“He was a wise man who invented beer.” — Plato
And as it turns out, a friendly man, too. Today’s post is one of three consecutive that we’ll share this weekend about making friends making beer. Before putting a face to a name, introductions to brewer James Retzler of Due South Brewing Co. (Boynton Beach,) cellarman and assistant brewer David Rodriguez of Wynwood Brewing Company (Wynwood, Miami,) and brand manager John Linn of Funky Buddha Brewery (Oakland Park) were made of the liquid kind. Tasty first impressions at our restaurants lured us to their respective tap rooms to learn more. These people make the future bright for a healthy brewing culture in South Florida, and we could not be more thankful for their passionate commitment to the craft. We think that’s cause for celebration every day. So cheers to American Craft Beer Week. We’re proud to now be able to toast it with homegrown brews of our own.
James Retzler, Due South Brewing Co.
2900 High Ridge Rd. #3
Boynton Beach, Florida 33426
(561) 463-BEER (2337)
I met James in April. I was up in Boyton Beach doing an in-store pour of Michael’s Genuine Home Brew at Total Wine. Strategic choice. I claimed this one knowing Due South was a mandatory stop on the way home. Rolling up to a non-descript warehouse strip you wouldn’t be crazy to wonder if you were lost. Where’s the brewery? I saw a sign with an arrow “BREWERY” pointing backward to nowhere so I parked out front. Ahead was a metal gate in front of which sat a guy who looked like he was taking a break from a long day. I could almost make out the faint outline of tanks in the darkness behind him. This must be it! I gathered my belongs from the car and made for the gate, but my ticket in had disappeared. After squeaking through the accordion enclosure, a cavernous warehouse illuminated before my eyes. There were a couple rows of fermenters. I could make out a mashton, some bright tanks… To the back, a lively bar with twinkle lights, picnic tables, and people. Lots of people. James looked perplexed. Was it the four back of Home Brew toted to my side? Or maybe because I unknowingly took the employee entrance into my own hands? I immediately apologized and explained I had let owner Mike [Halker] know I was coming and that I wasn’t here for the BYOB event. This was a present. James could not have been more kind. An hour later I had enjoyed pints of Caramel Cream Ale and Cafe Ole Espresso Porter, played life-sized Jenga with a jolly group of tap room-goers, and been the lucky recipient of the Tour de James. Not bad for a Saturday afternoon. I can’t wait to go back! You should, too. Just use the back entrance.
The Genuine Kitchen: Three words to describe your job.
James Retzler : Living The Dream, everyday to me is another day in paradise, workin hard at something you are passionate about for such a great company and great owners is bliss. what’s that line…”if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life” yeah, that’s me.
TGK: Who is your brewery crush right now?
JR: I’ve had a long time brewery crush on Terrapin Brewery from Athens. I’ve never had a beer from them I didnt like, if not love. Big fan of their Bottle designs and central theme around their mascot. I feel this helps keep our core beliefs at Due South Beers. Whether it’s keeping in South Florida or nautical. Keeping close to your locals is key.
TGK: If you could make a collaborative beer with a local brewery which would it be and what would you make together?
JR: Wynwood Brewing Co. I’m a huge fan of those guys down there. Right out of the gate they are putting out solid brands and looks like they are having more fun than me! Seeing and talking with Luis or Dave at festivals I can see passion for Beer drives their Products. One day we will have to work something out for a collaberation. The beer I would think of is something light and sessionable dealing with our local weather. we both would agree on local Ingredients maybe something with local spices or fruit. Sure to be delicious with a local vibe.
TGK: What should we get excited about drinking from Due South this summer?
JR: This Summer we are planning on rolling out our First Curiosity Series Beer with CALLIN’ ALL CARS! We’ve done a ton of testing inside the brewery and at festivals to get the balance right on this Coffee Donut Porter.
TGK: What would you like to eat with it?
JR: I’d be happy with some pancakes and a bunch of bacon, paired with the Coffee Donut Porter, just don’t tell the PoPo’s haha