Dining — 03 November 2017
South Florida craft beer more than froth

By Rebecca Cahilly-Taranto

City & Shore Magazine

This is a story about two friends who like beer.

Craft beer.

They like the art of brewing so much they decide to open a microbrewery. It’s a carefully calculated decision, years in the making.

But there were microbreweries – seemingly everywhere – back in their home in the Pacific Northwest. So, after some careful study, they decided to venture into the relatively untapped market of South Florida.

Ty Eriks is a dentist. He likes to fish. He coaches his sons’ flag football team.

McKay Ferrell is an insurance software company VP, outdoor enthusiast and family man.

And, together, their timing could not have been more perfect.

The two are now co-founders of Gulf Stream Brewing Company, a microbrewery scheduled to open early next year on Northeast 13th Street in Fort Lauderdale – just as South Florida’s beer-crafting mug’s running over.

Five years ago, Eriks and Ferrell were about to open a brewery in Vancouver, Wash., when Eriks had what he calls a “day-job opportunity” to start a dental practice in Boynton Beach. “Right before we were going to lock down a building, I talked to McKay and asked him to check out the market here in South Florida and see if it suited our business profile better,” Eriks says. The partners saw the potential for a new market and relocated with their families.

Gulf Stream’s 10-barrel brewhouse will feature a tasting room where novices and aficionados alike can sip new varieties. The brewery’s core offerings will include a German hybrid ale, Kölsch; a citrus hefeweizen, a West Coast-style IPA, a red ale and a porter.

Gulf Stream is among dozens of craft breweries that have sprung up in Broward and Palm Beach counties in the past 12 months. Flanked by a handful of “senior”—as in, almost five years old—breweries, such as Funky Buddha, Due South and LauderAle, the ever-growing list of independents includes Nobo and Copperpoint in Boynton Beach, Flagler Village Brewery, Invasive Species Brewing and traditional German-style brewery Khoffner in Fort Lauderdale; Bangin’ Banjo, Holy Mackerel and 26 Degrees in Pompano Beach; Hollywood Brewing Company in Hollywood, Barrel of Monks in Boca Raton, Big Bear Brewing Company in Coral Springs, Twisted Trunk in Palm Beach and Accomplice Brewery & Ciderworks in West Palm. (The list continues on page X.)

“We’re in an exploding craft beer market,” Eriks says. “[South Florida] is easily five to 10 years behind the Pacific Northwest, but it’s catching up quickly. Peoples’ tastes are developing.”

Hops and Barley Galore

Popping up in equal measure to quench the area’s thirst for craft beer are restaurants and bars serving boundless varieties of hoppy goodness.

Andy Yeager, partner and chief operating officer of Tapco Restaurant Group, the organization behind Tap 42, now with four locations, says the restaurant is a microcosm of the current craft beer market. “Like the craft beer market,” he says, “Tap 42 focuses on being inclusive, having great trade relationships, and trying to push artisan brands and food offerings as opposed to the ‘bigger box’ mentality.”

At Quvo Tacos & Craft Beer, Matt and Alicia Smith serve authentic Mexican dishes made from scratch with recipes handed down from generation to generation. Matt displays his passion for great food and craft beer behind the bar, where the beer complements the food. “When discussing artisan restaurants, we think primarily of made-by-hand in smaller batches,” he says. “I believe most beer enthusiasts would have a similar opinion of craft beer. Whether we are discussing influencing or complementing, the craft beer scene is certainly a perfect match with artisan food crafting.”

All around South Florida, the story is similar – the craft beer community pairs well with artisan restaurants and there’s as much love as there is beer to go around. Khoffner Brewery has created an orange/basil pilsner called Louie’s Birra for Louie Bossi’s restaurants and will join Stephen D’Apuzzo of Society 8 Hospitality Group at his upcoming FAT Village project to offer the brewery’s line of beer in addition to a series of limited production brews.

Core Ingredient: Passion

Why has the craft beer market taken off now? A generation of college kids who got home brew kits as gifts 20 years ago may have something to do with it, but the general consensus is the time was just right. Like bland chain restaurants that have given way to farm-to-table, independent and whole-food concepts, craft beer is getting its day in the sun.

“There are people out there who brewed as a hobby and realized they could make money,” says Mike Marchetti, co-owner and general manager of Bar Red Beard in Fort Lauderdale. “There’s a lot of passion in the process. Down here, if the product is good it’s going to stay.”

“In the Pacific Northwest, you find a way to get into beer,” says Ferrell, who started bartending at 19 and became a brewer at 21, pausing only to obtain his business degree. “I loved the difference in quality between homogeneous beer and craft beer. I started identifying different flavors and textures from the raw ingredients. Small changes can make a big difference in brewing. You can take the same recipes and through one variable change the final product.”

Eriks started making beer in graduate school. “It became a passion; I made beer for all the parties in dental school,” he recalls. The two met and brewed a red ale for St. Patrick’s Day together. The rest is this story.

South Florida’s Craft Beer Culture

“Each area has a style it does well,” Marchetti says. “South Florida has found a style – we have fruit beers, sours, beers we can drink year-round. In the north, you’ll see more seasonal, darker beers. Here you can find session beers with lower alcohol percentages with great flavors – beers you can boat with.”

