Beer Guide: Beer Masters

Get to know some of the leading creators of local brews—in their own words.

Roberto Gonzalez

Beer Guide
Beer Here: An Introduction
Beer Masters
Hop to It
What's on the Outside Counts
Beers to Go

Brent Hernandez – Redlight Redlight

We started brewing three years ago, in small batches. Redlight opened in 2005 and was the only game in town for a long time as a taproom, but that’s all changed now. So I needed to give folks something different. When I look back, I don’t know why we didn’t do it sooner; it’s not as hard as I thought. We’re expanding to a three-barrel system and expect to have eight drafts of our own brews.

I like the unfiltered saisons and sour French farmhouse ales we do.

I think people are really into beer these days because it’s a part of the whole locally sourced movement. I’ll tell you, 13 years ago, I had no idea beer would be this popular. 

Amanda Roberts – Orange County Brewers

I started out enjoying beer, and then making beer. I did an internship at Sea Dog Brewing Company in Clearwater; they taught me everything I know. Everything about the process is things I like to do: being hands on, working with machinery, a lot of busy work, a lot of science. The hours are long, and at the moment there isn’t any air-conditioning in the brewhouse—as I learned the hard way in the summer when it was 100 degrees back here.

Craft brewing is a small community. As a girl in a guy’s world I didn’t know how I would be accepted, but there’s a lot of support and everybody tries to help each other out.

My favorite beer I’m brewing right now is a New England IPA called Bandwagon. It’s a bit different, kind of citrusy and not very hoppy.

I think people are drawn to beer because it spans across age groups. It’s a very social drink. 

Jeanna Malines – Black Cauldron

I was originally a “wino” from Sonoma. My husband and I went to the brewer supply store and got books and equipment, and slowly I took over as the head brewer. We have two breweries here at Broken Cauldron Taproom, and we alternate on equipment. Charles [Frizzell of Broken Strings Brewery] likes malty, IPA kind of beers while I’m the sour girl; I brew barley wines and big beers. So basically we have something for everyone.

I’ve got two beers that say everything about me: the Ruckus Red, named after Orlando City Soccer supporters (of which I’m one)— that’s our biggest seller; and a Kölsch wheat beer that’s made with local wildflower honey.

So many people were hesitant when we said we were opening in Parramore; they were afraid because they didn’t know how beautiful this neighborhood is. But we’re here to be a part of the community—we’re hashtag ParramoreProud. 

Larry Foor – Cask & Larder

I started as bar manager at Ravenous Pig, planning beer pairing dinners. That led to home brewing, and then when Cask & Larder started I shadowed our first brewer, Ron Raike [now at Playalinda Brewing] and then Garrett Ward [now at Red Cypress]. I went to brewing school in Chicago, and here I am.

Craft beer is an America revolution, just like Sonoma was for wine in the ‘70s. I was surprised by the nature of the work—it’s not all romantically pouring hops into a vat in slow motion; mostly I’m cleaning up and doing paperwork. But the best surprise has been the craft beer community; we really support each other.

I pride myself in classics: blonde ales, IPAs, porters. I like making a well-crafted beer without crazy ingredients that goes with the food we have here in one of the best restaurants in Central Florida. That being said, I do have access to cool ingredients like coffee, fruits, spices … there’s a lot of science, but there’s room for art. 

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