Owner Darwin Santa Maria closed on the former Bradenton Press building at 803 17th Ave. W. last week, according to the brewery. The company hopes to begin brewing on a 15-barrel system early in 2014. Darwin Brewing will put their beer in kegs, cans and growlers.
Santa Maria said the brewery's beers will include:
• A spiced porter made with hot peppers and cacao
• A saison (a rustic, farmhouse style of ale) made with orange blossom honey, lemongrass and lavender
• A Berliner weisse made with sweet plantains, passionfruit, Peruvian purple corn and mango. This sounds like it will join the ranks of the nascent Florida Weisse style: Low-alcohol, tart wheat brews made with fruit that are great in our hot weather.
According to the brewery, the site will have a tasting room, beer garden and space for live music. The brewery will also invite food trucks to the property.
New brewmaster Jorge Rosabal, who has deep experience in production brewing, will be in charge of brewing at the brewpub and the new brewery.
The brewery is the second in planning near Bradenton's Village of the Arts neighborhood, along with Motorworks Brewing, which is renovating a former car dealership at 1014 9th St. W.
“Bradenton’s always been this sleepy little town," said David Gustafson, executive director of the Bradenton Downtown Development Authority. "Now we’re going through this massive renaissance.” Gustafson said craft breweries like Darwin Brewing and Motorworks will provide higher-paying jobs and attract craft beer tourists.
Darwin Brewing is one of five production breweries -- along with JDub's, Big Top, Motorworks and Little Giant -- in the works in Sarasota and Manatee counties. There are no production breweries in either county now.
Beer Geek trivia: The site for Darwin Brewing Co. is across the street from the site where Michael Wagner hoped to open Little Giant Brewery. That site didn't work out for Wagner, and he's hoping to open at 301 7th St. E. That would make three production breweries in Bradenton. JDub's is the only brewery planned in the city of Sarasota; Big Top is in unincorporated Sarasota County.