If you’re familiar with Jupiter, Florida, it’s probably because you’re a baseball fan. The town, about 75 miles north of Miami, includes among its small list of attractions Roger Dean Stadium, the spring training home of both the Florida Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals. Unless you’ve been paying close attention, you wouldn’t know Jupiter for its beer scene.
“It’s growing, but it used to be a wasteland,” says Karl Volstad, founder and head brewer at Civil Society Brewing Co. “That’s part of the reason we got into brewing, because you couldn’t get anything here.”
Volstad’s brewery is changing that. Between the ballpark and the beach, the Civil Society taproom has quickly become a hub for South Florida beer drinkers, and hopheads in particular. In a very short time, the brewery has become well-known throughout the state for hop-driven and evocatively named beers like Fresh and Pulp as well as entries in its Subject series—a line of beers designed for experimentation with different hop combinations, kettle boil times and dryhopping methods.
“Everybody’s got an IPA and everybody does a double IPA every now and then, but there aren’t many breweries down here who have 80 percent of their taps pouring some form of hoppy ale, like we do,” Volstad says. The story behind Civil Society is a familiar one: Volstad began homebrewing about eight years ago. “I started because the stuff I was interested in was super expensive,” he says.
He was joined by Evan Miller, a close high school friend, a few years in. The pair began brewing every weekend, and as the beers got better and better, a plan to turn their hobby into a business and profession materialized. Volstad and Miller brought in Karl’s cousin Chris Volstad, a pro baseball player who’s pitched for the Florida Marlins, Chicago Cubs, Pittsburg Pirates and Colorado Rockies. But he’s no silent partner—when Civil Society’s taproom officially opened last November, Chris worked at the brewery daily.
Other family members also play their parts: Kaleb, Karl’s brother, manages the taproom, and the besuited bulldog on the brewery’s logo is Karl’s Frenchie, Bella. The brewery’s name, Volstad says, stems from this very idea of familial support and friendship. “A civil society is a group of likeminded individuals, and we’re like-minded about beer,” he says. “We want a place where people can come and drink with no pretenses, where no one gets irritated with anybody over politics, religion, anything like that.”
So if you’re heading to Jupiter, for baseball or beer, remember to keep things civil—and make sure you like the hoppy stuff. “There’s just so much you can do with hops,” Volstad says. “We just try to make what we like, and we like hoppy beer.”
Check out Karl Vosltad’s recommendations:
Blondes Make Me Hoppy: “With Blondes Make Me Hoppy, we wanted a light beer we could go to the beach with (since Jupiter’s right on the beach), have a few throughout the day and not get too messed up. But we also wanted it to be flavorful, so that’s where this light, blonde ale slammed with hops came in. We do a rotating series of hops on that—we’ve done it with Galaxy, Vic Secret, Equinox and Mosaic—and we’ll continue rotating them on and off.”
$eeing Green: “The aromatics are of orange rind, grapefruit and pine from the hops along with a touch of sweet malt. The flavors become more pronounced with stone fruit, candied citrus, apricot, tropical fruit and sweet malts. The alcohol is well hidden for 9%, and a smooth mouthfeel with little perceived bitterness makes this extremely drinkable for a double IPA.”
Pulp: ““Pulp has definitely been the most popular of our beers. It’s different than what people have been able to get down here, I think. It’s a super, super hoppy wheat ale; it’s cloudy and has this soft mouthfeel, and it’s double dry-hopped with Mosaic, which is such a unique hop with a flavor profile that’s all over the place. Somebody who likes citrus-forward ales can pick that out in Pulp; someone who likes the tropical stuff—the pineapple, the mango—can pick that out, too.”