By AARON WORMUS
Palms West Monthly
Posted July 6, 2019
I was recently browsing the Visit Palm Beach website at visitpalmbeach.com when I discovered there’s an official Ale Trail of the Palm Beaches.
The Ale Trail stretches a whopping 38 miles and covers 19 breweries both small and large, from the northern Civil Society Brewing in Jupiter to the Robot Brewing Company & Quixotic Lounge nano brewery in Boca Raton to the family-owned Royal Palm Brewing Company out west in Royal Palm Beach.
I loved the idea of an ale trail, so I decided to map out some local breweries that can be easily visited by walking in downtown West Palm Beach. So let’s get to it.
American Craft Aleworks
American Craft Aleworks, at 200 Clematis St., is downtown’s newest brewery so that’s where we’ll start our trip. ACA opened just after SunFest and is starting to make a splash. It’s unique in that it’s a brewery which has an executive chef and two full bars. There really is something for everyone.
Music fills the space when the band is set up on the second floor balcony, and the views stretch out onto the West Palm Beach Waterfront, making it the perfect place to sip on the brewery’s 1925 Lager.
West Palm Brewery and Wine Vault
Our second stop on the trail is only two blocks away: West Palm Brewery and Wine Vault at 332 Evernia St.
West Palm Brewery was the first brewery to open in downtown, where it overhauled the former Hard Exercise Works cross fit gym and started brewing beer. You can sit inside the expansive tap room or outside at one of the picnic tables which sit in reclaimed parking spaces.
The beer is brewed by local legend Joel Kodner, and truly is exquisite. I recommend that you try the Five Six One Hefeweizen, winner of the 2019 Best Beer in Florida in the German Style Wheat category. If you prefer wine, you can relax at the wine bar and choose from the Pankauski Cellars label, which focuses primarily on the Napa and Sonoma regions.
West Palm Brewery does an excellent job of hosting events. Whether it’s soccer watch parties, food and beer pairings, stand-up comedy or its epic polka block party, there’s always something happening.
Civil Society Brewing
The next stop on our tour is the newest brewery in West Palm Beach. Walk down South Dixie Highway past the Norton Museum of Art, and then turn left at Kanuga Drive to Civil Society Brewing.
Civil Society broke into the West Palm Beach scene with a pop-up at The Thoroughfare on Clematis Street. The owners painted the patio space, set up a bar and for 10 days they served their notoriously hazy beer to patrons.
Afterward, we didn’t hear from them until I saw people checking in from a warehouse by the railroad tracks at 425 Kanuga Dr. There are no signs, just a discrete door which leads you into the brewery.
The new space is a brewery in the back and a tasting room in the front. As a dog-friendly brewery, they treat both their human and furry friends as family. I recommend the IPA they call Fresh to Death. And if you’re hungry, order food from Grato or one of the other restaurants just around the corner.
Steam Horse Brewing
Once you’ve thoroughly enjoyed your IPA, we’re ready for the next stop on our tour, Steam Horse Brewing located in the Warehouse District. The six-block walk goes through the beautiful Flamingo Park neighborhood, past the Armory Arts Center and the city’s beautiful new Fire Rescue Station No. 4.
Steam Horse Brewing, at 1500 Elizabeth Ave., is the creation from the brewmasters of Tequesta Brewing Company in Jupiter and Twisted Trunk in Palm Beach Gardens. It’s built on top of tracks that used to bring steam-powered trains through this industrial district.
My favorite beer here is the Steam Horse Lager, but you can’t go wrong with any of the brews on the menu. Great eats can be procured from the food court down the street at the Grandview Public Market.
There’s always something to see and do in the Warehouse District, which continues to be one of the area’s hot spots.
Ookapow Brewing Company
The fifth and final stop on our ale trail is Ookapow Brewing which bills itself as West Palm Beach’s first nanobrewery. This is by far the smallest brewery on our tour, but it serves some big beers as part of the rotating 15 beers it has on tap. Visit the brewery and taproom just down the road at 1142 Old Okeechobee Rd.
So there you have it. Walk five miles, savor five beers. Now, your homework is to visit the area’s most unique brewery, Dixie Grill & Bar at 5101 S. Dixie Hwy., and get ready for the opening of Northwood Village’s first brewery, Skunkworts Brewing Concern.