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CASTLE MALTING NEWS in partnership with German
21 April, 2022

Brewing news USA, FL: Wolf Branch Brewing Co. opening location in downtown Leesburg

Wolf Branch Brewing Co. is opening a location in downtown Leesburg in less than six months, the Daily Commercial reported on April 20.

Business is booming for this local brewery, which currently has two locations — one in historic downtown Eustis, another at the Mount Dora Marketplace.

Jose Villafana, co-owner of Wolf Branching Brewing Co, said he's thrilled to be opening at 707 West Main Street.

"We're really excited to open especially because this one, we're actually purchasing the building so it will feel like it will be more ours," he said. "I always felt an attachment to Leesburg."

Wolf Branch has been serving up its own craft beer to the community for over four years now.

Villafana said Wolf Branch aims to keep the menu balanced with choices of IPAs, brown ales, pale ales, blonde ale, stouts and fruit beer.

"We love doing a lot of what we call one-offs — like a bunch of different, crazy stuff," Villafana said.

This week they're brewing "Coocha," a creamy, malt-forward coffee milk stout with heavy coffee flavors and hints of cocoa nibs. The beer has a deep brown hue and a dark foamy head.

Another Wolf Branch favorite is "The Beastwood," a peanut butter banana brown ale, that was named after late bartender Matt Eastwood.

Villafana says that he loves all of their beer, but one of his favorites is one they call "Parched."

“It’s a passionfruit pale ale," he said. "It’s got tropical notes and it’s a little lighter and more refreshing and sweet."

Wolf Branch's taps rotate, so there's something new and delicious to try every time customers stop by.

"There’s some breweries that focus on Belgium, that focus on IPAs, but we’re literally all over the place," Villafana said. "Usually if you come in one day and then you come in one week later, it’s gonna look different.”

Wolf Branch is a local family-owned brewery started by the Villafana family. Co-owner Jose Villafana is a graduate from the University of Florida and opened the brewery with his family after he graduated.

During this schooling at UF he had the chance to study in Leesburg for a semester, so he's looking forward to bringing new business to the area.

“It’s also pretty cool because I actually did my practicum with the City of Leesburg Parks and Recreation Department about 16 years ago so it’s sort of cool to come back," Villafana said.

After Villafana graduated from UF he joined the Army, worked for a Fortune 500 company, and then decided that it was time to open up his own brewery.

“At that time this craft beer boom was starting and I had a conversation with my brothers-in-law and my dad and we were like ‘alright let’s do this,'" he said. “Me and my dad started doing research, going to different breweries, and enjoying a lot of brews. And then I went to brewing school and when I got back we finally opened a location up."

And when they did, they decided to choose a name that had a special meaning to their family.

“My parents lived on Wolf Branch Lane and I’ve been visiting them forever. I always loved that name ‘Wolf Branch’ and I love that road, so Wolf Branch was always going to be the name of it," Villafana said. “There’s a connection because we started doing our little test brews in my dad’s garage so it just seemed kind of cool.”

Villafana said the two taprooms both have an inclusive, friendly environment and he and the team are excited to bring that same energy to the Leesburg area.

“Eustis is a lot of locals and a ‘Cheers’ type environment. It’s crazy that a lot of people become friends at the brewery," Villafana said. "In Mount Dora, it’s more of a touristy city so we get a lot of tourists that come over but we do have a pack of regulars.”

Villafana said that the new space in Leesburg is going to be almost bigger than the taproom in Eustis and Mount Dora combined. With that larger space, they're planning to have more in store for their customers including bingo, trivia, and live music.

“We’re just very excited to come into the Leesburg community," he said. "We know that there are two other pubs that are going to be opening up real soon, so we’re super excited to try and get Leesburg to become a little entertainment district.”

Wolf Branch Brewing Co. in Eustis is located in the historic downtown area at 119 N. Bay Street. This brewery and taproom is open Tuesday-Thursday from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday 2:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., Saturday 1:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., and Sunday 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Wolf Branch Brewing Co. in Mount Dora is located at the Marketplace at 100 E 4th Ave. This taproom is open Monday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday 12 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday 12 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., and Saturday 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

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