Brewzzi Microbrewery Bakery Pizza
Boca Raton, Florida
Matt Manthe has taken over the brewing duties at Brewzzi in the Boca Raton, FLA location and Reiny Knieriemen at the West Palm Beach spot at City Place. Matt previously brewed in South Carolina at Thomas Creek Brewing as the Head Brewer under owner Tom Davis after graduating with a degree in microbiology from Clemson University and then attended the intensive Certified Brewing and Malting Science program VLB Berlin in Germany. Brewzzi has some exciting things happening in South FLA this Fall. For starters they are pouring beers at the Lynn University Presidential Debate on October 22nd. In addition to Brewzzi’s staple lineup of German lagers that include a Blonde Helles, Viennafest, and a Swartzbier called Black Duke the team has some interesting styles coming on line in 750 ML bottles available only for purchase and consumption in the Boca Raton brewpub (FLA does not allow for on site purchase of beer to be taken off premise and consumed). The first is an American Sour/Wild Ale 6% dry hopped with Cascade hops and fermented with two strains of Brettanomyces, as well as Pediococcus and Lactobacillus, fermented at 65 F. This beer is full of sour character and incredible aroma, a classic sour Belgian ale brewed with an American twist. Second is a Bier de Mars 7.2% fermented with the house Copenhagen lager yeast at warmer temperatures (58F) to develop more ale-like flavors. The beer is brewed to a deep orange color with wheat, rye, oats, Munich and Cara Vienna malts and hopped with Striesselspalt from France. The third offering is an 8.7% Farmhouse Ale brewed with a French Saisson yeast, and French malts – wheat, Caravienna and Pilsner. Striesselspalt is used in the hop additions and the beer is carbonated to a very high level. Three bottles will be available each done with a different fruit (Dragonfruit and Key Limes; Nectarines; and Kiwi fruit) Make sure to stop by Brewzzi each 3rd Wednesday of the month for a new Firkin release in Boca. The restaurant does a food paring with the beers and the portion size is a perfect match. Brewzzi at City Place in West Palm Beach does the same event the First Wednesday of each month
The original brewer at Brewzzi was Fran Andrewlevich. He has moved on to open Tequesta Brewing in Jupiter FL with Matt Webster. He attributes his brewing success to the use of top quality, often imported ingredients. And to his boss, who allows Fran the “freedom to brew odd beer,” even though he throws one out every once in a while. Certainly a great deal of brewing credit for Brewzzi Microbrewery, Bakery & Pizza’s four Great American Beer Festival medals must go to the brewer himself. Gold for Alt and silver for Munich Helles in 2000, followed twelve months later by another mixed pair: gold for the Alt again and silver in the European Pilsner category. Not bad for a brewer with seven years in the professional ranks.
It all started in 1994 when Andrewlevich began hanging around Irish Times, a Palm Beach Gardens, Florida brewpub. Instead of loitering, he started working as a volunteer, accepting beer in lieu of pay. Just a beginning homebrewer, Fran quickly discovered that large batch brewing was much more intriguing and certainly more challenging. Within six months, the unpaid rookie turn professional, taking over as Irish Times’ head brewer. Hard work and perseverance led to his first GABF gold medal in 1995 for Irish Times English Brown. In hindsight, Fran considers the irony of Florida’s first GABF medal won by a Mom and Pop place with a Mom and Pop brewery. It was the “most surprising thing to ever happen in [his] life.”
While still working in Palm Beach Gardens, Fran accepted a moonlighting brewing job at Kelly’s Caribbean Bar & Grill, one hundred and eighty miles away in Key West. This far south brewpub’s owners flew Fran down to the Keys every two to three weeks. A moped provided transportation from airport to brewpub. After long days of brewing he slept in a moored sailboat and basically enjoyed island life. By ‘98, the island brewer had trained a full-time Kelly’s brewer, bringing an end to the trans-Florida commute.
Concerned about the state of Florida’s microbrewery industry, in 1996 Fran help found the Florida Brewers Guild. One of the statewide association’s biggest successes was the modification of arcane packaging laws that prohibited all but a few standard bottle sizes. Old regulations, supported for obvious reasons by the big breweries, effectively excluded most metric-sized imports and popular microbrewery 22 ounce bottles and half-gallon growlers.
