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Invasive Species Brewing Promises To Be Fort Lauderdale’s Funkiest New Brewery

by Eric Barton Aug 07, 2017 01:37 PM

If you’re wondering what Fort Lauderdale’s new Invasive Species Brewing is pouring and what it’ll be known for as a brewery, you might want to take a sip of the Bleu Bird.

Technically it’s a Saison, that Belgian farmhouse style ale that’s typically full of fruit like bananas and spices like cloves. This one, though, is mellowed after four months aging in French oak. 

Then there’s the blueberries, 140 pounds of them, hand-picked at north Florida farms. They sat in the beer until the yeast ate all the sugar from them, leaving behind only the subtle flavor of wild blueberries. 

And that yeast? It’s a wild strain, unlike anything used by big breweries. It’s bready and funky and completely unique. 

In the end, the Bleu Bird is a Belgian Saison mellowed in oak, with a background of blueberry, and then a fascinating funk from the wild yeast. 

It is a beer that’s a lot like Invasive Species Brewing, a place designed by the brewers to be unquestionably funky. From the mounted animal heads and hides on the walls to the up-and-coming Flagler Village location, this isn’t a brewery that seems poised to be the next juggernaut beer hall, but instead more of a community hangout with some entirely unique brews. 

The place was opened by four dudes who all had existing street cred in beer. Chris and Jordan Bellus are the brothers behind The Laser Wolf, that equally funky craft beer bar just over the railroad tracks from the new brewery. They teamed up with two experienced brewers, Josh Levitt and Phil Gillis, who have both worked at some of the biggest breweries in South Florida.

The Bellus brothers, natives of Fort Lauderdale, had been talking about opening a brewery pretty much since they opened Laser Wolf in 2011. Back then it seemed more like a dream, long before the craft beer craze that has given birth to breweries all over town. 

Chris and Jordan Bellus met up with Levitt and Gillis through the local beer scene years ago and started dreaming of their own place. For about three years they were scouting locations and searching for funding. With about $110,000 in help from the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency, they settled on a storefront that, a decade ago, used to be a sprinkler shop. 

At first, Chris Bellus admits they had no idea how to do it. “You want to open a Subway, and corporate hands you a packet to bring to the city for all your approvals,” he says. “We had to figure out every step.”

They bought two five-barrel tanks from a distributor in Tampa and hauled them back to town in the back of Chris Bellus’ truck, with people on the Turnpike giving them thumbs up the whole way. 

Right now, they have the capacity to brew 2,500 barrels a year. They’ll sell it in the taproom of the brewery and eventually also sell growlers, bottles and kegs to go. Eventually, they’re planning to add eight 10-barrel tanks, which would be enough to start thinking about distribution.

Because they’re not distributing now, they don’t have to brew a few standards, like at most breweries, says Levitt. “We love beer, and we want to brew everything,” he says. “We will always have a lighter beer, and we will always have something hoppy, but we can change it up whenever we want.”

And, they promise, there will always be something entirely different, likely that you’ve never had before. Beside the Bleu Bird, there’s also the Ninja Juice, brewed from rice and fermented with a strain of yeast typically used for sake. It’s a smooth ale that tastes like caramel with a bit of that funk from a shot of sake. 

It is, just as Invasive Species was designed, like nothing you’ve seen before. 

 726 NE Second Ave., Fort Lauderdale; invasivespeciesbrewing.bigcartel.com

Photos by Eric Barton


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Invasive Species Brewing Promises To Be Fort Lauderdale’s Funkiest New Brewery Invasive Species Brewing Promises To Be Fort Lauderdale’s Funkiest New Brewery

If you’re wondering what Fort Lauderdale’s new Invasive Species Brewing is pouring and what it’ll be known for as a brewery, you might want to take a sip of the Bleu Bird.

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