A decade ago, ordering a beer in Fort Lauderdale meant choosing from big domestic brands (and maybe a handful of imports). But today there are dozens of craft beer brands born and brewed right here in Broward County. Here are seven of our local favorites.
Before going pro, 3 Sons Brewing Company’s co-owner Corey Artanis started brewing beer at home 12 years ago. He garnered the 2018 title of “Best New Brewer in the World” from RateBeer (which houses the largest collection of beer reviews worldwide), even before opening his Dania Beach brick-and-mortar location. The 11,000-square-foot brewery, taproom, and restaurant also houses a wood-fired oven, making it the best place around to enjoy a chef-driven meal (think: charred octopus, ceviche, and duck sliders) with your craft-made brew.
Just ask Guy Fieri, who visited 3 Sons Brewing on a 2020 episode of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. On the Food Network show, Fieri raved about the wood-fired shrimp pizza and dashi butter chicken wings. “I know the beer here is dynamite,” Fieri told former head chef Nicolay Adinaguev on the episode. “Often the kitchen plays the second fiddle. But what you guys have, I hear dueling banjos.”
Beers to Try:
Dania Pointe 5.5 percent ABV New England pale ale: New England–style beers typically have a nearly tropical flavor with a yellow-orange color and a sweeter hop aroma and taste. This is a great hazy beer to introduce someone who’s new to the style.
Smoooth Ops 6 percent ABV piña colada smoothie-style seltzer: While not technically a beer, this hard seltzer is thicker than usual and made with intense flavor, giving it a vibe very similar to a piña colada.
With a taproom full of taxidermy, Invasive Species may be the most Floridian brewery around. Co-owner Phil Gillis likens his Fort Lauderdale spot to a natural history museum. Legend has it that Gillis and co-owner Josh Levitt caught the animals themselves, but the duo says many were donated by customers and friends.
Legends aside, Gillis and Levitt were up-and-comers on the local beer scene before it was robust enough to even be called a scene. The two got their start working for large production breweries in the early days of South Florida craft beer. There were strange breaks along the way: Levitt moved from sales to brewing when a co-worker at a Doral-based brewery had to leave after suffering third-degree burns to his feet when another co-worker accidentally poured hot liquor in his boots. Gillis took the more academic route, studying at the prestigious Siebel Institute of Technology’s brewing vocational school, eventually landing a role as an assistant brewer at Oakland Park’s Funky Buddha.
With those experiences fueling their fire, Gillis and Levitt can take any beer style and perfect it. After five years in the business, there’s no denying Invasive Species is a hub for South Florida beer fans who want to embrace the Laudy lifestyle while drinking the finest beer in the area.
Beers to Try:
Florida Yacht Club 4.5 percent ABV German pilsner: As the name implies, this light, crisp, easy-drinking beer is made for the Florida lifestyle—great for hot summer days out by the beach or the pool.
Ninja Juice 9 percent ABV sake/beer hybrid: This is one of the more interesting drinks Invasive Species typically has on draft. It’s a beer made with rice and an ancient Japanese brewing technique, giving it serious appeal for sake aficionados.
In 2018, Ty and Sharee Erick opened Gulf Stream Brewing on 13th Street in Fort Lauderdale, complete with an ocean-themed tasting room offering award-winning brews. The location also houses a fantastic in-house pizzeria called Pizzeria Magaddino—because what’s better than a cold brew and a fresh pie?
If you’re looking for a place you can bring the kids (and the fur-kids; Gulf Stream is pet-friendly), this is your spot. There’s even a jukebox for the whole fam to jam along with.
Beers to Try:
Transplant 5 percent ABV pilsner: This award-winning beer differs from other pilsners, thanks to its New Zealand style. Its light and crisp body is rounded out with subtle hints of lime and stone fruit from Wakatu hops, which are grown in Nelson, New Zealand.
Everyone Under the Sun 6.5 percent ABV hefeweizen: This beer embodies everything that a German wheat beer should. Hefeweizen directly translates to “yeast wheat,” an ingredient that imparts its light color. The finished beer has notes of both banana and bubble gum.
In 2019, owners Davy and Jaime Martin opened South Florida’s smallest brewery with a big attitude. Martin first started as a homebrewer, passing his beer out for free at monthly art walks in Flagler Village. Long before opening his nanobrewery, he perfected his New England IPA, a hazy, tropical, hop-forward beer style, as well as big, chocolate- and coffee-forward stouts.
Orchestrated Minds Brewing has come a long way since its humble beginnings in a one-barrel brewhouse. The Martins recently upgraded to a three-barrel system, giving them the ability to make a bigger mark in South Florida craft beer.
But beer-lover beware: If you belly up to the Orchestrated Minds bar on a Friday and fall in love with the beer you ordered, know that it may not be there when you place your order next week. That’s because the Martins focus on small batches and quality. They frequently rotate their 10-tap handles, and almost no brews stay on for more than two weeks at any time.
