A Beer Lover’s Heaven–Craft Beer Craze Hits Boca/Delray

Craft Beer Lovers Have Plenty to Cheer About

Craft Beer Lovers Have Plenty to Cheer About

It’s a great time to be an American beer lover.

The craft beer movement continues to grow nationally but also in Delray Beach and Boca Raton.

Local brewer Due South is about to be joined by Delray-based Saltwater Brewery (www.saltwaterbrewery.com) which will offer a tropical beer garden, tours and a tasting room when it opens later this year at 1701 West Atlantic Avenue.

Saltwater Brewery is riding a wave that has made craft brewing a national phenomenon.

During the first six months of 2013, American craft beer dollar sales rose 15 percent and volume grew 13 percent, according to the Brewers Association in Boulder, Colo.

That adds up to approximately 7.3 million barrels of beer sold by small and independent craft brewers, up from 6.4 million barrels during the first half of 2012, BA notes. American craft beer continues to grow despite decreased overall beer sales, which were down 2 percent through the first six months of the year.

“Demand for beer produced by small and independent brewers has never been higher, as evidenced by increased production and the hundreds of new breweries joining the playing field each year,” said Paul Gatza, director of BA. “Beer drinkers nationwide are responding positively to high-quality, full-flavored, diverse offerings from American craft brewing companies that continue to innovate and push the envelope.”

As of June 30, 2,538 breweries were operating in the United States, which is an increase of 446 breweries since June 2012. BA also lists an additional 1,605 breweries in planning stages at the year’s midpoint, compared with 1,252 a year ago. As of June 30, the count of craft breweries was at 2,483, showing that 98 percent of U.S. brewers are craft brewers.

“More breweries are currently operating in the U.S. than at any time since the 1870s,” Gatza said. “With each new brewery opening, American craft brewers are reinforcing the U.S.’s position as the world’s most diverse brewing nation.”

Here’s a guide to some of the hot spots for craft beers in Boca Raton and Delray Beach:

  • Coffee District—Don’t let the name fool you, the Coffee District in Pineapple Grove has an excellent collection of craft beers. Our favorites: Oskar Blues, a Colorado and North Carolina-based brewer with some great pale ales and Southern Tier Choklat. The district, 325 N.E. Second Ave., packs 18 taps into its 1,600 square foot space and offers a relaxing environment and knowledgeable staff.  www.mycoffeedistrict.com. P.S. The Beer Advocate gives the Coffee District a 95 rating, which equates to world class. We agree.
  • Mellow Mushroom—Yes, we know it’s known for great pizza, but have you seen their beer menu? It’s virtually endless…we lost count at 160 different beers and ciders. You’ll have fun with the names as well: “Hazed and Infused”,  “Florida Swamp Ape” and of course, the legendary “Monk in the Trunk.” Mellow Mushroom has a beer club, we suggest you join and explore—responsibly of course. Visit 25 SE Sixth Ave.
  • Park Tavern—Located at 32 SE Second Ave., overlooking Worthing Park and bustling Atlantic Ave., Park Tavern is an attractive eatery/bar with a classic Americana feel. Park Tavern offers a wide range of beers and craft spirits from places as diverse as France and Boynton Beach. Our favorites: Angry Orchard (from Cincinnati)  Goose Island (from Chicago) and Caramel Cream Ale (from Due South in next door Boynton Beach). Go to www.parktaverndelray.com for a full menu.
  • Blue Anchor—No discussion about beer is complete without a mention of the legendary Blue Anchor, 804 E. Atlantic Ave. A great English pub with soccer on the telly, interesting food and great characters, The Blue Anchor is said to be haunted, but perhaps the spirits just like the beer.  We love their “hand drawn” ales including Hobgoblin from the Wychwood Brewery in London  and America’s own Old Thumper made by Shipyard.  The Blue Anchor also offers pear and raspberry ciders. Visit www.theblueanchor.com for all the details and some ghost stories.
  • Tryst—Located in the heart of the Ave at 4 E. Atlantic Ave., Tryst will surprise you with their selection of beers on tap.   From German pilsners and Belgium wheat beers to the rare find such as Big Eye from California, Tryst is a delight. Visit www.trystdelray.com  for a look at all this gastopub offers.
  • Brewzzi—This Boca Raton microbrewery has become a fixture on the Boca beer scene. Located at 2222 Glades Road, Brewzzi (www.brewzzi.com) brews beers on site including traditional German lagers. We like Black Duke and of course, Boca Blonde.
  • Brickyard Microbrewery—7050 W. Palmetto Park Road., has 50 microbrews on tap from around the world. We like most of them, but especially the Raspberry Heifeweizen and the offerings from Cigar City Brewing.  Visit www.brickyardbocaraton.com
  • Yard House—This tasteful chain has a great spot in Boca’s Mizner Park not far from the IPIC Theatre. Honey, wheat, malty, dark, seasonal, it’s all there. www.yardhouse.com
  • Miller’s Ale House—With two locations in east and west Boca, Miller’s is well-known for its selection. Beer lovers can choose from among 75 different beers. Sea Dog, Rogue Dead Guy and Third Shift among the favorites.
  • Funky Buddha Lounge—With a name like Funky Buddha, it has got to be good. And it is. Located at 2621 N. Federal Highway in Boca, the Buddha has a brewery in nearby Oakland Park, so you know their devotion is real. They also supply home brewers– which is beyond cool.  More than 110 beers, some brewed on site. An awesome beer lover’s heaven. Visit www.thefunkybuddha.com for more info.