There are craft brewpubs and thereare wine bars, but the two concepts seldomunite under one roof. At West Palm Beach Brewery & Wine Vault, which attorney John Pankauski opened in late December, both themes interact seamlessly.
“The same revolution that occurred a few decades ago in wine is happening now in the beer world,” Pankauski says. “The craft beer industry is a fraction of the overall beer market, but people admire that it’s handcrafted, small, and local. It’s theirs.”
He’s equally passionate about wine. He produces two of his own small-batch labels, Drum Canyon Cellars and Pankauski Cellars, from purchased fruit grown in Napa, Sonoma, and the Santa Rita Hills. At West Palm Beach Brewery & Wine Vault, the atmosphere is relaxed and casual, with nearly half the space occupied by gleaming stainless-steel fermenters and brewing tanks. A long bar separates the glassed-in brewpub from the dining area, where tables are arranged in a beer garden format. On any given day, the facility dispenses 20 craft beers. Seven are made on the premises, and the 13 guest taps rotate regularly, offering everything from a basil IPA to a crisp cider. The brewpub has a capacity of 300 gallons, and all the beer is sold on site rather than in retail stores.
Pankauski has assembled a winning team to deliver his vision. Head brewer Joel Kodner started brewing beer at home and cut his teeth at Due South Brewing Co. in Boynton Beach. Tasting room manager Danielle Cesario, a Napa veteran, oversees the wine bar. The kitchen is in the capable hands of chef Andrew Castardi, who turns out Italian comfort food and bakes pizzas in the wood-fired oven that dominates a corner of the room.
For Pankauski, this venture is about far more than selling beer, wine, and designer pizza. He has supported creating bike lanes on nearby Fern Street and
advocated planting more trees and giving pedestrians more seating and space on the Flagler waterfront. “The brewery is a big part of the neighborhood and the community,” he says. “The city is moving in the right direction, and I hope that bringing the brewery to Evernia Street will be a big part of it. It’s a gathering place that has relevance beyond beer.” (561-619- 8813)