It's commonly said that big things come in small packages. That couldn't be more true at the Redneck Riviera Brewing Project.
“I think since we started we have been Pensacola’s smallest craft brewery,” said Rob Roberts, one of the brewery’s two brewers. “I think that says something about what we are doing here.”
The Redneck Riviera Brewing Project is located within Goat Lips Chew & Brewhouse in northern Pensacola, just a short jaunt away from the University of West Florida. Brewing out of a space no bigger than an average sized living room, Roberts and Redneck Riviera’s co-founder Tim Moore are creating some unique brews, from their Shovel Bum Ale and Argo Amber to the Big Easy Coffee Stout, Sea Oats Pale Ale, Sweet Potato Ale, and Raisers of the Last Hops.
The origins of the Redneck Riviera Brewing Project date back to 2011 and a backyard brew session, but its roots run deeper as Moore and Tim Roberts, the project’s other founder, have been home brewing for years. While they had always talked about brewing beer on a larger scale, Moore admits that he and Tim probably drank more beer than they actually brewed, but a trip to the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp changed their perspective.
“Through their website, we had to create a video telling them why we should be one of the 10 people selected to go,” Moore recalls. “We were very fortunate that both of us were selected to go.”
We’ll tell you that their video had something to do with zombies, but if you want to know the full story, you’ll have to stop by the Brewing Project and ask Moore to tell the story. The beer they created at the Beer Camp was the “Raiders of the Last Hops,” which would ultimately be released to the masses during a party at Goat Lips, owned and operated by Larry Cowan. And as they say, the rest is history.
From home brewing to producing six barrels a month on their two-barrel system has been a learning lesson, to say the least.
“Some of our first beers were pretty raunchy, but we were determined,” Moore says. “When we came back from Sierra Nevada we were inspired. We may have drank a beer while we were working, but we noticed a big difference in the quality after we started taking things more seriously.”
In all honesty, Moore says it took between 6-8 months of constant brewing before he was comfortable enough to share his creations with people. Then it took about four years before he truly felt like he perfected his craft, although there’s always room to learn and grow.
These days, Moore and Roberts are churning out about 60 gallons of beer a week. At any given time there are four beers on tap.
Rob Roberts, left, and Tim Moore, right, are the faces behind the brews at Redneck Riviera Brewing Project in Pensacola, Florida.
“We both work full-time, so this is more of a passion for us,” Moore said. “We do it because we actually want to be here.”
Although there are other breweries in Pensacola, the guys at Redneck Riviera say they are still working to convert people’s palates to appreciate craft beer.
“A lot of people are weary about drinking craft beer, because they are used to drinking PBR or Bud Light, so they don’t know about all these hoppy beers,” Roberts said. “When you make a beer like our cream ale you can give it to someone and they love it. It’s kind of like their way into craft beer.”
And since most of the beers on tap average between 4.8-6.7 %/Alc., you can enjoy more than one brew without overdoing it and having too much to drink. Oh, and did we mention that the average pint will only set you back $4.50?
So what’s next for the guys at the Redneck Riviera Brewing Project?
Expansion is the main goal. Ideally, they’d like to upgrade to a larger system so they can produce at a greater volume. Once they are able to expand, the goal is to begin distributing their brews. Given their proximity and relationship with the University of West Florida, Moore and Roberts would also like to offer educational opportunities, whether that’s hosting events at the brewery or teaching classes at the university.
For now though, Moore and Roberts are focused on crafting the best brews they can.
“We strive to make sophisticated beer with a Gulf Coast attitude,” Moore says.
To learn more about the Redneck Riviera Brewing Project, located at 2811 Copter Road in Pensacola, visit www.goatlips.com/. You can also find them on Facebook.