Gulf Stream Brewing Company has maintained a relatively small presence in South Florida since opening in Fort Lauderdale last year, but it won't seem that way at its first-anniversary celebration this Saturday, September 21.
The brewery will effectively put on a mini beer festival, presenting suds from at least 30 breweries, food trucks, games, limited-edition can and bottle releases, and a DJ.
In addition to hosting the guest breweries, Gulf Stream will offer dozens of its own beers on tap. The brews are the culmination of more than a year of work put in by the brewery's owners — Ty Eriks and McKay Ferrell — along with head brewer Michael Demetrus and his crew.
Demetrus joined Gulf Stream more than a year ago and traded a brewery with nationwide distribution for one with a smaller footprint. Gulf Stream maintains about 50 accounts in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties, Demetrus says, adding his brewery is trying to grow organically on a smaller scale by providing a diversity of beers but in limited quantities.
"Our focus here is our taproom," Demetrus says. "It's a smaller project and there's just a few of us. We really are just focused on providing a broad selection and trying to get people here."
Helping him and the team accomplish those goals are his 20-plus years of experience with brewing in large markets such as Chicago and Miami. These days, he tends to stay away from beer festivals and trends on social media. In fact, Demetrus says he has ignored social media almost completely in the past year and instead spends his precious few hours of free time with his family.
But at work, he's a machine. In the past year, Demetrus has helped developed hops and barrel-aging programs and brewed some wild ales, some of which will be served at Saturday's event.
The anniversary also marks the first time Gulf Stream will release cans, which will be sold only at the brewery. Releases also include bottles and some heavy-hitters with double-digit alcohol-by-volume (ABV) percentages, along with single-digit ABV beers.
Beers include the Atomic Wedgie triple IPA (11 percent ABV); Doomsday, a barrel-aged imperial stout brewed with Willet bourbon (13 percent ABV); and Transplant, a New Zealand pilsner (5 percent ABV). There will be five releases in total, including three new cans.
This Saturday, the guest breweries will be poured under a tent in the parking lot, while Gulf Stream's beers will be served in the taproom. Guest brews come from the tri-county area and include Prosperity Brewing, MIA Beer Company, Saltwater Brewery, NOBO Brewing, and Lincoln's Beard.
Hungry attendees can purchase food onsite from B Daddy's Smoke 'n' Grill, F. Fin Taco Truck, and Maggadino's Pizza, while the music offerings include sets by Juan Luv and DJ EQ.
General admission costs $45 in advance ($50 the day of the event) and includes unlimited sampling and a commemorative tasting glass. VIP tickets cost $75 and include an extra hour of unlimited sampling beginning at 3 p.m., a tasting snifter, and a bottle of Doomsday.
Gulf Stream Brewing First-Anniversary Party and Beer Fest. 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday, September 21, at 1105 NE 13th St., Fort Lauderdale; 954-766-4842; gulfstreambeer.com. Tickets cost $45 to $75 via eventbrite.com.