Nestled off the beaten path, where 595 cascades from a multilane highway into a two-lane mini spaghetti bowl, two friends are putting their sanity on the line with a business they are going into with their minds full of passion: brewing.
"We learned every which way that we could," Jones said of his newfound interest in homebrewing. "We first got the homebrew kit. It showed up 9 o'clock in the morning; we were so excited. We put the DVD in, we read the instructions, we started brewing."
It took the duo only 18 months from their first five-gallon batch in their kitchen to their current one-barrel electric brewhouse in their commercial brewery, learning along the way through experience ("We made a lot of mistakes, but you learn from them," Jones admitted) and with the help of the Fort Lauderdale Area Brewers, who are "just as crazy about [brewing] as we are."
Now, LauderAle rotates through almost a dozen different beers that are brewed on that one-barrel electric system and fed into a bevy of upright freezers with temperature controllers set individually for each beer style produced -- of which there are at least six to choose from on any given day.
Beers on tap include the Mr. White witbier, which shares clean lime flavors and a citrusy bitter ending; the Sizzler Saison, a beer with big herbal characteristics and some mild spice; the Detour Double IPA, bringing tropical fruit aromas to a grainy and sweetly orange flavor; and the Port Everglades Porter, an opaquely black porter full of brown sugar and acidity in the style of a solid robust English porter... definitely a standout.
On a generic November Saturday, the brewery had about a half dozen people in it, many seemingly from a working-class background. "We're off the beaten path," Jones explained. "We're hard to find, [though] the response has been phenomenal. Patrons are like 'Wow, we love it, we love that it's hard to find, off the grid, off the beaten path.'"
He cited business growth at almost 13 percent a month. Driving that growth are their Heisenberg hefeweizen and Immigration IPA.
"For the most part, people seem to like the beer. I always kind of question it, because not everyone is as forthcoming as you'd like them to be. Some people are afraid to tell you what they really think.
"We are planning an expansion as we speak. Once that's done," Jones continued, "and we have more capacity, we'll think of distributing.
"We've got a space; we utilize about a third of it. We're going to pack a ten barrel in here and keep doing it here."
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.
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