If you love barrel-aged dark stouts, this is the spot for you; Orchestrated Minds has regularly been called a “stout house,” consistently releasing some of the hottest and most-sought-after bottles of the style.
Beers to Try:
Touch of Grey 5.2 percent ABV blonde ale: Brewed with Earl Grey tea, this is one of the few beers regularly rotated on Orchestrated Minds’ tap list. It’s light and well-balanced, with unique flavors from the tea.
Change is Necessary 8.2 percent ABV double dry-hopped New England IPA: This is a fantastic example of Orchestrated Minds’ focus on this style of beer. In color, it’s a beautiful bright yellow. In taste, you’ll get tropical melon and pineapple notes upfront, with slight bitters on the backend.
This gastropub and brewery has been a local favorite since it was born as a collab between Julian and Lisa Siegel of the Riverside Market and Adam and Jill Fine of Native Brewing and Fresh Beer. Back in the early aughts, building a brewery was a dream. But eventually, Fort Lauderdale’s Tarpon River Brewing opened in a former 11,000-square-foot horse barn built in the 1920s.
That sense of history lends a unique local charm. The brewing system is on full display from the taproom, where you can order anything from a golden ale to a hoppy IPA, from dark lagers to fruity sours, or even stouts and wild ales. The gastropub offers an upscale spin on traditional bar food like burgers and chicken wings. Don’t miss Yo Soy Brussels (oven-roasted brussels sprouts with a soy glaze) or the roasted buffalo cauliflower.
This is a spot dedicated to the local community, with many of Tarpon River’s employees having grown up with the Siegels’ own sons.
Beers to Try:
InZane 5 percent ABV lager: Many of Tarpon River’s beers are named after landmarks and regulars. This light American flagship lager honors a friend of the Siegels (named Zane) who passed away.
17th Street Haze 6 percent ABV hazy IPA: Named after the 17th Street Causeway in Fort Lauderdale, the can’s label pays homage to Julian’s love for hot rods, depicting one of his faves cruising down the city’s iconic thoroughfare.
If you’re looking for a little education on craft beers and their many flavor profiles, then a visit to Pompano Beach’s Odd Breed Wild Ales should be on your to-do list. This is not your average craft brewery; instead of large metal tanks, all the beer here is made similarly to wine—mostly aging in wine barrels before it’s sold.
It’s the brainchild of owner and head brewer Matt Manthe, who boasts some of the highest accolades of any brewer in the entire state. Manthe’s focus is on a sophisticated Lambic-inspired style of beer—and he was influenced to take this route while studying at Berlin’s prestigious institute for master brewers, Versuchsund Lehranstalt für Brauerei.
That influence is evident in everything from Manthe’s beers to his taproom. Its sleek marble counter and row of barrels filled with actively aging beer make sitting at the bar feel as if you’ve been transported to the European breweries where he first mastered his craft.
Odd Breed’s products reveal complexity in both taste and aroma that many sommeliers would envy. Maybe that’s why Manthe’s brews have won gold and multiple bronze medals at the Great American Beer Festival, arbiter of the largest and most prestigious beer awards in the world.
Beers to Try:
Artistic Bugs 9.5 percent ABV golden wild ale: This beer sums up the appeal of Odd Breed Wild Ales well. It is named after the three microbes that give this brew its signature sour flavor, having been aged in French oak barrels for just under two years. On the nose are notes of ripe pineapple, mango, and orange.
Tilling Season 8 percent ABV saison farmhouse-style beer: Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, this brew then spends another five months in emptied Ardbeg Scotch barrels. The complexity of aromas and flavors is astounding. In 2022, it won a bronze medal at the world’s largest craft beer competition.
Only open Thursday through Sunday nights, this small brewery in Lauderhill has become a hot spot for millennials and Gen Z craft beer fans. It makes sense: Owners Daniel Pfaffenbach and Denielle Mizrahi are the same age as their customer base, and they have created a taproom as colorful and vibrant as the drinks made on-site.
Pfaffenbach has an eight-year-long tenure in the beer industry. While learning the ins and outs of brewing at Fat Point in Punta Gorda and LauderAle, he dedicated his nights and weekends to making beer at home for his nonbeer-drinking girlfriend, Mizrahi (now his wife).
Yeasty Brews is known for tropical and refreshing libations, including perfected recipes for the best hard seltzers in South Florida.
Beers to Try:
Hula Girl 6 percent ABV cream ale with guava and passion fruit: This is a light, fruity, and all-around refreshing beer. The natural fruits add a fresh layer of complexity.
The Banana Slinger 5.5 percent ABV hefeweizen with lactose and vanilla bean: This is the beer that put Yeasty Brews on the map. It has no fruit; the banana flavor comes from the hefeweizen yeast. It’s a fantastic modern spin on a very old German-style beer.