Tarpon River BrewingEXPAND
Tarpon River Brewing
Courtesy of Tarpon River Brewing

A Beer Lover's Guide: Inside Greater Fort Lauderdale's Ale Trail

Everything tastes better with beer. And you'll find unlimited flavor options on Fort Lauderdale's Ale Trail, created by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. Their map is dotted with 32 craft brew pubs and 15 nano- and microbreweries, a remarkable showcase of local brewers which are continuously hopping-up their game to offer the most innovative and intriguing creations.

The hunt for that perfect craft beer is a big part of the trail's appeal, but with 500 options to choose from, we're making your chase a little easier with a roundup of some of the best spots to hail the ale. Explore everything from barrel-aged ales to crisp, clean lagers, and mixed-fermentation sour beers. Break out of your comfort zone and you might just find a new favorite!

For more information and access to the complete Ale Trail map, visit sunny.org.

A Beer Lover's Guide: Inside Greater Fort Lauderdale's Ale TrailEXPAND
Courtesy of Tarpon River Brewing

1. Tarpon River Brewing. There's plenty of room for brewing and drinking at this 11,000-square-foot warehouse in Downtown Fort Lauderdale, where Julian and Lisa Seigel from the Riverside Market and head brewer Adam Fine have kept 16 taps flowing for the last eight months. Some gems to keep an eye out for are the Honey Love, an imperial cream ale with a light sweet finish and aromas of orange blossom honey; and the Prickly Pear Margarita Sour, a balance of sweet and juicy Prickly Pear, agave syrup and the classic Berliner Weisse-Zinger, which has a nice lemony and tart bite. The Morning Express Coffee is a roasty, sweet oatmeal stout blended with two different types of coffee for a mouthful of dark and rich flavors with a kick. Tarpon river also cranks out a new beer every Treatment Tuesday, with fruits, spices, and new interesting ingredients added weekly. 280 SW Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale, 954-353-3193, tarponriverbrewing.com.

A Beer Lover's Guide: Inside Greater Fort Lauderdale's Ale TrailEXPAND
Courtesy of Gulf Stream Brewing

2. Gulf Stream Beer. Ales and Lagers are the focus at this brewhouse, which features an open-air taproom where patrons can drink directly next to the brewing action. Pacific Northwest transplants McKay Ferrell and Ty Eriks showcase 30 years of industry experience and a sustainable mindset: Gulf Stream uses a system that reclaims wastewater from the brewing process and donates spent grain to local farmers for feed. There are eight beers on tap, including the Departed, a complex India Red Ale with a rounded malt base, notes of caramel, biscuit, and gratuitous hop additions for spiciness and citrus zest aromas. Hop heads will delight in the Prism Break, a clean India Pale Lager with the flavors and aroma of pine, spice, and grapefruit. There's also the Hefe That, a true Bavarian-style Hefeweizen with slight notes of banana and citrus. The brewery adds at least one new beer to its roster per week and hosts rotating food trucks Wednesday through Sunday.1105 NE 13th St., Fort Lauderdale, 954-766-4842; gulfstreambeer.com.

Invasive Species Brewing
Invasive Species Brewing
Photo by Nicole Danna

3. Invasive Species Brewing. Thinking outside the box is the motto at this popular, laid-back Flagler Village brewery, which features 20 rotating drafts, great music, beer to go, and food trucks on weekends. Its fun, dog-friendly interior with hunting lodge decor is a great place to hang with friends, or you can choose to wander out to the spacious outside beer garden to savor flights of their great selections of sours like the Patsy Cline, with fresh Florida peaches and blueberries; or the Sour Pants, made with guava and passion fruit. Upcoming Fall offerings include a native sour with Florida Muscadine grapes and another with Saison aged on oak and rosemary. 726 NE Second Ave., Fort Lauderdale; invasivespeciesbrewing.com.

