Andy Polce brewed his own beer for almost 10 years before deciding to take his dream to the masses.
“I wanted to do something like this for a long time,” said Polce
He tapped neighbor Rick Clemo, also a home brewer, and started the business from the ground up with a one-room commercial space in downtown Dunedin.
The wildly successful location grew quickly, with one room becoming three. Polce then turned to AJ Bubolz, longtime manager at nearby Jolli Mons in Dunedin, to partner up and open a new House of Beer in Palm Harbor.
“He knows the business extremely well, and is an all around great guy,” said Polce.
The pair chose the Fountains shopping center off the always-busy US 19, which already features successful businesses, including the Wing House, Tiffany's and Country Pizza Inn.
The premise of the brew house is to offer as many unique beers as possible.
“There are 50 taps along with a hundred or so bottle varieties,” said Polce. “I pick the beers based on what's new, interesting, and bold.”
Polce said that new assortments arrive daily, delighting regular beer connoisseurs at the HoB.
“The taps and bottles are constantly rotated to always have something new.” said Polce.
The North Pinellas area, as well as Tampa Bay in general has seen in upswing in craft beer bars. World of Beer has been opening new locations at a voracious pace, and the Oldsmar area has seen new beer venues like Oldsmar Tap House, near downtown Oldsmar, and the Lagerhaus.
One of the most popular nights at the HoB is Randall nights. The “Randall” is a machine that infuses unique flavors into beer. Variations like vanilla and orange infuse beers with a new twists.
The HoB chain also invites their customers to try all the new styles of beer with the rail card, which is essentially a punch card that gets a hanging chad or two every time a new beer is tried.
“The Rail card has been nice, said Polce. “It gets people outside of their comfort zone and forces them to try new beers and more often than not, they discover something they really like.”
The House of Beer’s success and popularity landed the chain in Draft Magazine’s 100 Best Beer Bars in America for 2011 as one of the only entries from Florida, the other being the Oldsmar Tap House.
And, the patrons are satisfied, too.
“We love it,” said Marilee Hoffman.
“We come here all the time,” said Fred Fergesen.
Fergesen and Hoffman said they also visit the Dunedin HoB every chance they get.
So where can beer lovers expect to see the next incarnation of the HoB? Polce said that the entrepreneurs don’t plan to stop with Palm Harbor, but couldn’t comment on where the next HoB will pop up just yet.
“There are no specific cities I can release yet, but we’re working on it,” said Polce.
Check out the Palm Harbor House of Beer on Sundays when the bartenders bust out the “Randall,” and weekend nights, when bands like Orange Hour play mixes of original and cover tunes in the courtyard.