Brewery Review of LauderAle in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
The idea of being able to go to a brewery and drink the beer fresh from the source is nothing new around the world, as many breweries have offered this for hundreds of years. In the U.S. however, this is something that has really only taken off in the last 20 years or so. A lot of this is due to a lack of local and craft breweries before that, unlike in Europe where you could always find local breweries sprinkled consistently throughout the geography. Therefore, the best way to offer this at a U.S. brewery is something that is still taking shape and up for debate, but I would submit for your consideration that LauderAle does it in its purest form.
LauderAle is a small brewery in a metal warehouse building in the industrial part of town ( I literally drove under a highway overpass to reach them). So how do you create a comfortable place for the public to come and drink your beer on site? The answer is, don’t overthink it. Just build a bar right in the middle of the room, throw a bit of seating around the edges and outside (along with some games), and let the people feel like they’re in a brewery. You don’t need to have separation between the production area and the taproom. You really don’t need bells, whistles or frills. Most people who go out of their way to get beer directly at a brewery want to immerse themselves in the experience. If they wanted to go to a fancy bar they would’ve just stayed downtown. Plus I always feel like you have better access to the actual brewers at places like this, and that’s never a bad thing.
We’ve been to some other breweries with a similar idea, like Resolution Brewing in Anchorage, AK and Hutton & Smith in Chattanooga, TN. I liked it when they did it and I really like it here, but at the end of the day great taproom concepts don’t mean a damn if the beer isn’t good. Thankfully, LauderAle has you covered on that front as well. They have 14 of their own beers on draught as well as 5 guest taps (although their stuff is so good and diverse you probably won’t need them). There’s certainly something here to please every palate, from their Double D IPA to their Gosezilla Guava Gose to their Thrillist Coffee Porter, and many other styles in-between (full beer list here). Everything I tasted was super-fresh, well-balanced and vibrant. There’s also a mug club available for locals.
Those of us in the beer blog business can certainly appreciate a good pun, and the name “LauderAle” really fell right into their laps. However, if they ever choose to expand to nearby cities and open more breweries the names may prove to be more challenging. I would appeal to them not to use “stretch” pun names like “Brewca Raton” or “Porter St. Lucie”. Those types of puns get sweaty quick, and you’re better than that.