At the beginning of this month we spent Labor Day weekend in Palm Beach, Flordia, on a family vacation (which I wrote a bit about here). Florida is, by and large, a craft beer wasteland (particularly when compared to Oregon) but the Palm Beach area does have one brewery (in West Palm Beach specifically): Brewzzi, located in the City Place mall. It is one of two locations (the other being in Boca Raton) which technically makes it a chain, one that I liken a bit to The Ram and Rock Bottom brewpub chains.
We went there for lunch on our first full day in Florida (meeting my wife’s aunt) and overall I found it to be a slightly upscale iteration of the brewpub-sportsbar, with lots of dark wood, brick, tile floors, ample windows, and flat-panel televisions (even in the restrooms)—it’s a good model for such a place, and it works. The service was friendly and accommodating and we were seated right away (for a Friday afternoon, it wasn’t terrible busy).
Let’s get the important stuff out of the way first: the beers were good. They were mostly lighter in strength—the majority were 4% abv or under—but this doesn’t appear to be due to any particular legal issue (like Utah) but rather (I would guess) just due to the heat and humidity of Florida: you would much rather be drinking lighter alcohol, thirst-quenching beers than heavy hop bombs.
Of course I ordered beer sampler which contained six beers: four regulars and two of the “Brewmaster Specials” (i.e., seasonals). Looking at that photo, starting in the lower left is the (seasonal) German Hefeweizen and going clockwise, you also have the Boca Blonde, Black Duke, Tropical Madness, (seasonal) Dubbel, and the City Fest. Here are my brief notes (made on my phone, in the order that I drank them, with additional commentary):
German Hefeweizen: 4.6% abv. Light, unfiltered, nicely clovey. The menu said “Belgian Wheat” (or White) but the waiter kept calling it a German Hefe and that’s what it tasted like. Good example of the style.
Boca Blonde: 3.5% abv. Malty, earthy, nice level of bitterness. Crisp. This was one of the standouts of the bunch because it had such a nice hop character for such a light beer. Eminently drinkable.
Tropical Madness: 3.5-4% abv? This is their Boca Blonde fruit beer, made with whatever fruit is in season. I’m pretty sure this one was apricot but it wasn’t listed anywhere. Smells a bit like apricot, tastes earthy like it too. Decent, but not enough fruit for my taste.
City Fest: 4% abv. Kind of a cross between an Altbier and a Bock. Rich, malty, caramelly, lush and tasty. Really good and fun to drink. The other standout beer of the day, this one is uber-drinkable and one I would keep going back for.
Dubbel: 6% abv. Okay. Malt forward but a little watery and not terribly complex.
Black Duke: 4% abv. Dunkel/Munich Dark. Roasty and easy drinking, a touch astringent. Nice roast but not heavy.
All in all I thought it was a very good showing for a Florida brewpub-sportsbar! The Boca Blonde is their most popular beer and I believe it, they have that recipe, along with their City Fest, really dialed in.
The food was very good, too. I had a Mediterranean Salad—I wasn’t terribly hungry with the time change and such but this turned out to be a huge salad and was really quite good with the kalamata olives, feta cheese, pepperocini, and more. A couple of pizzas made their way to the table as well, a BBQ chicken pizza that my wife raved over and the Margarita Pizza which was light and fresh. We ended up taking a good amount of pizza back to the resort where we were staying (fortunately we had a small fridge in the room).
Brewzzi’s subtitle is “Italian American Bistro” and indeed much of the menu has the Italian and Mediterranean influence behind it. Based on how good the food at lunch was, I’d be confident about the rest of the menu as well.
I snapped a few extra pictures while we were there:
(Sorry for the less-than-stellar quality on these; we were there for a family outing rather than indulging my beer obsession!)
All in all, I can heartily recommend Brewzzi for anyone looking for good craft beer in the (West) Palm Beach area; as the only local brewery they have a lock on the market and could easily brew less-than-mediocre beer without any competition. But I’m happy to report that the beer is much better than that and you won’t be disappointed if you find yourself there.
Brewzzi City Place
700 South Rosemary Ave, Suite 212
West Palm Beach, FL 33401