The Best Beer From Each South Florida Brewery | New Times Broward-Palm Beach

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The Best Beer From Each Brewery in Broward and Palm Beach

Six years ago, you would have been hard-pressed to find a locally brewed beer on tap anywhere in the tri-county area. In 2010, there wasn't a single production brewery in Broward or Palm Beach County — and there was only a handful of brewpubs crafting their own suds. Then, it happened: the birth of craft beer in South Florida.

Today, there are over a dozen independent brew houses where South Floridians are crafting some truly incredible beers. While some breweries like to keep it traditional and true to style, others are experimenting with crazy flavors and brewing methods, creating new categories you'll only find in the Sunshine State (think Florida weisse).

To help you navigate the robust scene (or just give you a little more background), we visited every brewery in Broward and Palm Beach to find out what each considers to be their personal best beer. These are their flagship, core, or — if it's a production brewery — most popular beers chosen for distribution.

Some you can find in bottles or cans at your local grocery or liquor store. Others are mainstays on draft at each respective taproom and possibly some of your favorite area bars and restaurants. No matter which way you pour it, however, they've each helped make South Florida a better place for finding great craft beer.

Many will be poured at New Times' 19th-Annual "Original" Beerfest Saturday, October 22, at C.B. Smith Park. (In honor of National Drink Beer Day, save up to $86 on Four Pour 4-Pack connoisseur tickets today.)

Break out your pint glass, people: It's time to knock back some of South Florida's best brews. From Tequesta to Hollywood, here is each brewer's favorite beer from each brewery (in no particular order):

17. Tequesta Brewing Co.
287 U.S. 1, Tequesta; 561-745-5000;
Best known for: being South Florida's first dedicated microbrewery
Try the: Der Chancellor German Kolsch

Matt Webster and Fran Andrewlevich opened Palm Beach County's first fully dedicated brewery together in early 2011. Their mission: prove South Florida could make some pretty good brews right here at home. Originally from Colorado, Webster began homebrewing some of his favorite recipes before they were ever on tap. These include the Der Chancellor, the beer that officially kicked off Webster's brewing career after it won a silver medal during the 1995 National Homebrew Competition. Today, the German-style kolsch — brewed with whole Noble hops and offering a grainy cracker finish with light spicy notes — is one of three beers you'll always find on tap at Tequesta Brewing Co. in Jupiter; Webster officially began brewing and serving it at the Corner Cafe next door in 2008, making it one of South Florida's oldest beers on tap today. The brewery is also known for its Gnarly Barley, a twist on the classic American Pale Ale and Terminally Ale American Brown Ale, that offers a ton of coffee and chocolate notes. They're also an organically certified brewer there offering more than 40 specialty and seasonal brews available throughout the year.

16. Twisted Trunk Brewing
2000 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens; 561-671-2337;
Best known for: well-balanced beers served in a spacious air-conditioned taproom made from 100-year-old elm
Try the: Palm Beach Pilz

When Tequesta's Fran Andrewlevich and Matt Webster found they needed more room to brew a few years ago, they headed south to open Twisted Trunk Brewing, a massive 25-barrel brew house, in Palm Beach Gardens, where they could make everything they weren't able to offer guests at their first brewery. Today, this includes five core brews each developed to be as well balanced and easily drunk as possible. Flagships are the IPGA Eldorado-hopped American IPA, the Watermelon Saison, the Loxahatchee Lager, and the Rasta English stout. Andrewlevich's favorite, however, is his Palm Beach Pilz, a traditional German pilsner brewed using whole hops in the traditional German style. Interested in partaking in some South Florida brewing lore? If you see it on tap, try the Finn McCool, an Irish red ale and an award-winning brew beloved by locals. Andrewlevich first served it at Irish Times brewpub in Palm Beach Gardens in the 1990s.

15. Civil Society Brewing Company 
1200 Town Center Dr., Jupiter; 561-855-6680;
Best known for: hoppy brews and bold IPAs
Try the: Fresh IPA

Civil Society owners Karl Volstad, Evan Miller, and former Florida Marlins pitcher Chris Volstad opened their brewery in November 2015. Since then, it has become well known for specializing in hop-forward brews. If you're a hop head, these IPAs are for you. The most popular brew here is also the brewery's flagship dubbed Fresh, a 6.2 percent American IPA made with a combination of Columbus, Amarillo, and Citra hops. Because the trio like to do a lot of experimentation in the taproom, Fresh is the one they've tinkered with the most to get "just right." Find it on draft at the brewery or on tap at your local bar or restaurant from West Palm Beach to Miami, and you'll see it pours a beautiful, hazy yellow, emanating grassy aromas with a smooth, juicy, hop-saturated nose. Civil Society is also known for its Blondes Make Me Hoppy American Blonde Ale, which the trio have brewed and tapped in-house using a variety of hops from Mosaic and Vic Secret to Equinox and Galaxy. Head over to their Abacoa taproom any day of the week, and you can always find something new, especially thanks to their regular Subject Series brews, currently a total of eight different hoppy beers — a new one released every few months or so —  that they concoct in order to find new crowd pleasers worth adding to the core lineup.

