On the Ale Trail: Mathews Brewing Co.

December 4, 2020

In this series, we’re chatting with local brewmasters about the beers they make, the local craft brewing scene and what every visitor should do while exploring The Palm Beaches.

Just outside downtown Lake Worth Beach in what was once the Lake Worth Herald printing press building, Mathews Brewing Co. is a hot spot on the Ale Trail of The Palm Beaches. The beautifully repurposed space features an expansive taproom and outdoor beer garden. The “Highway to Ale” taproom features industrial metal and wooden fixtures, the brewery’s shining production tanks and a wide bar lined with taps. It’s all complimented by walls of rock ‘n’ roll-inspired artwork.

Mathews usually has a dozen or so drafts on tap. Best known for hazy brews and IPAs, favorites include the Accelerate American IPA (6.9% ABV), Florida Haze New England IPA (7.2% ABV) and Florida Hop Juice New England pale ale (5.8% ABV). Awards hang alongside the beer list for two other favorites, Sweet Emotion cream ale and White Goblin Belgian witbier. Rotational beers like Hop Dynamics red IPA and Rhythm strawberry blonde ale cycle around the core beer offering. Mathews also serves up a smaller selection of cask-conditioned beers like a nut brown ale (5% ABV) and English IPA (5.8% ABV).

David Mathews is the owner and head brewer at Mathews. He sold his civil engineering firm to deep dive into the beer business, bringing a background of science and chemistry. The brewery features a lab, mill, massive coolers and rows of tanks. Fully automated with computerized systems, to make its beers, the brewery produces waters replicating those of Belgium, Germany or any place where a style of beer was created.
 
Why Lake Worth? The city gave Mathews the flexibility to create a communal space with zoning friendly to brewing, food trucks and live music. After two years in the making, Mathews Brewing Co. opened to the public in 2017.    
 
We chatted with David about his background in brewing, Mathews’ signature look and top beers, and his favorite things to do in The Palm Beaches.
 

How did you get into brewing?

I watched a television show one Saturday morning that highlighted a Florida home brewer that had just won the Sam Adams Longshot American Homebrew Contest and it showed how to brew beer at home; this was in 1996. I immediately purchased equipment to brew at home, joined the local home brew club Palm Beach Draughtsmen and developed a passion for brewing quality craft beer.
 

Tell us about your brewing experience.

I have a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering from the University of South Florida in Tampa (my hometown), and I am a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Florida. I home brewed for approximately 19 years and have read several technical brewing books. I have a very good understanding of brewing science and paying attention to the small details that are critical for brewing consistent quality craft beer.
 

Describe your brewery in five words (or phrases).

1. Quality craft beer
2. Fun
3. Dog-friendly
4. Live music venue
5. Large outside beer garden

The beer garden at Mathews Brewing Co.
Photo by Cristyle Egitto

What sets your brewery apart from others on the Ale Trail of the Palm Beaches?

We have a large outside beer garden with a covered stage for live music. We also have lots of murals and a rock garden at the brewery, and we are known for being very dog-friendly.
 

Tell us about your signature beer (or beers).

Accelerate IPA is our American IPA (6.9% ABV). It has a hoppy aroma of citrus, fruit and pine.  This is our No. 1 beer in distribution.
 
Florida Hop Juice is our hazy pale ale (5.8% ABV). It has a smooth, creamy mouthfeel with a big tropical, juicy hop sweetness. This is a juice bomb.
 
Sweet Emotion is our cream ale (4.8% ABV). It is a light bodied ale marinated on fresh Madagascar vanilla beans, which will make your palate want more of this tasty craft beer.

Canned craft beer at Mathews Brewing Co.
Photo by Cristyle Egitto

What types of styles or flavors do you like to experiment with? Any unusual ingredients you’ve used? 

We are experimenting with hazy milkshake IPAs, where we add real vanilla to a hazy type IPA along with various fruits, such as peaches, mangos, strawberries, guava and passionfruit. We also make a delicious Florida Weisse (tart beer) with dragonfruit and passionfruit.  We also like to add toasted coconut to any type of beer, and it tastes great.
 

What should people know about the craft beer scene in The Palm Beaches?      

There are several great local breweries to visit in Palm Beach County along with drinking the local craft beers at restaurants and bars. All the breweries also have beer to go options.
 

What is the perfect beer to drink on a sunny day?           

Florida Hop Juice, which is an easy drinking hazy pale ale.
 

Say you need a break from beer; where do you go for a drink, and what do you get?

When I need a break from beer, my go-to is California Napa Cabernets. I just like to relax poolside in the evening with a nice glass of wine.
 

Where was the last great local meal you had (and what was it)?                              

Viva La Playa in Lake Worth Beach. I had the Tiradito, which is spice-crusted wahoo with tomatillo juice, avocado and jalapeno. It was amazing.
 

Describe your perfect day in The Palm Beaches.               

Drinking local craft beer at the outside bar (Breeze Ocean Kitchen) that faces the Atlantic Ocean at the Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa.

 
What are the three things you’d tell a first-time visitor to do while they’re here?

For sure, visit Mathews Brewing Company for local craft beer and live music. Hit the beaches and enjoy the Atlantic Ocean. A stroll down Atlantic Avenue is always fun.

David Mathews at Mathews Brewing Co.
Photo by Cristyle Egitto

Ready to Visit?

Mathews Brewing Co. is open Tuesday through Thursday from 3:30 to 10 p.m., Friday from 3:30 p.m. to midnight, Saturday from noon to midnight, and Sunday from noon to 8:30 p.m. The brewery welcomes a lineup of food trucks and live music including local favorites like Krazy Train, 56Ace and Spread-the-Dub along with rock tribute bands. A new stage and towering tiki hut provide the perfect backdrop to the outdoor beer garden filled with umbrellas, picnic tables and “zen” seating areas.

Dogs at Mathews Brewing Co.
Photo courtesy Mathews Brewing Co.

The taproom is relaxed and inviting with super family-friendly and dog-friendly policies. It even offers its own organic peanut butter dog treats. While most will want to grab a seat and stay a while, beer lovers are welcome to take home crowlers and growlers of their favorites, as Mathews’ hazy brews and IPAs tend to fly off the taps. The brewery and beer garden are also great spots for private events from weddings to birthday parties.

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.