If you love to drink beer and also love to learn about it, there's some good news. An establishment in West Palm Beach offers a special class where you can do both.
In 2013, the Blind Monk's general manager, Jason Hunt, founded the Monk Beer Academy. Classes take place the second Monday of each month and offer patrons educational sessions about a variety of suds styles, accompanied by seven to nine beers served in two-ounce pours.
A certified cicerone, Hunt says he has always been passionate about spreading the gospel of beer to others. It's also evident in the wine bar's rotating craft-beer selection, which includes meads and ciders as well as a variety of hoppy, sweet, and strong beers.
"It's just something I've always loved to do," says Hunt. "Beyond the tasting, sharing that knowledge with others is a real reward, and Beer Academy is a way to do that in a casual, relaxed environment."
The class begins with a technical overview, including how to properly taste beer, its ingredients, and the basics of brewing. Then it's all down the hatch from there. Hunt gives students an in-depth description on the styles of the evening — topics have ranged from Belgian sours and farmhouse ales to American craft ales and stouts.
Whether you’re a beer drinker, in the hospitality industry, or a homebrewer looking to go pro, the Blind Monk's ongoing education classes might be a good place to start, says Hunt. The next Monk Beer Academy will take place on Monday, December 14, and will focus on American craft beers with a history on styles and brewers.
"You might think you know a lot about beer already, and then you come here and realize there's still so much left to learn," says Hunt.
The Blind Monk hosts Beer Academy the second Monday of every month, with seatings at 7 and 8:30 p.m. The cost is $28 per person. Reservations are recommended. The Blind Monk is located at 410 Evernia St., Suite 107, West Palm Beach. Call 561-833-3605, or visit theblindmonk.com.
Hunt also share his three favorite spots for craft beer in South Florida (other than the Blind Monk, of course).
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1. The Coffee District
325 NE Second Ave., Suite 104, Delray Beach. Call 561-276-8995.
"This place is my all-time favorite for trying something new. The taps are always changing, and it has long been one of the best beer bars in the area, with one of the best selection of beers you're going to find anywhere down here."
2. Copperpoint Brewing Co.
151 Commerce Rd., Boynton Beach. Call 561-508-7676, or visit copperpointbrewingcompany.com.
"They have such amazing beer, like the Copperpoint Amber lager, which is one of my all-time old-school favorite beer styles. It's just such a good version of it. I'm so happy to have a fresh, locally-made version of it."
3. Twisted Trunk
2000 PGA Blvd., North Palm Beach. Call 561-671-2337, or visit twistedtrunkbrewing.com.
"I love Twisted Trunk and Tequesta Brewing Co. because they also really specialize in classic styles, with spot-on versions of many different beers. I really enjoy their pilsner and the IPA is exactly what it should be: crisp and clean and really tasty."
Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.