
In the last few months, a number of local home brewers (and some seasoned pros) have announced plans to open new facilities in West Palm Beach. Some are moving into a burgeoning industrial park aptly dubbed the Warehouse District, while others can be found off the beaten path like Accomplice Brewery and Ciderworks, or right smack in the heart of the city's downtown.
Here are the details on four new microbreweries where you'll soon be able to wet your whistle in West Palm Beach:
Dixie Grill & Brewery
5101 S. Dixie Hwy., West Palm Beach; 561-586-3189; dixiegrillandbar.com.
You can thank Dixie Grill & Bar co-owners (and husband-and-wife team) Jason and Rachel Matta for the variety of craft-beer taps behind their West Palm Beach bar. Since 2013, the couple has grown the selections — sourced from national and local brewers — from just four to 30 tap handles, each pouring unique, specialty-release, and often hard-to-find brews and hard ciders. In March 2016, those picks expanded with a steady lineup of beers brewed in-house by Jason himself, who today is also founder of Dixie Grill & Brewery. The one-barrel in-house brewing system is located at the back of the restaurant, a space that allows Jason the ability to create an ever-growing number of craft beer styles to serve to his suds-thirsty clientele. The self-taught home brewer says he is now brewing at least one a week, offering anywhere from four to six of his own beers on tap at any given time. That includes his four core beers: the Ambrosious amber ale, named for his late Dachshund; the Hakuna Wheatata wheat ale; the Hoptomatic Immunity double IPA; and the Fatta Matta, a tribute to the weight he's gained since he began brewing (and sampling) his own beers. The demand for Dixie Grill & Brewery's beers has been so overwhelming, it's prompted Jason to seek a second industrial space nearby where he says he'll be opening a larger, fully dedicated brewing facility under a new name.
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West Palm Beach Brewery & Wine Vault
332 Evernia St., West Palm Beach; westpalmbeer.com.
When it opens next year, West Palm Beach 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 his partner, the pair said they took their time searching for the right spot to open the ten-barrel brewhouse, settling on a spacious 6,000-square-foot industrial building off Evernia Street just a few blocks south of Clematis Street. Currently under construction, the plan is to build a large, open-plan 2,500-square-foot tasting room and spacious 30-seat bar where that will offer 24 taps serving a rotating lineup of their core, seasonal, and specialty-release beers. Expect to sip on some signature core brews including 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 the brewers apart from the others in the local craft scene, however, will be the selection of eight to 12 private-label red-and-white boutique wines that will be exclusive to the brewery's onsite wine vault. According to Galasso, these are wines you won't find anywhere else, each small-batch and limited-production, procured from California vineyards located from Sonoma and Anderson Valley to Napa and Santa Barbara. The space is currently under construction and is expected to celebrate a grand opening in late spring or early summer 2017.
Ookapow Brewing Company
1142 Old Okeechobee Rd., Bay 6A, West Palm Beach; ookapow.com.
Wellington resident Jeff Singletary and Boynton Beach resident Damian Ramos, both passionate craft-beer lovers and home brewers, have teamed up to launch Ookapow Brewing Company, a new craft microbrewery headed for West Palm Beach. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Singletary arrived in South Florida when he was 16 and has been brewing since 2011, while Ramos began home brewing in his kitchen in New York over a decade ago. The duo met while participating in the local competitive home-brewing circuit and found common ground brewing similar styles. As fate would have it, their shared love inspired a business partnership. Over the last two years, they've developed a steady following while seeking out the ideal location and raising capital. Although they originally planned to settle in Boynton Beach's growing craft-beer neighborhood, they instead found the perfect spot off Old Okeechobee Road in West Palm Beach, an industrial space in the heart of the city's Warehouse District. With 1,700 square feet for an open-style brewery, Singletary says a short wall will split the space between the single-barrel brewhouse and the taproom. As demand grows, the plan is to increase capacity to a seven-barrel system, hopefully within the first year. Expect a mid- to late-spring grand opening. Get ready for a number of heavy-hitting big beers ranging from their signature O-Squared double IPA (what Singletary says is similar in flavor to the Alchemist's Heady Topper, ringing in at 160 IBUs for a well-balanced, aromatic brew) and 13-percent ABV Russian Imperial Stout to the Clan MacDonnell Scotch ale brewed with English hops and the Sage Belgian quadrupel-aged on various dark fruits.
Steam Horse Brewing
1500 Elizabeth Ave., West Palm Beach; facebook.com.
Fran Andrewlevich and Matt Webster, the brewers behind north Palm Beach County's Twisted Trunk Brewing and Tequesta Brewing Company, will be expanding south to join the West Palm Beach craft-beer scene. In mid-2017, they plan to debut Steam Horse Brewing, named for the vintage rail cars once located in the up-and-coming Warehouse District where they'll open, just south of the city's downtown area. The new brewery will be part of a new urban complex currently under construction in an industrial area located off Elizabeth Avenue south of Okeechobee Boulevard. The 6,000-square-foot space will house a 10-barrel brewhouse as well as a spacious, air-conditioned taproom similar to Twisted Trunk's, where over a dozen taps will pour a variety of core, seasonal, and specialty craft brews ranging across a number of styles.
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.