Locally Brewed Beers On Tap

Locally Brewed Beers On Tap
Royal Palm Brewing Company Serves Up Unique Brews And More At RPB Tasting Room

By Frank Koester

What started as a home brewing hobby 14 years ago has grown into the Royal Palm Brewing Company, a beer-brewing enterprise with a local tasting room featuring more than a dozen unique beers at any given time, as well as a distribution system that supplies the beers to restaurants and retailers across Florida.

Royal Palm Brewing is the brainchild of the husband-and-wife team of George and Pam Shetka, along with George’s brother Geof Shetka.

“People laugh when we tell them, but the first beer we ever brewed was what we call Psycho Sisters today,” George said, referring to the company’s award-winning Russian imperial stout. “It turned out really good, and we still have a bottle of it.”

That very first brew was a life-changing experience for Geof. “The very first day that we brewed that first homebrew, I knew I wanted to do that,” he recalled. “I wasn’t sure if it was going to be working for another brewery or starting our own, but it was just one of those things always in the back of my head.”

After years of home brewing, the Shetkas began putting together their business plan in 2016, but it took two years before the tasting room off State Road 7 opened in 2018. Much of that time was taken up in finding an appropriate site, and then getting the necessary approvals. The Village of Royal Palm Beach had to change its rules to allow microbreweries.

“One of the councilmen, Jeff Hmara, took us under his wing and said, ‘That’s cool. I think that’s something that would be good for the community,’” George said.

Pam noted that their goal was not to create a bar, serving beer and other alcohol into the early morning hours.

“We want it to be a place where people in this community can go,” she said. “They can feel safe, they can bring their children, they can eat, they can have our craft beer and appreciate what we do.”

At any given time, Royal Palm Brewing serves up more than a dozen craft-brewed beers to fit every taste. Aside from the popular Psycho Sisters stout, you’ll find several other award-winning beers, such as the 63 Axe Handles American lager, the Half Moon Island American wheat ale and the Sour Yeti sour ale made with raspberry, hibiscus and Persian lime puree. There’s also a Mexican-style lager (Cerveza de Jorge), an American pale ale (the Mountains Are Calling), an amber ale (SR 7) and much more.

The beers are of their own creation through the years, some based on suggestions from patrons. George compared brewing beer to baking chocolate chip cookies.

“There’s a basic foundation to a chocolate chip cookie. It’s what you do with that cookie that makes it your own,” he said. “A beer is grain, water, hops and yeast. There’s pretty much a standard of what you can do in each category… You have to have that foundation, but you can take that and make it your own. You’re not really reinventing the wheel, you’re just kind of unique at the wheel.”

Right now, Royal Palm Brewing has a maximum capacity of about 1,100 to 1,200 barrels a year, although they are not producing that much. They plan to grow as needed, but they don’t want to over-expand, nor bring in outside investors.

“We brew everything ourselves. We’re also very proud that we own this,” George said. “It is ours, and we want to be able to make that final decision on what we’re going to do.”

Working with partner Progressive Distribution, the company’s beers can now be found in dozens of local restaurants and retail shops across the state. Locally, that includes PapiChulo Tacos, JoJo’s Raw Bar, Tree’s Wings, Bonefish Mac’s, Big Rocco’s Pizza, World of Beer and on the shelves at Total Wine & More.

Royal Palm Brewing is one of the few beer-tasting rooms to offer a full menu of food and appetizers. Popular items include a charcuterie board featuring a taste-tempting selection of sliced meats, cheeses, fruit and nuts; a variety of flatbread pizzas, such as the pepperoni with large-sliced pepperoni, mozzarella and marinara sauce; and a jumbo Bavarian-style pretzel, perfect for sharing.

Other options include a variety of waffle snackers, all-beef hotdogs and Polish sausages, hot sandwiches, grilled wraps and fresh-made salads. Initially, they weren’t going to have an extensive menu, but it grew due to requests from patrons.

“We started these little pita pizzas for the kids, and then we found that adults were eating them. So, now we have our wood-fired flatbreads,” George explained. “We used to do hotdogs and Polish sausages for our October festival. It’s popular, so let’s add that to the menu.”

The tasting room is set to expand over the next year with the planned addition of outdoor seating and more space by taking over a bay next door. The space will be used to increase the capacity of the brewing business. “Now we’ll be able to increase our productivity to distribute more beer,” George said.

The tasting room is open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, noon to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday, with happy hour specials all day Tuesday and from open until 6 p.m. from Wednesday to Sunday. The tasting room is closed on Monday. Check the online calendar for an array of fun weekly and special events.

Royal Palm Brewing Company is located in the Commons at Royal Palm shopping plaza at 543 N. State Road 7, Suite 103, in Royal Palm Beach. For more information, call (561) 792-5822 or visit www.royalpalmbrewing.com.