Bangin’ Banjo Brewing is a brand new brewery firmly located in Pompano Beach, FL. Not Alabama. Not Georgia. Not Kentucky. It’s in South Florida.
Which means I have to figure out how a brewery was named after an instrument that is decidedly not typical of the region.
The story starts (frustratingly enough for an FSU grad) in Gainesville, where lifelong buddies Adam Feingold and Matthew Giani started homebrewing. One friend of theirs just happened to be incredibly good at playing the banjo, and for his birthday they brewed what would eventually become their signature beer and namesake: Bangin’ Banjo Black IPA.
They both moved back home to South Florida around 2010-ish, officially formed Bangin’ Banjo Brewing in 2014, and opened the doors to their tap room on July 24th, 2015.
For being in a warehouse complex in South Florida, it’s remarkably down home and Deep South when you get inside. Lots of light unfinished wood, an artificial but pretty hop trellis by the front door, and an absolutely stunning set of taps set into a huge finished log. It’s very inviting.
Even though there’s a extensive row of taps available, there were 6 beers on tap when I went. Ordinarily I would have gotten a flight on one of their awesome wooden banjos, but I was with company and seating was scarce, so let’s grab a few actual pints, shall we?
Moodoo Voodoo Milk Stout (Stout, 4.5% ABV, 34 IBU) – I do so love milk stouts. And this one is a classic. It’s smooth and creamy, with big flavors of dark, roasted coffee malt and a clean, sweet finish.
Cypress Creek Cream Ale (Cream Ale, 4.7% ABV, 16 IBU) – There are so many completely personal reasons I wanted this beer to succeed that I won’t get into right now. But the beer did succeed. It’s remarkably light and soft, as wonderfully unassuming as a cream ale should be. The malt is lightly bready, there’s just a touch of hop flavor, and it’s incredibly easy to drink. If beer drinkers are bringing newbies here for their first beers, this is where they should start.
The Gose Getter (Gose, 4.3% ABV, 9 IBU) – I constantly say that goses are the future of South Florida beer. If you want a textbook gose, this is the one to go for. It’s not very strong in alcohol, there’s a faint touch of hops and malt, but it’s got a great, mouth-wateringly sour flavors and just the right amount of salt. I can see some great fruit treatments of this beer in the future.
Odin’s Revenge Belgian Red (Belgian Pale Ale, 4.9% ABV, 27 IBU) – This is not as much of a pale as it is a fantastic red ale. It’s got a big caramel and deep toffee malt, but the Belgian yeast gives it a wonderfully added dimension of biscuit and toast. The aroma of the beer is bready, but just a touch. It’s not as heady as, say a Trappist ale, but the yeast aroma is unmistakable and delicious.
I need to go back. There is a huge list of beers that they are going to be working on, including their pumpkin beer and the signature Black IPA. It is nice to see another brewery in South Florida producing some exceptionally quality beers.
But if I see a kid there playing Dueling Banjos, I am gone.
Drink Florida Craft,