Florida Craft Brewery: Saltwater Brewery
Location: 1701 W. Atlantic Blvd, Delray Beach, FL. 33444
Known For: The Screamin’ Reels IPA is by far Saltwater’s most popular offering. Whether at the bar, from a growler while you’re at home watching the game, or drinking it from a can while out fishing or spending a day at the beach it’s a beer made with Florida’s lifestyle in mind. Saltwater uses wood from the Seagrape tree in a number of their beers. I believe they are the only brewery to use this type of wood in the brewing process. Seagrapes are found all over South Florida and the Caribbean and speak to the homegrown spirit Saltwater encompasses. Founded by Florida natives, Saltwater lives, works, and plays very close to the ocean if not on it. They take great pride in working with ocean based charities such as the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA), the Surfrider Foundation, the Ocean Foundation, and the MOTE Marine Lab.
Current Beer Menu: Saltwater keeps a nice assortment of styles with nine different beers on tap plus two guest taps. A Kolsch, tripel, pale ale, lager, porter, IPA, wheat ale, milk stout, and DIPA. The guest taps consisted of Cigar City Brewing’s Invasion Pale Ale and Accomplice Brewery & Ciderworks Strawberry Cider. Their website is constantly updated to keep the tap list up to date. I ordered a flight which consisted of the Don’t Get Confused Tripel, Mayday Imperial Porter, Sea Cow Milk Stout, and Tides of the Reef Room Batch #5 DIPA. Out of the four, I favored Mayday the most, but that may just be my love for imperial porters and stouts coming through. I also tried the Locale Extra Pale Ale, which is Saltwater’s take off of Rolling Rock and the Lighthouse Lager, which is Saltwater’s take off of Yuengling. Saltwater brews both of these as a gateway to those beer drinkers who may not be familiar with the world of small-batch craft beer. Saltwater’s head brewer, Dustin Jeffers, was nice enough to spend some time talking and offered a taste of their recent collaboration with the Funky Buddha Brewery. It’s a gose, named Salty Buddha, that uses salt obtained directly from the Atlantic Ocean and I’m here to tell you it was damn tasty. I could see sitting out on the Jupiter inlet jetty, a couple of lines in the water, and a growler of Salty Buddha for an all day session.
Price Range: Flights consist of any four 4oz beers for $6.00. 12oz offerings and pints range from $5.00 to $6.00. Growlers range from $8.00 to $15.00 and the growler glass (if you don’t already have one) will cost you $8.00 for both the 32oz and 64oz. Six packs of Sea Cow Milk Stout and Screamin’ Reels IPA are also available for $10.99.
Wine Menu: Typically wine is available to quell the thirst of those not looking for a beer and Saltwater is no different. An assortment of white and red wines are available by both the glass and by the bottle. A glass will run you anywhere from $6.00 to $10.00 and a bottle will cost between $18.00 and $30.00.
Food Menu: Food trucks are available every day except Sunday. Saltwater provides a calendar on their website that is updated 2 weeks ahead of time. If the food truck doesn’t interest you the bar has an assortment of delivery menus from the area eateries.
Ambiance: Saltwater is one of my favorite area breweries to sit and have a beer. When you walk in you’ll find the Reef Room (tasting room) to be bright and welcoming with an endless loop of great tunes coming from overhead. Walking past a row of high-top tables brings you to the bar where your next important decisions will be made. Following along with the ocean theme, there are two saltwater fish tanks off to either side of the bar and a number of stunning saltwater prints on the wall. Brewery tours are available Wednesday at 7:00pm, Saturday at 5:00pm, Sunday at 5:00pm, and private tours are available for groups of ten or more. Contact the brewery to work out the details for a private tour.
Bar Seating: The bar itself provides 12 seats while four high tops, 9 bar stools set along the windows, and a very comfortable looking group of leather couches rounds out the brewery seating. There are also five picnic tables outside in the beer garden where you can relax or play a game of cornhole.
