It’s like it was purposefully designed to completely enrage PETA, which I have no problem with.
What I’m talking about is Invasive Species Brewing, one of Ft. Lauderdale’s newest breweries, situated in their newer FAT Village Arts District. It’s recognizable by the olive green exterior, but that is nothing compared to the interior.
Animals. Animals everywhere.
Taxidermied Florida wildlife surrounds the hand-built 5 BBL system, above the doors, watching over the bar, everywhere. A lot of the specimens were captured by Phil Gillis, Invasive Species’ co-owner, head brewer, and former biologist.
Phil, a former assisstant brewer at nearby Funky Buddha, was joined in this venture by MIA Brewing alum Josh Levitt and the team of Chris and Jordan Bellus, themselves founders of the legendary Ft. Lauderdale beer bar Laser Wolf.
So what’s there? Plenty, and it runs the gamut as well. Light blondes to heavy stouts and everything inbetween. None of it is in distribution, either, and that is completely intentional. They focus on wanting to make beers that never leave their birthplace, with local ingredients that hopefully never left the county.
But how are the beers? I went a bit lighter, going with a word every Floridian knows all too well: Staycation (Golden Ale, 5.6% ABV, 17 IBU). It’s a great, unassuming golden ale, crisp and malty enough to be flavorful but without anything harsh and brutally hoppy. It’s a gentle, flavorful brew, one that can be surprisingly difficult to pull off well.
My wife, however, loves the bigger and bolder, and went straight for the Sweet Spot (Imperial Milk Stout, 8% ABV, 45 IBU). This imperial biggie boasts an adjunct list complete with coconut, chocolate, vanilla, and the all-important lactose. It’s a lot, and it’s delicious. Big and creamy and sweet in all the right places.
Invasive Species is a welcome and long-overdue addition to the up and coming Ft. Lauderdale craft beer scene. It’s nice to see places like this starting to show up, especially with as good as they are in beer. It will be exciting to see what comes next out of those fermenters.
As long as it’s not a stuffed gator, life will be fine.
Drink Florida Craft,