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Motorworks Brewing opens in Bradenton

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    STAFF PHOTO / ALAN SHAW

    Motorworks Brewing became the first production brewery in Manatee County when it opened today at 1014 9th St. W. in Bradenton with a preview for Facebook fans. The brewery's soft opening is Wednesday and they plan an official grand opening in February. I stopped by and got a tour and a chance to sample some of their beers. In a nutshell: They have quite the setup and very ambitious plans.

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    STAFF PHOTO / ALAN SHAW

    Tasting room

    Motorworks has one of the largest tasting rooms of any brewery I've visited, with a capacity of about 100 people, according to Dean Lambert, director of operations. In addition to house beers, patrons can drink brews from other craft breweries, as well as wine and liquor. I don't know of another brewery tasting room that serves liquor. Lambert says they wanted to offer liquor and wine to appeal to a broader crowd than just beer drinkers. In addition, Motorworks is trying to feature local breweries, wineries and distilleries, he said. The brewery won't serve food, but will have food trucks on site several days a week, Lambert said. In a neat move, patrons can order food from the wait staff (instead of walking over to the trucks) and have everything appear on one bill, he said.

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    STAFF PHOTO / ALAN SHAW

    Old car ramp

    In a past life, Motorworks' building housed a Hudson car dealership. The two-story building still has the concrete ramp that was used to move vehicles from floor to floor. Lambert says Motorworks will likely use the area to house its barrel-aged beers, since the temperature is cooler around the ramp.

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    STAFF PHOTO / ALAN SHAW

    Fat pipe

    A brewery uses a lot of water. To accommodate their needs for thousands and thousands of gallons a day, Motorworks installed a four-inch pipe.

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    STAFF PHOTO / ALAN SHAW

    The beers

    You were probably wondering when I was going to get to the beer. Here's a  Motorworks sample flight of, left to right, porter, India pale ale, Belgian golden and Kolsch. They were all very good. The porter was a nice treat, with complex chocolate and coffee flavors, and even a hint of smoke. The brewery is giving away beer samples because not all of their brewing equipment is installed and they couldn't make enough beer to meet the demand of full pints, Lambert said. Look for Motorworks beers at local bars in March, he said, with cans to follow.

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    STAFF PHOTO / ALAN SHAW

    Big fermenter

    It was a busy day for the brewery. In addition to opening to the public, they also recieved a lot of their big pieces of brewing equipment. Here the Motorworks crew unloads one of their 90-barrel fermenters. (I made a Vine of the unload.) This sucker will hold 2,790 gallons of beer, and it's just one of several being installed. Motorworks has big plans, according to Dean Lambert, the director of operations. When the equipment is installed, "they can make more beer than Cigar City can," he said, referring to the Tampa craft brewery that can make 60,000 barrels of beer a year.

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    STAFF PHOTO / ALAN SHAW

    Beer garden

    Motorworks has a big tasting room, but they have a bigger beer garden. A deck, putting green, bocce court and more surround a large oak. There's room for large musical acts a well. Looks for this to be a hot spot in the evenings.

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