Staff: Chris Gove, Saltwater’s President, was nice enough to spend a few minutes with me answering any questions I had. I mentioned to him that I wasn’t the biggest fan of their beer when they first opened their doors. He then proceeded to share how the head brewer who they started brewing with was more talk than he was action and that’s when Dustin Jeffers took over. Dustin started as the assistant brewer and was thankfully given the head position. What they are producing now is leaps and bounds above what was originally coming out of their brew house in the beginning and Dustin is the reason why. Mike and Laurie were the two pouring the delicious suds while I was on the premises. Mike was a wealth of information and took a few minutes away from the bar to walk me back into the heart of the operation for a few pictures.
Merch: Artist and co-founder Peter Agardy painted the depictions of beach and ocean life for the tap handles and beer labels. Signed prints of his work are available for sale and depict the beer in action. The prints range in price from $50.00 to $650.00 and sizes range from 9 x 12” to 30 x 40.” Men and women’s t-shirts, in varying styles, are available for $20.00 to $30.00. Long sleeve fishing shirts will run you $35.00 while a sweatshirt is $40.00. Hats go for between $20.00 and $25.00 depending on whether you want the trucker or flex-fit style. Glassware consisting of a snifter, beer can glass, and pint glass run between $7.00 and $8.00. Koozies and key chains are also available for $2.00. Everything is available on their website and can be seen here.
Membership offered: Saltwater doesn’t offer a membership and has no immediate plans for one, but they do provide punch cards where after your ninth growler fill your tenth is free. They also offer 25% off growler fills on Tuesdays.
Best days or time of year to go: Any weekday before 4:00pm when the traffic on I-95 begins to build is your best time to beat the rush. Saturdays are typically busy while Sunday tends to be on the slower side.
Regular Hours: Sunday – Wednesday: 12:00pm – 11:00pm, Thursday – Saturday: 12:00pm – 12:00am
Happy Hour: Monday – Thursday 12:00 – 6:00pm, Friday: 12:00pm – 3:00pm. Take $1.00 off the beers that are marked on the menu.
-Saltwater will be having their first ever bottle release on a yet to be named date. It will be a 22oz bomber called Black Current. The beer is a strong ale coming in at 12% abv and is brewed with Black Currants and aged on Seagrape wood. Stay tuned to their Facebook page for more details.
-The building Saltwater now calls home was once an antique furniture store. Before that, it was an animal feed store which is why it has the rustic look and feel of a barn. Apparently, the feed store also sold Wrangler jeans. At least that’s the story the old timers give to the bartenders.
-The roof trusses, rafters, and beams are all made from Dade County Pine and are a part of the original construction. Dade County Pine is no longer available due to South Florida being overrun by man. The wood is known for its almost concrete like strength. The older a piece of wood gets, the stronger it becomes due to the resin build up within the wood that hardens over time.
-When you walk into the Reef Room look to the right and you will see a weather-beaten wood covering the wall. That wood was repurposed from a local dock and perfectly fits with the rustic feel of the brewery. Some of the prints for sale are displayed on this recycled backdrop.
-Saltwater will be expanding their distribution footprint into Jacksonville in May after signing with Champion Brands and into Saint Augustine towards the end of May after signing with SR Perrot, Inc.
Overall Rating (1-5): Saltwater has what I consider to be one of the most relaxing tap rooms I have had the pleasure of experiencing. Their beer is on point and the staff has always been accommodating. I am rating them a 4.5.
What was missing: I was hoping to find their Scotch Ale (Flying Scotsmen) on tap, but unfortunately it wasn’t. The Scotch Ale is one of my favorite styles and one of the beers that just wasn’t right under the original head brewer.
In closing, if you’re in the South Florida area and you’re looking for a good beer and a relaxing time Saltwater is definitely one to add to your brewery list. They are easily accessible from I-95 and the big red building can actually be seen as you’re heading south. I know you have always wondered what It says on the side of the building as you’re doing 85 mph down the highway and I think it’s time for you to find out. I know I will definitely be back down to visit soon.
Did I leave anything out or is there something else you would like to know about Saltwater Brewery? Please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment below.