26 Degree Brewing is brand new, opening in Pompano Beach a few blocks away from the beach in one direction, and the insanely outrageous Dandee Donuts in the other direction. They have plenty of space, since the building used to be a Bealls (and, apparently a Winn Dixie before that).
I have yet to go, a situation I need to remedy very soon. What I did do, however, was speak to proprietor and brewmaster Greg Lieberman at the recent New Times Beerfest. It was their first time there, and I learned some interesting information (on top of drinking a few great beers).
Before I continue, a quick note on the etymology of the name 26 Degree (I impressed Greg by correctly utilizing the word ‘etymology’ in our conversation): It’s not temperature. Beer at 26 degrees Celcius would basically be room temperature, and 26 degrees Farenheit would be too cold for brewing. Instead, Greg and some of the other partners live either well above or well below P,ompano Beach, the city where the brewery is located. When looking for a site, they split the difference and decided to look between them, roughly equal to 26 Degrees latitude. Yay Geography!
Greg, like almost everyone else in the industry, started homebrewing years ago. He actually maintained a fairly active presence in local homebrewing clubs, and still does even though 26 Degree is open. One of the things he mentioned was a series of contests he’d like to do where winning homebrew recipes get scaled up to their 30 bbl brew system and tapped on site.
Sounds pretty exciting, but what about his recipes? I tried a few, and they have enough good stuff to go around:
Pompano Heff (Hefeweizen, 5.6% ABV) – Greg said there was actually some pushback to brewing ‘another’ hefeweizen. To them I say Silence! You know not what you say! For this hefeweizen is tasty and delicious, with only a light fruitiness and not the bubble gum headiness of which you fear. Begone naysayers of wheat wonderfulness, and may thine taste buds soon be awash with the yeasty, bready goodness of this, thine classic light hefeweizen and I’ll stop now. Sorry.
IPA1A (IPA, 6.4% ABV, 70 IBU) – A1A is the main drag along the beach in South Florida, and is a growler’s throw from 26 Degrees. There’s a lot going on in this beer, and you can definitely get the feel for the copious amounts of Citra hops its been generously hopped with. Lots of hops. Juicy, big, citric, sweet, mouth-watering hops.
There’s more (preview: sea turtles), but I’ll get to it later. In the meantime, make the drive close to the beach, head inside, and enjoy 18,000 sq. ft. of craft beer wonderfulness.
Especially since you now partially know how to find the place with a map, an astrolabe, and the North Star.
Drink Florida Craft,