Darwin Brewing sets opening date for Bradenton brewery

cschelle@bradenton.comMay 2, 2014 

BRADENTON -- Bradenton's second microbrewrey, Darwin Brewing Co., is set to open May 24.

The brewery, 803 17th Ave. W., features Andean-inspired beers and is a sister operation to Sarasota restaurant Darwin's on 4th, 1525 Fourth St.

"We're just stoked to be here," chef and owner Darwin Santa Maria said. The Peru native added that the Bradenton establishment would be the first full Peruvian brewery in the United States.

The grand opening will run from noon to 10 p.m., and will see the opening of the brewery and tasting room. A soft opening is being planned for next week, but no date has been announced.

The bar and 15-barrel tasting room is owned by Santa Maria, business partner Matt Cornelius and will be overseen by head brewmaster Jorge Rosabal. The brewery also features a beer garden, space for food truck rallies, canning, kegging and growlers.

The tasting room will feature eight Darwin brews plus four guest taps, and the Darwin beer will include a mix of Peruvian flavors and spices and locally sourced ingredients, said Santa Maria, who traveled to Peru in search of new spices to try. It will be up to Rosabal to help perfect the experimentation.

"What I love here is being creative, the use of new spices and everything he came back with from Peru," Rosabal said. "I have to start like I'm back in school making the recipes. We're not staying with the same flavors, we're always working with something new."

That also includes Rosabal's experience with German beers, leading him to make Florida Weisse beers, which are a Florida variation on German Berliner Weisse.

He'll experiment with Amazonian wood flavors for a smoky taste, plus another with camu camu, a sour/sweet-tasting fruit and another spiced porter beer combining Florida orange blossom honey with Amazonian peppers.

Food trucks will also line up along the building and will soon include a Darwin's on 4th food truck.

"We're building a food

truck in our new location -- our own food truck -- and people are excited to see our food in Bradenton," Santa Maria said. Don't expect the truck to be going around town to promote the bar by offering food in the afternoon. Instead, the Darwin's on 4th food truck will be at festivals around Tampa Bay as well as Darwin Brewing.

The beer and food will be at more affordable prices than the high-end Darwin's on 4th experience, with beers mainly priced around $5 to $6 and food ranging from $5 to $10.

"The same flavors will be there, but it will be more authentic street food," Santa Maria said.

Some features of the Darwin Brewing has changed. Gone is the prototype llama logo and instead, a finch with Nazca lines.

"The finch is because of Darwin's evolution," Santa Maria explained, a nod to Darwin's finches. "We wanted our logo to represent our evolution, our Peruvian heritage and something fresh."

A Ringling College of Art and Design student is in the midst of creating graffiti-inspired art murals on the walls of the tasting room and the brewery to pull together the vibe of the Peruvian artwork and the urban neighborhood, he said. The art will feature pre-Incan woman brewing beer because elite women made the first beer during those times.

Canning operations will start in about 60 days after opening, he said, with the goal of distributing his beer to area bars and restaurants.

Initial hours will be 3 to 10 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, he said, and noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sundays. Brewery tours will initially run from noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays with hopes of expanding tours to Fridays and Sundays.

The demand might be there sooner than later. During construction, Santa Maria had to turn away people coming in for the Bradenton Marauders games. "They bring a crowd, which is good," he said.

Soon, people can grab a beer before baseball.

"We'll be open four days at the beginning, and hope to add more days and hours to meet demand," he said. "Time will tell."

Charles Schelle, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow him on Twitter @ImYourChuck.

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