Bar Red Beard’s menu features made-from-scratch bar bites highlighted by over 50 craft beers on rotation. Among them will soon be the Red Beerde Ale, an exclusive brew by Gulf Stream.

“That’s the worst question ever,” Marchetti says when asked his preferred beer. “Lately I’ve been liking a light, crisp, medium-range, 6- to 7-percent IPA. Nothing crazy; a nice hop with a dry finish. What got me into craft beers was Left Hand Milk Stout. That kind of blew my mind. Then I got into the IPAs and when you get into IPAs you realize that each one is a different flavor profile, from citrus to pine, to grass.”

“I’m particularly fond of sour beers and imperial stouts,” says Matt Smith at Quvo. “Each style allows the brewer to really test their limits with creativity. Various yeasts, bacteria, barrels and fruits produce many interesting and enjoyable flavor profiles.”

It can all seem a bit intimidating to the novice beer drinker, but Marchetti, Eriks, Ferrell – and the ever-growing community of craft brewers and artisan restaurateurs – are focused on educating this growing market.

“We pride ourselves on not being beer snobs; we want to encourage the average person to get into beer,” Marchetti says. “A good beer is a good beer. If it tastes good, our customers are going to like it.”



8 craft Beer Hangouts

Bar Red Beard – Chill craft beer bar with friendly, knowledgeable staff

3301 NE 33rd St., Fort Lauderdale,754-223-4665


Damn Good Beer Bus – Sunday bus tours of four
Boynton Beach breweries

561-906-7212, Damngoodbeerbus.com

Growlers and Howlers  (coming soon) – Beer bar
and growler filling station

636 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale


Laser Wolf – One of the “senior” craft beer hangouts
in Fort Lauderdale

901 Progresso Drive, Fort Lauderdale, 954-667-9373


Park & Ocean – Craft beer, live music, casual vibe
with an ocean view

3109 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-563-2900


Portico Beer & Wine Garden – Waterfront with games
and craft beers and wines on tap

3460 S. Ocean Drive, Hollywood, 954-602-8761


Quvo Tacos & Craft Beer – Family owned and operated artisanal Mexican food with craft beer pairings

4354 N. Federal Highway, 954-368-3664


Revelry – Self-service neighborhood craft beer and wine bar

17 S. J St., Lake Worth, 561-469-1599


Riverside Market – Two boutique locations offering
a dizzying selection of craft beers
608 SW 12th Ave. and 3218 SE Sixth Ave., Fort Lauderdale 954-358-8333 / 954-524-8986


Rhythm & Vine – Indoor/outdoor beer garden

401 NE Fifth Terrace, Fort Lauderdale

954-533-3734, rhythm-vine.com

Tap 42 – Craft beers and small plates
1411 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale

954-463-4900 and 5050 Town Center Circle, Boca Raton

561-235-5819, tap42.com

Versare Wine at the River – Waterfront wine
and beer-tasting bar

906 NE 20th Ave., Fort Lauderdale




Craft Beer Breweries

26 Degree Brewing Company

2600 E. Atlantic Blvd.
Pompano Beach



Accomplice Brewery
& Ciderworks

1023 N. Florida Mango Road
West Palm Beach



Bangin’ Banjo Brewing Company

3200 NW 23rd Ave., #500, Pompano Beach



Barrel of Monks Brewing

1141 S. Rogers Circle, #5, Boca Raton



Big Bear
Brewing Company

1800 N. University Drive, Coral Springs



Biscayne Bay Brewing Company

8000 NW 25th St., #500, Doral



Broski Ciderworks

1465 SW Sixth Court, Pompano Beach



Civil Society Brewing Company

1200 Town Center Drive, #101, Jupiter



Concrete Beach Brewery

325 NW 24th St., Miami



Copperpoint Brewing Company

151 Commerce Road, Boynton Beach



Devour Brewing Co.

1500 SW 30th Ave., #4, Boynton Beach



Due South Brewing

2900 High Ridge Road, #3, Boynton Beach



Flagler Village Brewery

551 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale



Funky Buddha Brewery

1201 NE 38th St., Oakland Park



Gulf Stream Brewing Company
(opening early 2018)

1105 NE 13th St., Fort Lauderdale



Hollywood Brewing Company

290 N. Broadwalk, Hollywood



Holy Mackerel Small-Batch Beers

3260 NW 23rd Ave., Suite 400
Pompano Beach



Invasive Species Brewing

726 NE Second Ave., Fort Lauderdale


Khoffner Craft Ale & Lagers

1110 NE Eighth Ave.
Fort Lauderdale




3305 SE 14th Ave., Fort Lauderdale



M.I.A. Beer Company

10400 NW 33rd St., Doral



NOBO Brewing Company

2901 NW Commerce Park Drive
Boynton Beach



Prosperity Brewers (coming soon)

4160 NW First Ave., #21, Boca Raton



SaltWater Brewery

1701 W. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach



The Tank Brewing Co.

5100 NW 72nd Ave., Miami



Twisted Trunk Brewing
2000 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens



West Palm Beach Brewery & Wine Vault (coming soon)

332 Evernia St., West Palm Beach


Wynwood Brewing Company

565 NW 24th St., Miami




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