If you have a craving for fine artisan suds or just love getting into a really cool place before it gets overrun, then you’ll want to make serious tracks to the new Due South Brewing Co. (2900 High Ridge Rd., 561/463-2337) in Boynton Beach.
Owner and brewmaster Mike Halker got his start on the local home-brew circuit, winning enough competitions (and impressing enough brew fanciers) to turn pro. He and wife Jodi opened Due South in a sprawling warehouse space just off I-95 about a month ago, and though it’s not the easiest place in the world to find, it’s well-worth tuning up your GPS to get there. (Hint: turn into the parking lot behind the Sherwin-Williams paint store, go past the forest of giant marble slabs, park and look for the tiny sign on the door.)
Once inside, you’ll see that “bare bones” is something of a misnomer. “No bones” is more like it. A few stainless steel fermenting tanks and miscellaneous brewing equipment are off in one corner of the mostly empty space, opposite a small bar and handful of tables. A couple of flat-screen TVs are on the wall, and a couple of fans blow the hot air around. (They’re working on an enclosed room that will actually have air-conditioning.) Honestly, though, the DIY nature of the place is part of its charm.
Now, What about the beer? I hear you ask.
Quite simply, Halker kills it. Right now he’s producing five beers, all of which I tasted, all of which are good, some of which are awesome. My hands-down fave was the fruity, spicy Southern Saison, a lighter-bodied, thoroughly refreshing Belgian-style ale flavored with “Caribbean spices” (I’m pretty sure I got some coriander in there) that would be a great complement to chili-fired dishes, from fish tacos to Thai curries.
My No. 2 fave was the Roasted Cocoa Stout, which despite its black ink at midnight color was surprisingly light on the palate, though it does deliver a pronounced toasty cocoa punch. If you want tons of flavor without tons of heft, this is your beer.
I also sampled Halker’s Honey Vanilla Wheat, whose subtle honey and vanilla tones made the usually bland wheat beer stand out in a crowd. Caramel Cream Ale delivers not only a sweet-smoky hit of caramel but faint pinch of vanilla, a nice touch and from real vanilla beans. The Cat 3 IPA is billed as “Florida style,” which means a little tropically fruity and at 6.1 percent alcohol, almost strong enough to make you get your shutters out.