A Beer Lover's Guide: Inside Greater Fort Lauderdale's Ale TrailEXPAND
Courtesy of Khoffner Brewery

4. Khoffner Brewery. At his namesake Fort Lauderdale microbrewery, Rauf Vagifoglu-Khoffner offers a flagship lineup that stays true to his German tradition of producing balanced, smooth beer. You can sit at the long bar and order a complete flight from the 14-beer list for a very reasonable price or opt for selections like the Riot Blood, a medium-bodied, reddish-hued Irish red ale with a dash of roasted barley and notes of malty-sweet caramel and toffee. The full-bodied French Biscuit is a seasonal beer brewed with fresh pumpkin and spices such as cinnamon and clove. Other favorites are the Kombucha, a Reserve Raspberry chocolate stout and the Kremlin Wolf, a smooth Russian imperial stout that is dark and deep brown in color. On Sundays, the brewery hosts a Grill Chill, a potluck lunch to which all are welcome. 1110 NE Eighth Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 754-701-8860; khoffner.us.

A Beer Lover's Guide: Inside Greater Fort Lauderdale's Ale TrailEXPAND
Courtesy of Holy Mackerel Beers

5. Holy Mackerel Beers. Longtime homebrewer Bobby Gordash makes a trip to his Pompano Beach nanobrewery well worth it. A selection of 23 beers awaits on tap behind the bar, with choices ranging from IPAs to sours to strong Belgians and Scottish ales featuring seaweed, as well as wormwood imperial stouts. "We explore many crazy ingredients if they make sense and taste good," says Gordash. At his tasting room, he dispenses a mix of national and Florida-made craft beer and a complete core lineup of the house breeds, including the Holy Mackerel Buttcheeks!, a special golden Belgian strong ale with fresh cucumber, watermelon, and jalepeño. The brewery's Weed Reaper Experiment is a thrilling game of hops with an emphasis on herbs, spices, and weeds. Try the Bobby's Favorite, a refreshing guava, sour tart ale with an orange hue, or the Molè Nitro Sout, punched with notes of chocolate, banana, coconut, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper with a creamy nitro head. 3260 NW 23rd Ave. Suite 400, Pompano Beach; 954-261-0668; holymackerelbeers.com.

A Beer Lover's Guide: Inside Greater Fort Lauderdale's Ale Trail
Courtesy of Odd Breed

6. Odd Breed. You won't regret a visit to Florida's first brewery dedicated to wild ales. An intimate space located in the city's industrial-like Old Town Pompano area, Odd Breed's unique list includes the Fresh Off the Farm with Peaches, a golden wild ale sour beer made with peaches handpicked by owners Daniel Naumko and Matt Manthe. Local flavors shine through in the Mango Thai Rack, which is made with jasmine rice from Thailand, fresh lemongrass, and at the end of barrel aging, re-fermented with three types of organic mango. Make sure you try the El Cuate, a strong golden wild ale aged in a tequila barrel, and add organic blue agave. 501 NE First St., Pompano Beach; 754-220-6099; oddbreed.com.

F'N Pumpkin Spice AleEXPAND
F'N Pumpkin Spice Ale
Courtesy of 26 Degree Brewing Company

7. 26 Degree Brewing Company. A new rising star in GFL's craft beer scene, this microbrewery features a 4,600-square-foot taproom with live entertainment, board games and a constantly rotating lineup of bold, well-rounded craft brews. The unique roster of pours includes the flagship Ziko’s Rage, a strong a complex Russian-style imperial stout boasting a roasted sweetness and chocolate flavor. Sip on Jared’s Batch and you will be rewarded with an amber ale with sweet caramel malts balanced with a savory finish. New releases include the Pompano Pale ale and the F-N Pumpkin Spice Ale. 2600 E. Atlantic Blvd., Pompano Beach; 954-532-6964; 26brewing.com.

A Beer Lover's Guide: Inside Greater Fort Lauderdale's Ale TrailEXPAND
Courtesy of Hollywood Brewing Co.

8. Hollywood Brewing Co. This beachfront brewpub focuses on bold flavors created through a mix of traditional brewing methods and contemporary use of hop and local flavor additions. Its selections are crafted in small batches. Try the Hollywood Fresh Hop Pilsner, an easy drinking dry hopped pilsner with bright lemon zesty aromas complemented by a grainy cracker malt profile. The medium-bodied Hollywood Bushka Stout is a unique blend of caramelized malts with a deep dark appearance and aromas of cocoa and dried fruit balanced with hop varieties to keep sweetness to a minimum. And don't miss the Locals Only Lager, a crisp and light brew with cracker and yeasty notes. If you have the time, arrange for a tour of the production facility. 290 N. Broadwalk, Hollywood; 305-414-4757; hollywood.beer.

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