Monday, May 20, 2024

Web Xtra: Beer Here

Beer is the new black.

Not just any beer, mind you. Certainly not the stuff cranked out by the tanker by super-mega-brewers—pale, tasteless, watery liquids with all the authentic character of a politician running for re-election. No, this beer is the result of passion, dedication and a commitment to producing the finest and most distinctive suds possible. It’s beer made with the same level of skill and attention to detail as fine wine—which explains why chefs, restaurateurs and beer geeks alike are talking about craft brews the same way a sommelier raves about a vintage offering.

It’s no exaggeration to suggest that the epicenter of the craft-beer movement in South Florida is right here in our own backyard. Why? No one has a definitive answer. Maybe there’s more affordable industrial space where idea-rich but capital-poor brewers can get their business off the ground. Maybe there’s a closer community of brewers, chefs, restaurateurs and diners. Or perhaps it’s simple synergy: One craft brewery begets another.

Whatever. Fact is, if you’re thirsty for great beer, from a simple, quaffable “session ale” to Belgian-style suds embracing a complex blend of spices and fruits, there’s no better place to be than where you are. And this quintet of very different but quality-focused craft breweries in and around Boca is the reason.

SALTWATER BREWERY

1701 W. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach, 561/865-5373

Boating, fishing, surfing … and beer. They all say “South Florida” as clearly as white-sand beaches, ocean views and 75-degree temperatures in the dead of winter. They’re also what brought together a quartet of water sports-loving South Floridians to realize their passion for fine suds.

Two years ago Chris Gove, Bo Eaton, Peter Agardy and Dustin Jeffers opened Saltwater Brewery in an 8,000-square-foot, 1952-vintage former furniture store on West Atlantic Avenue just off I-95. To get their beers off on the right foot, they brought in veteran brew-master Bill Taylor, who worked with head brewer Jeffers to create an extensive roster of beers designed to appeal to palates of every size and shape.

The idea, Jeffers says, is to produce “a little bit of everything,” from lighter style beers best suited to “drink on the beach or drink on the boat” to more robust, higher alcohol brews for those with a thirst for something stronger, like the subtly spiced (and aptly named) “Don’t Get Confused” Belgian Tripel ale, which clocks in at a hearty 11 percent alcohol. It must be working, because in addition to a growing distribution system that stretches from the Treasure Coast to Key West, Jeffers expects a dramatic boost in production when a recently installed canning line is fully up and running.

“We have,” he says, “plenty of room to grow.”

To read the full story, pick up the September/October issue of Boca Raton magazine.

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