Meanwhile, BrewZZi opened in August 1997, coincidentally almost at the same time that Irish Times closed. Fran wasn’t jobless for long. He took a part-time position with the new brewpub in Boca Raton 1998. By October 1999, Brewzzi was his full-time employer. About the time Fran began this new job, Brewzzi owners decided to shift brewing perspectives. Originally an all-ale brewhouse, lagers were given new priority. Though he had previously brewed only a handful of lagers, and had absolutely no decoction experience, the now-seasoned brewmaster took on this new venture with zeal.
The Brewzzi brewery consists of a copper-clad, steam-fired 15-barrel brewhouse, where every brew requires single decoction, and five 15-barrel fermenters with an equal number of serving vessels. Annual capacity is listed at 900 barrels. Brewzzi produce 650 barrels in 2000 and in 2001.
Fran’s basic staple of six recipes keeps four tap handles well supplied. Boca Fest is Marzen/Vienna in style. Orange-copper in hue, smooth in mouthfeel, the Fest’s flavor derives from a blend of Munich and Crystal malts. Aroma is nutty and sweet, resulting in a proper lager festbier. Naturally, Boca Blonde is Brewzzi’s most popular beer. Saaz and Hallertau hops embrace this bright golden, simple lager, resulting in a clean, flavorful drink. Tropical Madness utilizes an identical recipe, enhanced with fruit extract that gives this cool, hot weather drink just a hint of apricot, blueberry, peach and raspberry essence.
Blessed with slight chocolate and roasted malt goodness, Black Duke Dark is a rich, deep amber brown Dunkel. Medium bodied with 4% abv, it is inspiringly complex in maltiness, with whispers of chocolate and roasted coffee. Black Duke derives its malt character and bready aroma from dark Munich malts. Brewzzi’s Oatmeal Stout is a full bodied, 5% abv ale best described as roasty, toasty and chocolaty. Oats give this popular seasonal offering silky smooth mouthfeel and extreme drinkability. A light amber hued German-style ale, Boca Alt is malty, fruity in aroma and flavor. A special yeast and late addition hops help balance the juxtaposition of sweet malt contrasted to aggressive hoppiness. Fran call this one a “truly unique beer.”
Brewzzi does some serious business during the zany January through March tourist season, though the hospitable brewpub gets strong year-round support from the locals. Situated next to Town Center Mall in downtown Boca Raton, Brewzzi offers 250 seats beneath a 20-foot high ceiling that simulates the interior of a wooden beer cask, with slats and bolts, and an amazing array of Italian/American cuisine. Architecture is brick and copper. Atmosphere is casual, high energy and contemporary. As the name says, Brewzzi Bakery makes its own bread and pizza dough. Italian dishes like Chicken Scarpariello, Sausage Di Casa, prepared with Brewzzi’s own freshly made sausage, and Baked Eggplant Parmigiana compete with Brewzzi Italian Stallion Pizza, Pizza Florentina and Quatro Fromagio Pizza. Salads, burgers and panini also pair well with Fran’s tempting European-style beers, as does an appetizer menu that runs from Beer-battered Onion Rings to Steamed Mussels to Australia Fried Quatro Fromagio Ravioli.
There’s a new Brewzzi in West Palm Beach. This 11,000 square foot City Place brewpub seats 420. The concept for this new facility was more of the same, but bigger. The new brewhouse will allow Brewer Andrewlevich and an able assistant the ability to do double and triple decoction brews. A hop back is also included in the brewery’s equipment, broadening the scope of this brewery’s recipes beyond that of the Boca Raton Brewzzi
Fran’s first memories of beer date back to his childhood. Sent to the ‘frig to bring his father a beer, that cool bottle found its way to the curious lad’s lips before delivery was complete. This practice was “repeated for several years.” As far as craft beer, the 1991 Oregon Brewers Festival was an eye-opening, life-changing experience for the Fran, who describes that event with the exclamation, “Oh my God!”
His recitation of the Brewzzi’s attitude is just as poignant. “Brewzzi’s philosophy on life is similar to our philosophy on beer: Enjoy it!”
Brewzzi Microbrewery, Bakery & Pizza
222 Glades Road
Boca Raton, FL 33431-7314
brewpub days/hours open:
Sunday thru Thursday: 11:30AM – 12 Midnight
Friday & Saturday: 11:30AM – 1:00AM
brewery tours by appointment