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Darwin's replaces brewmaster

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Jorge_Rosabal_Darwins

Jorge Rosabal is the new brewmaster at Darwin Brewing Co. and Darwin's on 4th restaurant in Sarasota. COURTESY PHOTO

Darwin Brewing Co., the production brewery offshoot of Darwin’s on 4th restaurant, has made a significant change in its booming beer business. Jared Barnes, brewmaster since Darwin’s opened about a year and a half ago, has been replaced by Jorge Rosabal. Responsible for the brewing and development of the Holsten brand in the Honduran market, it was Rosabal’s background as an operations manager in Central America that played a key role in him landing the job.

“Me and Jorge have been talking for the past three or four months about our goal to do production brewing with his experience in bigger productions,” said Darwin Santa Maria, the chef/owner at Darwin’s on 4th who is a native of Peru. “We were looking for someone more professional to get us to that level of production brewing that we want to be at.”

Darwin Brewing Co. announced last month it hoped to start construction on its facility for creating, canning and kegging beer at Darwin’s in early June. The restaurant, which seats nearly 200 on two levels, is the center of Sarasota’s burgeoning entertainment district known as North of Fruitville (NOF). But it no longer seems it will be the home of Darwin Brewing Co., which now has a goal of opening by the end of the year.

Darwin's on 4th chef Darwin Santa Maria. (Photo provided by El Pasaporte Gastronomico)

Darwin's on 4th chef Darwin Santa Maria. (Photo provided by El Pasaporte Gastronomico)

“We’re having some problems right now with the zoning,” Santa Maria said. “We don’t want to wait any longer. Our hopes were to do it at our own brewery but this little hiccup of zoning has us starting to look for another location in downtown Sarasota, Manatee County or Lakewood Ranch.

In March, Darwin Brewing Co. won 13 medals at the Best Florida Beer Championships in Tampa. It’s the biggest annual competition for Florida craft brewers. Barnes' Summadayze IPA, which won a gold medal, also earned third place for Best Beer in Florida.

In separate interviews, Barnes and Santa Maria maintained the split is amicable.

“We just had different ideas and different goals,” Barnes said. “He wanted to go one way and I wanted another. It was a mutual agreement and a good year and a half – we parted on good terms.”

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Darwin Brewing Co. brewmaster Jared Barnes with his second runner-up award for Best Beer in Florida 2013. (Photo provided by Darwin Brewing Co.)

Barnes said he’s in talks with breweries in California, Colorado and Delaware, “but they’re definitely talks for staying local, too, with a couple different breweries in Sarasota, Manatee and Pinellas.”

Darwin’s on 4th’s extensive beer menu includes everything from a West Coast IPA and an English stout to its Zurich lager and a specialty beer called Charapa; which is made with cacao nibs, aji charapita peppers, annatto, and orange Blossom honey. Rosabal is already working on a recipe for a new brew but fans of the existing selections shouldn’t worry.

“The beer I found here in Darwin’s is very good,” Rosabal said. “I’m only concerned a little about the consistency because every batch should be the same. There should be a little more control and follow-up procedures for it to be a good beer and keep it that way and make it better.”

Darwin’s on 4th; 1525 4th St., Sarasota; 343-2165; darwinson4th.com

–Previous reporting by Alan Shaw, an editor at the Herald-Tribune and our Beer Geek columnist, was used in this story.

 

Last modified: June 7, 2013
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