26. Mike Halker of Due South Brewing | Clean Plate Charlie | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

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26. Mike Halker of Due South Brewing

New Times' Best of Broward-Palm Beach 2013 issue arrives June 13. To celebrate, Clean Plate Charlie is serving up 30 of our favorite tastemakers -- restaurateurs, chefs, bartenders, and other foodies who make the South Florida food scene what it is. We'll start with number 30 and lead up to South Florida's number one. All previous Tastemakers are listed at the end of the post.

There are those who say that Florida can sometimes be a bit behind the rest of the nation in food trends. And those that say that, well, they'd be right. Floridians might have taken their sweet time developing a taste for craft beer, but they've got one now and that is in no small part due to the efforts of the brewers themselves, brewers like Mike Halker of Due South Brewing Co. in Boynton Beach.

Halker and his handcrafted brews have forever changed the beer palates of Floridians. No longer are we satisfied with pale mass produced lagers. We want our beers to have character and complexity. Due South will only be celebrating their first anniversary on May 12, and yet, the local beer scene wouldn't be the same without them.

The most influential person in my career has been...

Brian Miller at Bold City Brewing in Jacksonville. Every time I have a question, he's there for me. He's a great example of keeping your feet on the ground while being successful. When I'm working myself to death I stop and give him a call and he's always out by the river grilling out or something. Someday I'd like to be more like him. He always has a good time.

When I'm alone and in need of comfort (and no one is there to watch or judge), the one food or drink I turn to is...

Margaritas. By the pitcher.

What does the Broward/Palm Beach food scene need more of? Breweries. The world can always use more good beer.

You get to vote one food or beverage trend off the island forever -- what is it?

Sugary energy drinks. They're for amateurs. Stick with coffee.

You have unlimited funds to open a restaurant or bar -- what's the name, and what do you serve?

I'd call it Blackbeard's and serve wood smoked BBQ and hushpuppies. And fresh brewed beer of course. All the money would go to real estate. I want it on a beach on a private island that you have to get to by boat in some remote part of the Caribbean. And we'd have a dingy to run folks back and forth to their boats so their to-go plates wouldn't get wet. And for happy hour each day we'd blast Taj Mahal and have free beer and hushpuppies.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Visiting craft beer folks all over the southeast and thanking them for drinking my beer. And on a boat. Often.

Dream dinner party for six: Who (living or dead) are you inviting?

Stevie Ray Vaughn, Christopher Walken, John Belushi, George Washington, Don Knotts and Andy Griffith. No women as things might get weird between Mr. Walken and Mr. Knotts.

2013 Tastemakers

30. Robyn Almodovar of Palate Party Food Truck

29. Chris and Jordan Bellus of Laser Wolf

28. Fulvio Sardelli of Sardelli's Italian Steakhouse

27. Brett Chiavari of BC Tacos

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Rebecca McBane is the arts and culture/food editor for New Times Broward-Palm Beach. She began her journalism career at the Sun Sentinel's community newspaper offshoot, Forum Publishing Group, where she worked as the editorial assistant and wrote monthly features as well as the weekly library and literature column, "Shelf Life." After a brief stint bumming around London's East End (for no conceivable reason, according to her poor mother), she returned to real life and South Florida to start at New Times as the editorial assistant in 2009. A native Floridian, Rebecca avoids the sun and beach at all costs and can most often be found in a well-air-conditioned space with the glow of a laptop on her face.
Contact: Rebecca McBane

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