It’s easy to drive on Interstate 95 and pass by Port St. Lucie without a second thought. But the city, and St. Lucie County as a whole, should not be readily counted out so easily.
There is a lot going on, including the brand new development known as Tradition (think Celebration in Osceola County, near Disney). They’re bringing in biotech companies, Major League Baseball spring training with the New York Mets, and, my favorite indicator for a blooming metropolitan area, breweries.
There are some in the area, but one of the newest is Hop Life Brewing Company, a place with a name so obvious it’s amazing nobody has taken it yet. The brewery is located just off 95, next to Mets stadium and PGA National Golf.
Interestingly enough, it was started in 2011 by Jim Kelly, a 33-year veteran of the St. Lucie County Fire District. He actually started it as a clothing company, using the success of that to establish the brewery. The next year he brought his friend and 28-year firefighter veteran Robert Tearle, and their newest partner Jeffrey Blitman in 2016.
In that time, they used their 15-barrel system to create and release several beers, distributing in and around the St. Lucie area. I have not had a chance to visit, but I have had a few of their beers as they’ve been in distribution in Fort Pierce, a place I have known to frequent and really enjoy.
Knowing their firefighter background, their Fire Hog Red Lager (Lager, 4.8% ABV, 17 IBU) makes plenty of sense. This is a great and flavorful lager,with a very soft and easy to drink body and a light hint of caramel swirling around the breadiness. Very approachable and incredibly enjoyable to drink.
The other beer I was able to try was Zero Viz (IPA, 6% ABV, 55 IBU). This is their entry into the increasingly popular New England style, chock full of Mosaic, Citra, and Amarillo hops put in to showcase the big Citrus flavors from those hops without too much bitterness. The malt bill contains oats and wheat as well, which contribute a lot to a very smooth and approachable mouth feel, and also help to lighten any bitterness that may come from the hops.
Just like I said, there’s a lot of good things coming out of Port St Lucie, and Hop Life Brewing is a part of that. I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve been able to try so far, and I definitely need to get up there to visit them in person. It’s just a simple pop up 95.
This time I’m not passing by.
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