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Civil Society Brewing Opens Friday in Jupiter

Mark the day: Friday, November 20. That's when Jupiter's — and downtown Abacoa's — Civil Society Brewing Co. will begin to serve beers to the public, starting at 6 p.m.

The facility has been in stages of construction and town council negotiation for the past year and is now ready to open its doors and let the people of northern Palm Beach County in. 

For Civil Society, 5,600 square feet of space will be split between taproom space and the production of beer but without much separating the two. It's a conscious effort from the three owners, Karl Volstad, Evan Miller, and former Florida Marlins pitcher Chris Volstad, to keep people engaged with the brewing process.

That process comes through with the standard spread of stainless-steel equipment.

"We have one 15-barrel brite tank right now," Evan Miller said during an afternoon at the brewery. "It's carbonating Fresh, which is our staple IPA. We have three 15-barrel fermenters, one seven-barrel fermenter, and a seven-barrel brewhouse, but it's oversized to ten barrels so we can brew and pull nine off the kettle... We use tankless hot water heaters as our hot liquor [tank]... It's on demand up to 182F, so that's how we mash in.... We don't really have space for a hot liquor tank. It's these two little contraptions on the wall and that's it. We're smaller, but we got really creative; we're trying to do a lot in a little space."

All three have been involved with brewing at home for the past seven years, and the change to a bigger system hasn't been too much of a hassle. "From five gallons to 500, it's been good. We're just learning the new system. Matt and Fran from TBC and Twisted Trunk came over, and they played around with our system with us a little bit."

Miller even installed the glycol lines himself (you know, the refrigerant to help cool down the fermentation tanks) using his decade of experience as a marine engineer.

Expertly installed systems are an art, but a piece of art that will stand out for most people is the hop light installed above the brew deck "from a random store in North Miami," Miller shares, "who didn't really know what they had."

For those who have strolled past the location in the past couple of days, the mug of a French bulldog named Bella has been staring out: The mascot for the brewery is Karl Volstad's dog. "She's 11; she doesn't know she's a model. She has no idea." Bella's face is splayed across everything: the glasses, social media, the walls. She'll probably even make it in pictures.

While taprooms and the glitz and glamour of equipment are nice, what the people want to know is, "How's the beer?"

To start, the brewery will be carrying Fresh IPA, a 6.2 percent Northeast-style beer; Blonde's Make Me Hoppy, a hoppy blonde (naturally); Southern Exposure, a light-bodied hoppy saison; the Double IPA Juice, full of monstrous grapefruit and orange flavors and a resin-forward character; and the extremely well-balanced J-Town Brown, a clean and subtly executed American brown ale that looks to be in the wheelhouse as a base for a few treatments like coffee.

Most of these beers look to be inspired by bold West Coast and Northeast styles.

"IPA is our thing, so probably 50 percent or more is going to be some variation of an IPA," says Karl Volstad. "Everything we do is hopped up."

For those planning a trip this weekend, and in perpetuity, the brewery will be doing eight-, 12-, and 16-ounce pours, depending on the beer style and customer preference. That way, there's a guarantee that you'll be able to sample numerous beers without relegating yourself to small sampling glasses.

Also, make sure to check out a few special taproom family heirlooms: Buddy Miller's eagle carved out of solid wood and Karl Volstad's great grandfather, Roy Volstad's, WW2 flag. They're reminders to everyone that this is a family-run small business establishment.

Civil Society Brewing Co. is located at 1200 Town Center Drive, Unit 101, in Jupiter. Follow it on Facebook to watch the final finishing touches.

Doug Fairall is a craft beer blogger who focuses on Florida beers. He is a Certified Beer Server 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.
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Doug Fairall
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