April 20, 2014

Executive Lifestyle in Florida

Beer gardens at the head of the class

Chris Sherman | 9/20/2012

Hofbrau Beer Garden
Panama City

Hofbrau Beer Garden replicates the Munich biergarten and places it smack in the equally classic Florida sun and fun of the Pier. The setting is beachside, but servers are in Old World dresses and lederhosen aprons, not short shorts and cutoff T-shirts. The brew is pure Bavaria, the original Hofbrau beers plus dunkel, maibock and more.

Beyond Beer Nuts

Beer food is casual, meaty and spicy and increasingly sophisticated. The more common flavor is that of the gastropub, which gave comfort foods chef-ly care and bolder rustic flavors. This summer, Mr. Beery’s in Sarasota celebrated Bacon Happy Hour with candied bacon biscuits from an artisan baker. The Ravenous Pig, Winter Park’s pioneer gastropub, will get deeper in beer when it opens Cask & Larder this month, brewing its own beer and pairing it with barbecue and old-school Southern supper dishes.

The English Tap & Beer Garden in Palm Beach has one of the finer menus, as much Mediterranean as British — the “English” in the title belongs to Todd English, the energetic celebrity chef. Shepherd’s pie, of course — and asparagus frites.

The most exotic beer and food pairing is in Sarasota at Darwin’s on 4th. Peruvian chef Darwin Santa Maria opened his newest restaurant in space where the previous tenant had been a microbrewer. So to his signature style of ceviches, tiraditos and updated Latin grills, he has added a dozen brews and ales with flavors of Peru, including chicha, the thin native home brew.

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