Most craft breweries try to emphasize how much their beers differ from the norm. However, at least one Florida brewery has chosen to focus on getting back to the basics. Josh Greenberg, cofounder of Wolf Branch Brewing in Eustis, says they are “focused on nailing traditional styles. We want to do the basics really well.” At the same time, they want their beer to stand out, and it does. By keeping their beer traditional in nature, and tying each beer to a story and experience, Greenberg and certified master brewer Jose Villafana are able to create various brews that truly shine.
Wolf Branch strives to keep things local as well. They incorporate a lot of Florida citrus, and like to collaborate with local chefs and restaurants to create innovative food and beer pairings. For example, at the Central Florida Top Brewer Festival held in Casselberry on May 19th, they teamed up with The Glass Knife, an Orlando favorite for decadent desserts. Each brewery entered in the competition received four random ingredients to incorporate into a craft brew. Wolf Branch’s entry combined flaked barley, wai-iti hops, ginger, and boysenberry. The result was a brown ale that was lighter than other similar brews, and the boysenberry was an unexpected but surprisingly refreshing addition. They paired this with a dessert created by Chef Stuart Whitfield at The Glass Knife: a lemon tart with boysenberry crème, hints of lime and a candied-ginger garnish. The hint of lime complemented the beer’s hoppy notes, and the tart’s other flavor profiles drew out its boysenberry essence.
While the dessert was available only at the festival, both Greenberg and Whitfield maintain that the brewery and the bakery make for an excellent pairing anytime. At The Glass Knife, Whitfield says they “want people to understand that you can pair beer with a dessert,” despite what many people think. The reason the beer and dessert pairing were such a huge success at the festival was because both beer fanatics and newbies alike found something to enjoy in the combination. Here’s hoping Wolf Branch Brewery and The Glass Knife team up again very soon.