Daniel Naumko, owner of the new Sybarite Pig restaurant in Boca Raton, is a true beer geek. One of the defining philosophies at his business will be "special beers for special people." It's part of his mission to promote the art of good beer and the people behind it.
"I really got into craft beer seven years ago," Naumko said. "I went to Boston to visit a friend and he told me I could brew my own beer; I had never thought of it."
Naumko plunged headlong into the world of craft. He purchased progressively more serious home brewing equipment and even embarked on a cross-country tour to learn about beer from some of the country's finest craft brewers. As he became more and more entrenched in the community, he had the opportunity to meet many of the big craft players and pick their brains.
"There's a lot of support; that's what helped me to fall in love with this industry," Naumko said. "There's a sense of collaboration. People like to collaborate and help each other."
In the spirit of sharing, Clean Plate Charlie asked Naumko to name some of his favorite craft brewers and brews. Narrowing his choices was no easy feat, but after the jump, you can find some of his suggestions on what to drink this holiday season.
First, we asked Naumko to give us his top five Florida beers. They are as follows:
5. Brewzzi Belgian IPA: By Brewzzi in West Palm Beach and Boca Raton.
4. Barleywine by Funky Buddha: By Funky Buddha in Boca Raton and soon-to-be in Oakland Park.
3. Funky Buddha Hop Gun IPA: One of Funky Buddha's more popular brews.
2. Cigar City Humidor Series IPA: Naumko said of Cigar City Brewing in Tampa, "I would walk there right now if you asked me to."
1. Cigar City Apple Warmer Winter Winter Warmer - Apple Brandy Barrel Aged: A special seasonal release from the popular brewery.
Got a beer geek on your holiday gift-giving list? Naumko has a few suggested breweries that would top his own wish list. His top five breweries (with notes about the breweries from Clean Plate Charlie) are as follows:
5. BrewDog: Getting your hands on a brew from this punk rock UK-based brewer is no easy task, but BrewDog has made huge waves in the industry, with its Hardcore IPA snagging Gold Medal at the 2010 World Beer Cup.
4. Jolly Pumpkin: Based in
Traverse City Dexter, Michigan, Jolly Pumpkin and its farmhouse ales have been rising through the craft beer ranks. Available in intermittent supply at some South Florida Total Wine stores. Translation: If you happen to come across a bottle of theirs in your local store, snatch it up, cause you may not get that lucky again.
3. Russian River Brewing Company: This California brewer is available in Philly, and sadly, that's about the closest to South Florida you're going to get. That said, if you're heading west for the holidays, put this on your list to pick up for your Cali hosts.
2. New Glarus Brewing Co.: Heading to the Midwest this month? Keep an eye out for this Wisconsin-born brewing company's offerings.
1. Cantillion Brewery: Another hard-to-find treasure, this Belgium brewer is available in very limited supply in the U.S. Which means, if you do happen to come across it, grab some for yourself and that special beer lover in your life.
Got any holiday brew suggestions or a favorite Florida beer you'd like to shout out? Share your suggestions in the comments.
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