Hop Life celebrated its two-year anniversary and Octoberfest
on Oct. 5.
SIDE DOOR BREWING COMPANY, 1419 S.E. Village
Green Drive, Port St. Lucie. Opened December 2015. Taps:
19, of which 18 pour products made on site. No kitchen on
site. Food can be delivered; food trucks occasionally on site.
Dwayne Buchholz celebrates the end of Prohibition every
time he says the name of his business, Side Door Brewing
Company. It was not a coincidence that Side Door opened on
Dec. 5, 2015, in a small shopping center not far from U.S. 1
in Port St. Lucie. Dec. 5, 1933, Prohibition was repealed. Side
Door is named for the many “blind pigs,” bars and saloons
that kept low profiles by not having signs or even front doors,
knowing customers entering through a side door.
When Buchholz arrived in St. Lucie County from Portland,
Oregon, he was surprised by the lack of not only craft brew
pubs but craft beer available at stores, restaurants or bars. He
says he figured that if he cannot purchase the type of beers
he had gotten used to, he would make his own. After only
two or three batches, the man who had always been selfemployed
decided a craft brewery and pub would be his next
business venture. Just over a decade later, Side Door opened.
Its motto is “We Know You’re Thirsty. Drink Local.”
Side Door is one of the smaller breweries on the Treasure
Coast. It has recently been making 30 barrels a month.
“We produced 158 different flavors and styles of beer last
year,” says Buchholz. “Some were greeted with enthusiasm
and were overwhelmingly consumed with excitement, others
perhaps not so much. But through the years of fun and ‘trial
and error’ experimentation, our number one selling beer is a
coffee porter that we call Jittery.”
Mug Club memberships are available for $100, which gives
members half-price beer for a year.
“You drink three beers a month and you have savings for
the year,” Buchholz says. “People in our Mug Club consume
considerably more than that.”
OCEAN REPUBLIC BREWING, 1630 S.E. Federal Highway,
Stuart. Opened July 2019. Taps: 14. Kitchen on site.
Martin County was without a craft brewery and pub since
the second such business on the Treasure Coast, Monkey
King Brewery & Floribbean Grill, shut more than a decade
ago, amid the Great Recession. Several existing craft brewers
in the area said they were thinking of locating in Martin
County, but the local laws were too onerous. Zoning laws
were eased a bit last year, and the married team of Amanda
and Chris Cischke opened their doors on July 26.
Chris says it took two years to come up with
his brewery’s name, which reflects the oceanside lifestyle
“I’ve been told our bar is the longest in Florida. It’s 83-feet
long, made of poured concrete and colored an ocean blue,”
In addition to the usual craft beer game, Cornhole, there is
a giant chalkboard which children are encouraged to use. It’s
the first thing one sees upon entering Ocean Republic.
“We get tons of families,” Chris says of the early days of his
business. “Last weekend, we must have had 10 to 15 infants
in there. People got a baby on the hip and a mug in the opposite
The official grand opening, Sept. 28, marked the start of
Octoberfest for Ocean Republic.
Cischke moved to the Treasure Coast about 15 years ago
from suburban Detroit. He’s proud of Ocean Republic’s full
kitchen and its dishes made from scratch. The fall menu listed
appetizers such as fig and bacon flatbread, short rib poutine,
and mac and cheese eggrolls. The main courses include
Korean style fried chicken, jerk pork chops and blackened
shrimp and grits.
Ocean Republic opened with a seven-barrel brewing system
and a capacity of 200 people.
Briana Laurion, assistant manager at Summer Crush Winery in Fort Pierce, serves wine in the tasting room.