Interview – Geoff DeBisshop, Central 28 Brewing @central28beer

Debary-based Central 28 Beer Co. is pretty new to the Central Florida brewing scene, but they’re already starting to make a handy little name for themselves along the I-4 corridor. Between gold medals and their first can, UpRiver, well into distribution, they are poised to be much more visible in the coming years.

I spoke to Geoff DeBisshop, brewmaster and co-owner, about disc golf, Spanish restaurants, and the joy of blood oranges.


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Interview – Aaron Schmalzle, Castle Church Brewing Community @churchbrew

In Orlando, something very different is going down. Castle Church Brewing Community is in the final stages of planning.

It’s a brewery, of course. But it will also be a fully-functional and ordained Lutheran Church, with regular church functions.

I recently spoke to Aaron Schmalzle, brewmaster and co-owner of Castle Church, about research, donations, and 95 other things.

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Interview – Nick Moench, Inoculum Ale Works

Drive North from the Tampa Bay area for about an hour and you come to the quaint village of Brooksville. It’s a sleepy community, hosts an annual blueberry festival each year, and sits relatively close to Weeki Watchee and its famous mermaids.

Pretty soon, it will also be the home of Inoculum Ale Works, a new brewery with two very interesting differences: The will only brew sour beers, and their primary method of distribution will be shipping directly to consumers.


For more information, I recently sat down with Nick Moench from Inoculum to discuss beer, corroding cans, green tea, and dinosaurs.

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Interview – Jerry Sowders, BrewPOP

BrewPOP is a brewery, winery, bar, and craft pizza joint located in the small Central Florida city of Auburndale. If you’ve ever driven on I-4 between Tampa and Orlando, Auburndale is next to the old Fantasy of Flight.

Firmly entrenched in Polk County, they have a wide range of beers, drinks, wine, and some fantastic looking pizzas. Don’t let it’s location in front of a WalMart fool you; the tap list is lengthy and complex.

I recently spoke to Jerry Sowders, owner and brewer at BrewPOP, about the complexities of opening a facility and the joys of a catfish pizza. This is easily the longest interview I’ve ever published, and it’s well worth the read.


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Interview – Mike Bishop, Big Storm Brewing

Big Storm Brewing, located in the Tampa Bay area city of Odessa, opened in 2012. Their beers are found on draft and in cans statewide, and there in the middle of opening their third facility in the area.

I spoke to co-founder Mike Bishop about his brewing past, the rebranding, and where Big Storm is heading in the future.


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Interview – Ryan Parker, Red Cypress Brewery

Red Cypress Brewery is a new brewery opening this weekend in Winter Springs, close to Orlando and the University of Central Florida.

I recently spoke with Ryan Parker, Red Cypress CEO and general manager about the brewery, the future, and not inviting demons into their tap room:


When did you first discover craft beer?

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SaltWater Brewery’s Dustin Jeffers gives some insight about Mass Confusion

A few days ago, I gave some details about Mass Confusion, the festival at SaltWater Brewery in Delray Beach celebrating their Don’t Get Confused Belgian Dubbel.

Don’t Get Confused Belgian Dubbel. Image courtesy of SaltWater Brewery.

Because of awesomeness, I got to ask SaltWater’s Head Brewer Dustin Jeffers a few things about the event that you might find interesting…

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Interview – Justin Miles, The Mack House/Holy Mackerel

The Mack House is the tap room/nanobrewing arm of Davie, FL-based Holy Mackerel Brewing. Recently, I was able to sit and chat with their brewmaster, Justin Miles.

Holy Mack exterior

The Mack House in Davie

What is your brewing background?

I started home brewing about 3 years ago, then I was bringing my stuff into the bar (Mack House). Eventually, the previous head brewer here left and they wanted to keep brewing. I brewed a test batch of a honey-lime ale, and they liked it.

What was the beer that got you started in beer?

If I had to say certain breweries, they would probably be Sierra Nevada and Flying Dog.

What is your general process for deciding on a new beer to brew?

We start with a lot of brainstorming, looking at the seasons. This fall, we could do some over the top culinary beers, but not many yet. We are going to be doing a honey brown rye and a rye IPA soon.

How do you source some of these ingredients? I know Davie has a lot of agriculture.

We get all of the honey in our beers from a local farmer in Davie, Natural Chai Farms. That farmer actually takes our spent grain and feeds it to the pigs on his farm. Sometime in the future, we are planning on doing a pig roast with a pig that has been raised on the grain from our beers.

That pig farmer is growing coffee, too. We also use locally sourced sweet potatoes. That gives the beers a great richness.

Which of your beers are you most proud of?

Probably Nib Slip (a chocolate Porter). It’s a really good beer. We used an experimental, grapefruit-y hop from Yakima and local cocoa nibs.

Will you ever do a Dunkelweizen?

Probably winter. It can be hard to get people to try different beers like saisons.

Yet you brewed a brown ale with andouille sausage. How hard was it to get people to try that?

For our craft beer people, it was actually pretty easy.

Did you use actual sausage in the beer, or the andouille sausage spices?

That’s Whole Foods actual fresh sausage in the beer. When we brew it, we let it sit for an additional 20 minutes to let the grease separate. Then we can skim the grease right off.

Holy Mackerel is one of many breweries in Florida that contract their bottling operations out-of-state. Do you think there is a negativity in the industry about that?

It depends on who you talk to. Some people bash it. I think it’s a great way to get your recipes out there. It’s a good way to distribute beers without investing in a setup like Funky Buddha.

So are you going to start doing collaborations with other Florida brewers?

We actually just did one with 3 Sons Brewing. We made a base saison and did two different treatments. We did one we called Sound Machine, with lime and rum-soaked mint leaves. 3 Sons did one with pink peppercorn and star fruit.

Craft beer in Florida is starting to boom. How do you feel about the future of the industry in Florida?

There’s still room to grow. We went to Atlanta and there are so many breweries there. Downtown, there are lots of places and they’re all doing well. Places like (The Mack House) where you go just for their beer are going to be big.

With Florida breweries that already exist, no one competes with each other. It’s a win for everyone.

Drink Florida Craft,

Chris & Dave