Native Brewing Co., based out of Ft. Lauderdale, is a small, but important, part of the South Florida craft beer scene. Started by owner (and, according to his business card, “Director of Hoperations”) Adam Fine in 1999, their lineup provides Florida with a flavorful, but not overly heavy, lineup of craft beers that complement and celebrate the Florida lifestyle.
This review is going to be a bit of a hodge-podge, since I had tried their flagship before, and got the rest of their standard lineup at the Palm Beach Summer Beer fest. Native Brewing also doesn’t have a tap room, so their website is the best place to go to see where their products are sold/on tap. As for now, let’s start with Native Lager.
It’s not particularly hard to find Native Lager in South Florida, especially in Ft. Lauderdale. And for good reason; It’s an easy drinking, clean-tasting, smooth lager with little aftertaste and sessionability. This is a classic beer with a classic flavor, and all of the best parts on what a lager should be.
I tried the other three beers in the Native Brewing portfolio at Palm Beach Summer Beer Fest. But first, the Native Brewing team is immensely personable and wonderful to talk to, even when Better Than Ezra is blasting in our ears. So thank you to them.
Glades Pale Ale just released a few months ago. As the name suggests it’s a Pale Ale, a bit hoppier and spicier than their Native Lager. Naturally, it doesn’t go all the way to being an IPA, but it doesn’t need to. It’s flavorful and easy drinking just the way it is.
Thunderhead Red Ale is malt-forward, but not too much so. It has the smoothness of the Native Lager, a bit of that hop bitterness, and a gorgeous amber color. It’s a shame that Thunderhead isn’t bottled. You’ll need to head to Native Brewing’s website to find where it’s on tap.
The Eleven, however, was easily my favorite from Native Brewing. I’m a sucker for brown ales, anyway. Brewed for Native Brewing by The Shipyard in Maine, The Eleven is a malty sweet brown ale, with big notes of caramel and a hint of hoppiness that exists, but not overly pronounced. This was one of my absolute favorites from the Beer Fest.
ABC and Total Wine stores in South Florida should have a good selection of everything except Thunderhead Red (which is only on draft as far as I can tell). They are definitely worth a taste, and I can’t wait to see what they have brewing next.
Drink Florida Craft,