Due South Brewing Company all started with a guy wanting to make a sulfite-free wine for his wife, who is allergic to the preservative. Mike Halker didn't even like beer, but a homebrew and winemaking supply store employee convinced him to take a few bottles of Samuel Adams Boston Lager instead of a winemaking kit. That beer made an impression on Halker—so much so that he opened the doors to Florida's newest brewery less than a month ago.
Originally from Charlotte, NC, Halker started home brewing with a Sam Adams clone recipe, and served it, along with several of his later beers, to friends and family. They encouraged him to pursue his true passion of crafting beer, and after Halker and his wife, Jodi, moved to South Florida, he realized that the Sunshine State lacked the vast array of craft beers available in other parts of the country.
He found a 15,000-sq.-ft. space at the corner of Industrial Way and High Ridge Road with high ceilings and easy access to power, water, and gas in late 2011, and in March of this year, Halker installed a 15-barrel brew house. Three months later, hundreds of Florida beer lovers flocked to Due South for its grand opening. The brewery poured beer from local breweries such as Cigar City Brewing Co., Tequesta Brewing Co., and Swamphead Brewing Co. and had five of its own brews on tap, including the Category 3 IPA, a 6.1% ABV "Florida-style IPA" derived from Halker's first award-winning homebrew recipe, and a Honey Vanilla Wheat that uses over 100 pounds of Florida honey per batch.
Halker plans to keep guest taps from other Florida breweries flowing in the brewery's taproom, which is open from noon to 10 or 11 p.m. each day except for Monday, along with a number of his other beers. The brewery has released a Belgian-style ale brewed with Caribbean spices called Southern Saison, a Caramel Cream Ale, which uses fresh vanilla beans and no extracts, and a Roasted Cocoa Stout poured in the taproom using nitrogen for a creamy "mouthfeel."
Beer enthusiasts can already find many of Due South's beers on draft around South Florida at locations in Boynton Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Delray Beach, Jupiter, Boca Raton, Wellington, West Palm Beach, Miami and Lake Worth. Next year, the brewery plans to expand distribution to cover even more of the state. In the meantime, look for Due South to release its newest beer, Portside Red, at its taproom soon.
Due South Brewing was named Best Brewery 2013 by Broward/Palm Beach New Times.
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