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Manny Jannes and Andres Wolff’s 2-year-old Pompano Beach taproom, Black Flamingo Brewing Company, has drawn so much unexpected traffic lately, the hop heads are already opening a second brewery in Oakland Park.
Their stroke of good fortune, Jannes says, came from luck and an unexpected pandemic lifeline from a devoted music tribe: metalheads. Their first brewery, tucked deep inside a Pompano Beach office park called the Whispering Lakes Commerce Center, drew zero traffic as office workers around them quarantined at home. So Jannes and Wolff tried luring customers by booking hard rock and metal bands. It worked: Dozens of Slayer- and Sabbath-loving drinkers rocked out inside their flagship Pompano Beach brewery every Friday night.
“Metalheads are the nicest people,” says Jannes, whose first brewery opened in August 2019. “That broke the ice for us and helped us get popular at a time when nobody was going out to breweries.”
The 3,000-square-foot second location came with a sweetheart deal, Wolff adds. A bakery in that space had nearly wrapped construction before it ran out of funding, and Black Flamingo eagerly swooped in.
“The space is practically built out already,” Wolff says. “We thought, ‘Why not seek out places where hospitality businesses are hurting?’ This was a way for us to be frugal and aggressive at the same time. The pandemic will pass and we’ll be in a good position. For us, failure isn’t an option.”
Black Flamingo Oakland Park will feature what Jannes describes as “urban-tropical” décor, with splashes of hot-pink graffiti art, flamingos and greenery on black-painted walls. There is a centerpiece “keg wall,” where 45 one-gallery beer kegs rest in a mounted nook covered in rope lights blinking pink and blue.
Black Flamingo specializes in heavy, hoppy India Pale Ales, sours and German-style lagers often punched with fresh fruit and spices. Only three of Black Flamingo’s 14 craft beers sit below 6 percent alcohol-by-volume, and include Suavecita, a crisp German light lager (4.7 percent); and That Gushy Stuff, an apricot sour ale aged six months in wine barrels (5.8 percent). To celebrate Black Flamingo’s music lovers, they released Metalhead’s Dream, a creamy amber lager.
The rest of Black Flamingo’s beer menu rails against what Jannes calls a “disturbing” new trend in beermaking: oversweetening IPAs and sours with lactose, or milk sugar, to filter out the bitter flavors of beer.
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“Brewers are trying muddy the waters of what makes beer taste like beer,” says Jannes, who lives in Hollywood. “I’m not saying we’re trying to get you drunk, but there should be a journey when you’re tasting a beer. I’m not going to make one of those sweet milkshake sours that’s 80 percent juice. If you want juicy, go to Jamba Juice. But that’s our competition. And the way we compete is by making beer the strong hero, not the sidekick.”
What that means, Jannes says, are bolder, more alcoholic beers, such as Juana Bee, a honey-punched blonde ale (7.5 percent); Yum Yum Gone, a double IPA (8.9 percent); Joy Juice, a mango-pineapple-vanilla sour (6.4 percent); and I Just Crush a Lot, a bourbon barrel-aged chocolate imperial stout (10.9 percent).
Jannes, 48, in another life a graffiti artist and a general manager for a luxury furniture company, started home-brewing 12 years ago. He picked up awards at local beer festivals (Grovetoberfest in Coconut Grove, LauderAle’s Home Brew Competition in Fort Lauderdale) under the moniker Opus Ales, and rebranded to Black Flamingo after meeting Wolff, a brand marketer, in 2018.
Jannes and Wolff opened Black Flamingo in August 2019 in a Pompano Beach office park, taking over the lease from Bobby Gordash, former owner of Holy Mackerel Small Batch Beers. When their new Oakland Park taproom opens, they aim to aggressively compete against two other breweries nearby: Funky Buddha and the recently opened Fat Tap.
“I know us local breweries are supposed to be a tight community, but we have to compete to survive,” Wolff says. “But I believe, flavor-wise, that’s us underdogs can be good contenders.”