CAN IT! Hop To Saltwater Brewery

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By Caryn Stumpfl The Pineapple Contributing Writer Delray Beach’s first local production microbrewery, Saltwater Brewery, recently added a new automated canning line and is now canning their most popular craft brew – Screamin’ Reels IPA – to be sold at the brewery and distributed to beverage stores, bars and restaurants around the state. According to Head Brewer/Co-founder Dustin Jeffers, the new canning production line, which was added in July, can sterilize, fill and pack about 64 cans per minute. The craft beer brewery, located just west of I-95 and the Tri-Rail tracks on Atlantic Avenue, is canning just one of their beers right now with the potential to can others later. The local craft brewery features six core beers, with 13 on tap right now. Currently, Saltwater Brewery’s beer is distributed throughout South Florida, and they are in the process of expanding to Orlando, Tampa and northern Florida. Owned by Leigh and Gwen Gove and their son Chris Gove (President) with Head Brewers Bill Taylor and Jeffers, Saltwater Brewery offers a smoke-free tasting room where you can sample the various brews on tap. The beautifully refinished bar is made from reclaimed Dade County pine wood from the original structure, a 1920s-era building that used to house Delray’s Farm & Feed store and more recently the Rustic Rooster, a specialty furniture/home accents shop. The picnic tables in the beer garden are made from the original building’s barn doors. The building was completely remodeled and updated with a state-of-the-art brewery in the back and comfortable, large, air-conditioned tasting room out front, as well as an outdoor beer garden. The owners/partners did all the woodworking themselves and assisted with the buildout before their opening in December 2013. A quintessential coastal Florida business, Saltwater Brewery gets its name from the avocation of all its founders, who love everything to do with the ocean, including surfing, fishing and more. With a slogan of “Explore the Depths of Beer,” Saltwater Brewery names many of its brews with the ocean and Florida in mind. For example, brews like Sea Cow Milk Stout, Raspberry Reef and Deep Drop reflect their love of the Florida coast. In addition, Saltwater Brewery feels very strongly about giving back to the community, as well as protecting our coasts. They hold regular charitable events to benefit three charities: CCA Florida, a statewide, non-profit marine organization that helps protect Florida’s marine resources; Surfrider Foundation, an organization that works to protect beaches in the United States and 18 countries; and Seagrass Grow!, an organization helping to restore seagrass to our coasts. A chart in the tasting room and on their website (www.saltwaterbrewery.com) shows where all of their beers fall on the taste and alcohol spectrum, categorized as “Coastal,” “Reef” or “Offshore,” depending on how light or dark the brew and how much alcohol content it contains. “The deeper and further out you go on the chart, the darker the beer and the higher the alcohol content,” Jeffers explained. For example, their “Lager Del Rey” is their lightest craft beer (similar in color to Budweiser) with the lowest alcohol content, so it’s at the top of their Coastal category. At the opposite end, their “Black Current” brew, an American Strong Ale-style brew flavored with black currants, has 10 percent alcohol. This beer is aged in local seagrape wood, providing a dry wood aftertaste to the beer. To set them apart from other breweries, many of Saltwater Brewery’s beers are flavored with hops, spices and other flavors that give their beer a distinctively Floridian nose and flavor, including citrus, raspberry, pine, coriander, sea grape wood and other locally sourced ingredients. They also collaborate with other breweries to develop unique brews, such as their Tinc’d Out Turtle, which is a collaboration with Terrapin Beer Company, a larger brewery in Athens, Georgia. The brewery itself includes six 40-barrel tanks, two 20-barrel tanks and two 10-barrel tanks, all in various stages of fermentation when I toured the facility. Jeffers explained that, “Cleanliness is the biggest thing,” as he showed me the entire brewing process and described how the tanks are thoroughly cleaned before and after filling. All beer at Saltwater Brewery is produced and packaged on site and distributed to bars and restaurants in Florida primarily in kegs. Now with the new canning line, beer lovers will be able to purchase and drink their Screamin’ Reels IPA in cans available at the brewery, liquor stores, grocery stores, bars and restaurants. Enthusiasts also can purchase a refillable, 32-ounce or gallon-sized “Growler” filled with their favorite craft brew. With a serious passion for craft beers, Jeffers began home brewing beer with his family when he was young. “I’ve never been into regular beer,” said Jeffers, who has a master’s degree in Speech Pathology from Florida Atlantic University but no science or chemistry background. “The research and papers I read now are all about brewing,” said Jeffers, who also regularly attends professional beer conferences and shows. “I have a passion for craft beers and would rather spend my time and money on developing a well-made beer.” Meticulous in every aspect of production and presentation, Saltwater Brewery’s beers in the tasting room “are served the way they’re supposed to be in the proper glassware at the right temperature,” Jeffers adds. Neither a bar nor a restaurant, Saltwater Brewery does not offer food service, although they do allow you to bring food in. Various food trucks on site offer food for sale, which you can bring in to the tasting room or enjoy in the beer garden. In addition to a variety of special events, gourmet beer dinners and festivals throughout the year where you can sample their craft beers, Saltwater Brewery offers brewery tours on Wednesday nights, Saturdays and Sundays. For more details, visit www.saltwaterbrewery.com.