If there is one season that South Florida is known for, it’s summer – endless, sweltering, nap inducing, sweaty summer. It's kind of like the summers in Westeros except that winter is not coming. But that's OK. Being in the tropical wet climate, we’ve got plenty of opportunities for research into what beers go well in the warm, hot, and sweltering heat ranges that make up the typical Florida seasons – and plenty of local breweries in the rapidly growing South Florida beer scene to make beer to fit.
It’s with this knowledge that we bring to you this list of the best locally produced craft beers from people living right here in our backyard to get you through the heat.
7. Floridian Hefeweizen, Funky Buddha Brewery
1201 NE 38th St., Oakland Park. 954-440-0046, funkybuddhabrewery.com.
This is a hefeweizen to rival those from Bavaria and surrounding regions. Funky Buddha Brewery’s Floridian is a German-styled hefe, steeped in the tradition of yeast-driven banana flavors and clove like herbal accompaniment. Strong scents of lemon join in on the fun, giving it an almost dry citrus banana bread taste - minus all that sugar. It finishes with a lingering and complementing acidity, remaining approachable yet complicated enough in flavor. Thankfully for us it’s available year-round, but this summer might see a large spike in demand, as the weather is right.
6. B. Rabbit Espresso Stout, Copperpoint Brewing Company
151 Commerce Rd., Boynton Beach. 561-508-7676, copperpointbrewingcompany.com.
A stout as a summer beer? Yes, even in Florida a well made stout can offer some refreshment, especially when that stout comes with a creamy mouthfeel and iced coffee like cooling power. For 6.3% abv, the B. Rabbit Espresso Stout from Copperpoint Brewing Company in Boynton Beach throws down on your average imported coffee stout. The beer pours what appears to be a solid black with a cascading Guinness-like quality to it, thanks to the use of nitrogen, providing both a drink and a show. Aromas are redolent of nougat, cream-infused coffee, and chopped English chocolate. The mouthfeel, unsurprisingly for a beer off nitro, is quite creamy, with a milky and silky English chocolate character to it. On the back end, there is some lingering fresh creamy coffee flavors, with no strong bitterness or astringency to be had.
5. Blackberry Berlinerweisse, Tequesta Brewing Co.
287 U.S. 1, Tequesta. 561-745-5000, tequestabrewing.com.
The Berlinerweisse has been steadily gaining popularity in the last few years. Reminiscent of a slightly tart lemonade or tropical cocktail, the Blackberry Berlinerweisse from Tequesta Brewing Company brings summer to your glass. Wisps of very slight white foam, like afternoon clouds, cap off the reddish orange sunset color of this beverage. At 3.3% abv, it will bring a lot of flavor without too much alcohol overhead: fruity up front with a fresh blackberry fruit character that’s followed by a grain-forward acidity that brings a mouth puckering deliciousness to each sip.
4. Tropic of Passion, Concrete Beach Brewery
325 NW 24th St., Miami. 305-796-2727, concretebeachbrewery.com.
Concrete Beach might have just opened its Wynwood tap room (yes, Miami, I know, but trust me on this one), a few weeks ago, but they are already out in full force experimenting with some incredible tropical flavor combinations. Tropic of Passion, their passionfruit wheat ale, is among the most eye-catching and tongue-grabbing of the half dozen beers they are currently producing. Big fresh and pulpy passionfruit dominate this beer, giving away hints of a tart underbelly that, only at times, belies its beer foundation. At the very end of each sip, a drying wheat-forward character makes its way to the forefront. It’s a juicy, fruity, 4.9% abv crushable beer. It needs to be everywhere.
3. House Hefe, The Mack House
9118 W State Rd. 84, Davie. 954-474-5040, themackhouse.com.
Thats’ not a typo, Mack House’s House Hefe is the real deal: an American style hefeweizen that ends up being so incredibly drinkable you will find yourself ordering pint after pint. The beer pours with turbidity, pushing up a stark white cap of foam that slowly settles into similarly stark white lacing. It's a bright and hazy yellow, almost impossible to see through as the wheat proteins and suspended yeast cloud the beverage. There is a slight hint of banana on the nose, but nothing too strong or overpowering. It drinks with a spritzy lemony front, that reminds of a well-made shandy, and then transitions into a middle of graininess and a finish that serves up that needed mildly tart and citrus-like yeast-made flavor profile. Nicely effervescent with a full mouthfeel.
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2. Honey Vanilla Wheat, Due South Brewing Co.
2900 High Ridge Rd. #3, Boynton Beach. 561-463-2337, duesouthbrewing.com.
Due South does a lot of amazing beers, which makes it’s hard to decide on a beer that’s worthy of a spotlight. For this summer beer list, it might be a bit cliche, but there is something spectacular about the confluence of flavors in the Honey Vanilla Wheat, a light bodied American wheat ale. Freshly cut Madagascar vanilla beans and local Palmetto Honey mix to form the foundation for this golden beverage, bringing a floral and pollen centered aroma and honey wheat bread malt character to the flavor, giving those that want a little bit of a lift over the lager or pilsner style an option to do so. The fact that this beer is now in cans is a boon to the poolside-industrial complex, as there is now no real excuse to not have some available at all times this summer.
1. White Wizard, Barrel Of Monks Brewing
1141 S Rogers Circle #5, Boca Raton. 561-510-1253, barrelofmonks.com.
For all those Blue Moon fans, creeping into the craft beer camp gets easier and easier every day, especially when there are well made locally produced witbiers. Barrel of Monks in Boca Raton is brewing an outstanding version of that style in White Wizard, an easily sessionable 5.5% abv beer made with coriander and Florida orange peel. A pale, cloudy wheat beer, it shows off a billowing cloud-like cap of foam and herbal and spiced aromas. Crisp grain and a slightly pithy bitterness from the orange peel and mild use of hops brings this beer to the palate as a package with a nice bow. Inherently refreshing, and makes a good excuse to find somewhere get out of the heat and enjoy.
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.