Thursday, August 6, 2009

Interview with Matt Webster, Corner Cafe and Brewery

I don't know about you but every once in a while when I'm traveling I come across a place that just plain makes me mad. I get mad that the owners didn't decide to open their amazing establishment next to my house. I guess I could be mad at myself too for not knowing I should be living in Tequesta to enjoy the Corner Cafe and Brewery everyday.

A few weeks ago I decided to head up to the northern reaches of South Florida to try out the fine wares of the Corner Cafe and Brewery in Tequesta (Jupiter area). I had heard many positive things about head brewer Matt Websters' fine beers. I had been in touch with Matt before I headed up and told him I had heard great things about his Double IPA. Unfortunately, he had run out of it on tap. Since Matt knew I was traveling a bit of my way to come up, he pulled some of the Double IPA out of storage for me to try. I must say I was very happy that he did. It was one of the finest Double IPA's I have had in a while. And for sure the best from any local brewpub in South Florida.
I had a sampler of all of the great beers Matt had on tap that day. He had all of the usual beers he has year round: The Kaiser, Julio's 'Jefe' Weizen, Gnarly Barley, and Terminally Ale. He also had an Apricot beer available at the time. Along with those, I got a sneak peek of a German Alt beer that he was about to put on tap. This beer and the Double IPA were some of the most consistently good beers I've ever had from a brewpub. Usually, there is one or two of the beers that are lacking something but not at the Corner Cafe and Brewery. There is a nice range of different beers for any occasion.

If the beer isn't selling it for you, the food is equally amazing. They have great gourmet food at a very affordable price. I had a delicious roast beer sandwich with horseradish sauce and cranberry preserves. One of my friends had the turkey burger and said it was the best turkey burger they ever had.

The Corner Cafe and Brewery's actual brewing area is much smaller than other local brewpubs. With only a 1.5 barrel capacity it is much smaller than the likes of Big Bear and Brewzzi. Though Corner Cafe and Brewery may be small, you can tell these beers are made by someone who truly loves beer and loves to make it.

I sent Matt an interview a few weeks ago after I visited but he has been super busy getting his submissions ready to send off to Denver for the Great American Beer Festival to be judged. In March, Matt took home 1 Gold, 1 Silver and 3 Bronze at the Best Florida Beer competition. He is hoping to add a few more medals to his already growing collection. Check out the interview below.

South Florida Beer Blog- What is your name and what do you do?

MW- Matt Webster, Brewmaster at the Corner Cafe and Brewery.

SFLBB- How long have you been brewing beer?

MW- I have been brewing beer for 16 years.

SFLBB- How did you get started in brewing?

MW- My brother was doing a bit of homebrewing and I was intrigued by it. I purchased a Mr. Beer kit and it all went from there.

SFLBB- Did you work in the beer industry before you started brewing and if so, how did it help you in the position you are in now?

MW- No, I was in the Mortgage industry, when times were good, prior to becoming a professional brewer.

SFLBB- Do you remember the first beer you brewed? Was it any good?

MW- The first beer I brewed was an American Pale Ale and it was horrible. We had to go out to bars, get drunk and then come home and drink it...truly sad.

SFLBB- Do you have a favorite beer you have brewed?

MW- I have a lot of favorites but I like the American Brown Ale I have on tap now.

SFLBB- What is the process for deciding on new beer recipes?

MW- Sometimes I get ideas from drinking other beers (it’s a rough job). Sometimes I hear of an ingredient that I think would mix well with a certain type of beer.

SFLBB- What new beers are you brewing that we should look forward to?

MW- Right now I have a Scotch Wee Heavy sitting in American whiskey barrels. It will be tapped on November 4th, our anniversary.

SFLBB- Do you ever plan on bottling any of your beer? And why haven’t you bottled it yet?

MW- Currently the Florida laws won’t allow Brewpubs to sell any beers that will leave the premises so we have no plans for bottling the beer.

SFLBB- What sets your beers apart from others?

MW- I wouldn’t say my beer can be set apart from other “good” beers. There are tons of good beers out there and tons of bad ones. My whole goal is to remain on the good beer side.

SFLBB- Any plans on expanding with more locations?

MW- No plans for more locations right is all I can handle. We are thinking of expanding our restaurant and brewhouse in the current location.

SFLBB- What are some of your favorite beers besides your own?

MW- I love most of the Stone beers and the Avery beers as well. Right now my top three are Russian River Blind Pig as well as their Pliny the Elder and also Bear Republics Racer 5.

SFLBB- Can we look for you at any beer fests that are coming up?

MW- I will have beers at the Jupiter Beer Festival in January 2010.

SFLBB- What do you think of the South Florida Beer scene?

MW- I moved here from Denver, CO so the Florida beer scene is like a newborn baby to me. The baby is growing, expanding and changing its taste as time goes by. I love being a part of the growing craft beer movement in Florida.

SFLBB- Who are some people that are working to improve the beer scene in South Florida?

MW- All of the Florida East Coast brewers are some of the best guys I have ever met. They all want everybody to succeed. They get the fact that the more breweries in Florida the more people will open their eyes to good quality beer. If you need anything they are there to help the cause.

SFLBB- If someone wanted to be a brewer one day what advice would you give them?

MW- I would tell them to make sure they love being involved in the beer business. The chance of making a lot of money is very slim so you better love it. Other than knowledge and experience is king.

Check out this video for a little more info on Corner Cafe and Brewery from Dan Oliver's Watering Holes.


  1. I was there. The beer is outstanding, the food is absolutely delicious, the service is excellent, the other customer personalities are interesting and welcoming, I too am mad the Corner Cafe & Brewery isn't next to my house.

  2. great post. can't wait to go there.


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