14. Saltwater Brewery
1701 W. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach; 561-865-5373;
Best known for: approachable, fun beers and marine conservation efforts
Try the: LocAle American Blonde Ale

"Explore the depth of beer": That's the slogan at this Delray Beach brewery founded by Dustin Jeffers, Bo Eaton, Chris Gove, and Peter Agardy in 2013. A team of Floridians, the group is not only dedicated to brewing fun, approachable beers, but it's their mission to advocate marine conservation by supporting local agencies like the Coastal Conservation Association of Florida, the Surfrider Foundation, and the Ocean Foundation’s SeaGrass Grow program. Earlier this year, Saltwater made both local and national news when it became the first brewery to use innovative "edible" six-pack rings they designed. Their way of promoting the use of sustainable beer packaging, the six-pack rings are 100 percent biodegradable, constructed from barley and wheat ribbons left over from the brewing process. That's also why each of their flagship brews has a sea-inspired name, from the core beers like the Screamin' Reels American IPA to the Sea Cow Milk Stout. Starting next week, you can also find Saltwater's LocAle, an easy-drinking American blonde ale and the latest to join their other core beers in Florida distribution, in a can.

13. Due South Brewing Co.
2900 High Ridge Rd., Boynton Beach; 561-463-2337;
Best known for: Boynton Beach's first brewery offering a large number of rotating and seasonal beers
Try the: Caramel Cream Ale

Not many people know how Due South Brewing Co. got its start: Founder and brewer Mike Halker wanted to make a sulfite-free wine for his wife, Jodi, but ended up brewing her a beer instead. It was so tasty, friends and family urged the greenhorn home brewer to make more, and voila! Due South Brewing Co. was born. The full-scale brewing facility opened in 2012 in Boynton Beach, Palm Beach County's first production brewery. Four years later, Due South offers a number of popular specialty and seasonal brews, from its wintertime Sweater Weather ginger spice ale and springtime Hopicana orange and rye IPA, to the summertime Grapefruit Radler and new Weekend Weissein a can. There's also a number of specialty releases, like the Mariana Trench Imperial stout. Cores like the Category 3 and 5 IPA, the Craft American Lager, the Legendary Milk Stout, and the Cafe Ole Espresso porter are always on tap at the brewery (or available in cans at your favorite Florida retail outlet). But of all Due South's flagship brews, it's Jodi's Caramel Cream Ale that remains an all-time favorite. An approachable and easy-drinking beer, Halker has tweaked the recipe over the years. Brewed with fresh vanilla bean and an extra dose of specialty malts, the result is a smooth, full-bodied, creamy amber ale that tastes just like — you guessed it — cream soda.

12. Devour Brewing Company
1500 SW 30th Ave., Boynton Beach; 561-806-6011;
Best known for: an ever-rotating selection of small-batch specialty beers brewed using creative, high-quality ingredients
Try the: Fruity Loops Blonde Ale
In 2015, South Florida native Chip Breighner founded Devour Brewing Co. in Boynton Beach. Originally working off a three-barrel system, it became the city's first nanobrewery with a number of small-batch brews that rotate frequently. Today, using a slightly larger system, Breighner is producing an ever-growing lineup of specialty brews crafted using locally-sourced specialty ingredients. While selections change constantly in the taproom, you can be sure to see favorites like his Hefe on Vacation, a Hefeweizen flavored with a tropical tea, making it the perfect South Florida sipper. His Mosaic To My Ears IPA is brewed and dry-hopped with Mosaic hops, making it a popular pick for the hop lovers. Some of the brewer's best beers are also on tap at local Palm Beach County bars and restaurants thanks to a new distribution agreement that began earlier this summer. That includes Breighner's most popular beer to date, his Fruity Loops Blonde Ale, brewed using a whole fresh tea blend he sources from a local company. The tea — rife with dried fruits like mango, currants, blackberry, and papaya, to name a few — is so full of flavor a customer likened it to Fruit Loops cereal. The name stuck (and so did the beer), what is a refreshing, full-bodied, easy-drinking ale that rings in at 5% ABV (17.5 IBU) and offers a slightly-sweet finish.

11. Copperpoint Brewing Company
151 Commerce Rd., Boynton Beach; 561-508-7676;
Best known for: beers that are brewed true to style
Try the: Copperpoint Lager

Founder and brewer Matt Cox opened Copperpoint Brewing Company in May 2015 after leaving his longtime position as the head brewer for Big Bear Brewing Co. in Coral Springs. Boynton Beach's third brewery to date, today it's best-known for its impressive 2,000-square-foot air-conditioned taproom created by Boynton Beach's Ed Carey Design. It's also hailed for its consistent, true-to-style brews. Core favorites include the B. Rabbit Espresso Stout, brewed with locally sourced coffee from Rabbit Coffee in Riviera Beach; the viscous Blood Orange Whit; the zippy Grapefruit Saison; the smooth A10 Hop Hog IPA; and the crisp Das Pils pilsner. The most popular, however, is the Copperpoint Lager, a traditional German-style lager that pours a deep amber. Both sessionable and smooth, it's one of the most authentic lagers you'll find in South Florida. If you're feeling more adventurous, you can also find a totally new beer in the taproom each Wednesday, meaning you're guaranteed to find something fresh and fun. Regular seasonal and specialty releases also include the Coxness Monster Imperial Stout, a heavy-hitting intense yet well-balanced brew the color of motor oil that goes down like liquid velvet.
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Nicole Danna is a Palm Beach County-based reporter who began covering the South Florida food scene for New Times in 2011. She also loves drinking beer and writing about the area's growing craft beer community.
Contact: Nicole Danna

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