On the Ale Trail: Barrel of Monks Brewing

May 6, 2021

We chatted with Joel Kodner, head brewer of Boca Raton’s Barrel of Monks Brewing, and got this inside scoop on his favorite beers and local hidden gems.

You’ll find Barrel of Monks Brewing in the Penn-Florida Commerce Center (1141 South Rogers Circle #5, Boca Raton, FL 33487), but don’t let the office building exterior fool you. Once you enter, the taproom features exposed brick, rich colors, shimmering chandeliers and varied seating arrangements.
 
Founded by a group of friends, Barrel of Monks focuses exclusively on quality, Belgian-style beers like The Wizard wit (5.5% ABV), Single in the Sun singel (4.5% ABV), Abbey Terno dubbel (7.5% ABV) and Endless Enigma Belgian pale ale (6% ABV), alongside rotating taps pouring limited releases like the 2021 Den of Sins bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout (11.5% ABV) and Love Street, a dry-hopped blonde that was developed with the team from Jupiter’s Love Street project and includes notes of passionfruit.  
 

Joel Kodner is head brewer of Barrel of Monks Brewing. After enjoying drinking craft beer for a couple years, he decided he wanted to make it himself. He took a homebrew class at the old Funky Buddha Lounge, bought himself a homebrew kit, and then found out he wasn’t allowed to brew on his apartment’s patio. Oh well, he ended up brewing for the first time on a production scale nearly 100 times the size of a homebrew batch. We asked Joel our Brewmaster Q&A and here is what he had to say:

Joel Kodner at Barrel of Monks
Photo by Omar Shinez

Tell us about your brewing experience.
I joined Due South Brewing Co. on their opening day in 2012 as a part-time beer-tender, and the following year, left my corporate career to join the brewhouse full-time, and worked my way up to head brewer by 2017. During that time, I attended concise courses in brewing science at both UC Davis and the Siebel Institute. From 2017-2020, I was head brewer at West Palm Brewery, where we proudly won several local and national awards, including Best in Show at the 2019 Best Florida Beer Competition.
 
What type of brewing style do you specialize in?
My favorite beers to make lean toward the darker side, such as brown ales, porters and dark English mild.

How long have you been with your brewery?
I’ve been with Barrel of Monks for almost four months.

Decor at Barrel of Monks
Photo by Omar Shinez

Describe your brewery in five words.
1. Delicious beers! (OK, that one’s a two-fer)
2. Upscale
3. Quality
4. Craftsmanship
5. See #1
 
What sets your brewery apart from others on the Ale Trail of The Palm Beaches?
Barrel of Monks specializes in all Belgian-style beers and has harmoniously blended old-world styles with modern trends and techniques, with offerings ranging from traditional to experimental.

Three types of beer at Barrel of Monks
Photo by Omar Shinez

Tell us about your signature beer.
Our signature beer is The Wizard, a 5.5% ABV Belgian-style witbier, or wheat beer, brewed with European malts, orange peel and fresh ground coriander.
 
What types of styles or flavors do you like to experiment with? Any unusual ingredients you’ve used?
My favorite flavors to tinker with are from locally roasted coffees. Just like beer, real coffee offers so many more flavors and aromas than what most people know it to be. Coffee in beer —  the best of both worlds!
 
What should people know about the craft beer scene in The Palm Beaches?
The brewery scene has exploded here in the last decade. Whether you’re looking for well-crafted, traditional “beer-flavored beer” or culinary-inspired, hyper-experimental brews, there’s something for everyone here.
 
What is the perfect beer to drink on a sunny day?
Single in Havana, our Belgian-style singel with guava.

Patio at Barrel of Monks
Photo by Omar Shinez

Say you need a break from beer. Where do you go for a drink, and what do you get?
Sonic Cherry Limeade with a splash of Milagro silver tequila.
 
Where was the last great local meal you had and what was it?
Flautas and carnitas tacos at Taqueria Guerrero in West Palm Beach.
 
Describe your perfect day in The Palm Beaches.
Those rare days when it’s 75 degrees and breezy, enjoying a crystal-clear lager on a brewery patio with my wife and best friends.
 
What would you tell a first-time visitor to do while they’re here?
Check out all the local breweries, and seek out those hidden gem restaurants with Latin and Caribbean fare.

Barrel of Monks entrance
Photo by Omar Shinez

Ready to Visit?

The taproom is open Tuesday through Thursday from 4 to 10 p.m., Fridays from 4 to 11 p.m., Saturdays from noon to 11 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 7 p.m. Special events include beer and food pairings, as well as throwdowns — where the Barrel of Monks owners battle the brewers for bragging rights or the brewery invites other local breweries in for a friendly competition. Barrel of Monks features food full-time through Cheffrey Eats, a local food truck known for burgers. While the menu is always revolving, guests can enjoy weekly specials like BOGO Beer Tuesday, Wing Night Wednesday and Taco Night Thursdays.
 
Barrel of Monks enthusiasts may be interested in its Brotherhood membership program, which includes swag and insider perks, or the exclusive “Reserve Society,” which offers a variety of benefits such as small batch brews, taproom discounts and early access to special releases.
 
Before you go, make sure to get your Ale Trail of The Palm Beaches savings pass for exclusive savings at breweries throughout The Palm Beaches.

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Image of woman Cristlye Egitto
Cristyle Egitto
Cristyle Egitto is a South Florida native, born in Miami, raised in Palm Beach and educated at the University of Florida. She founded the food blog EatPalmBeach in 2013 as a way to discover restaurants and culinary talents in the area while supporting local businesses. Her writing has appeared in various publications, and she has been featured on local TV and in multiple magazines.