The great thing about beer is that you can find it everywhere. It's the 'American' drink; thanks to our beer-making founders from Britain, our welcoming arms towards the German immigrants in the 19th centuries, and it's relatively blue-collar appeal in the beverage market. The city of Davie holds some of that blue-collar swagger - after all it's a place where you'll more likely find a chili cook-off or a rodeo over a food and wine festival. But that doesn't mean you can't find the good stuff.
Recently opened 595 Tap + Tavern is proving that you don't have to live in the crowded metropolitan areas of the county to experience good food and great craft beers.
I popped down to Davie to see for myself if the rumors were true: that there is a craft beer destination out west.
John Kerr, chef and general manager of 595 Tap + Tavern (herein referred to as '595 Tap'), moved down here from Pennsylvania a few years ago, and couldn't believe the void of craft beer that existed in the area at the time. South Florida has luckily grown up in those few short years, and John has, since the restaurant opened in April, been a driving force in changing tastes in western Broward county.
"It can be a hit-or-miss clientele," he said, remarking that they attract residents in their mid 30's and up, who seem to be accepting of the changes that this establishment has to offer.
"This used to be a 'wings and buckets' place [before it was renovated], so people were initially shocked about the things we started doing." They still serve tasty bar food, though it's closer to something you might find down on Riverside. "We use a couple of craft beers in our recipes - the Green Flash stout in our BBQ sauce, a red ale for the ribs, and even an IPA in our fish and chips batter."
With a few months now under their belt, the management team is looking to move to worrying about 'big picture' ideas. "We've been mostly concerned with 'Do we have stock? Do we have kegs coming in?', but now that we've hired a new bar manager, Bryant, and were lucky to get the old sous chef from Tap 42, we'll be able to show Davie what we've got."
"Craft is working," he told us. 595 Tap sells more craft than the 'macros'. The numbers don't lie. "We cater to the folks that live nearby, and they've been very receptive about changing their taste profiles. We'll give out samples of beers that are similar to what they order, and a lot will remark at the difference. Bud drinkers, we'll suggest Narragansett, and they enjoy it a lot."
On a lazy Wednesday afternoon, patrons were still coming in for late lunches and early happy hour enjoyment. We also happened to run into be-everywhere Miami Brewing Company rep Chris Ball, who was giving samples of Big Rod and Shark Attack to the bar staff. John is adamant about beer education. "We had Eric in from Brown [Distributing] when we first opened, and he was instrumental in getting the staff up to speed on the evolving beer culture; there was a two week intensive training program, tasting, food pairing, everything. We care about the quality of the product that is coming out of the taps, just at the brewer does." Which is why, we must note here, that 595 Tap has some of the cleanest glassware we've encountered in the wild.
With burgers and sandwiches, it's a great spot to watch your favorite team lose (well, if you're a fan of Florida sports teams) and at least be satisfied with what you're drinking. I have to recommend the french fries, which, as they are hand cut and fresh, are deliciously tasty and crisp.
August 16th will see Tap 595 + Tavern host 640AM's Sid Rosenberg's first year anniversary party, with a live broadcast from the establishment and, of course, tons of free things being given away.
595 Tap + Tavern is located at 11300 W. State Road 84 in Davie. Call 954-474-1419, or visit 595tap.com
Beer things in your Twitter feed, follow me @DougFairall
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