Meet Curtis Moden, president of Coquina Coast Brewing Company in Flagler Beach. Born and raised in Flagler County, Moden opened the popular brewery in October 2020.
What prompted you to open Coquina Coast?
I had been home brewing for years and had a passion for it. I knew I wanted to start my own brewery. In 2016, I took a craft brewery start up course at Oregon State and in 2019, I came up with the name and incorporated it.
What is your experience with brewing? How did you get started and when?
I got into brewing after studying Anthropology in college. Societies would often organize after turning to horticulture and beer, wine, and mead were always present. I couldn’t find any mead, so I decided to make some using local honey. After a year or two, I really enjoyed the process but liked drinking beer more and started to brew beer, too.
How did you decide on the name for Coquina Coast?
For the name I wanted something unique with a local aspect too. Coquina is perfect because it’s one of the things the area is known for. Whether it’s the multi-colored coquina shells from the mollusk, in the local architecture that uses cut coquina stone (several homes, hotels, Flagler Beach’s old post office, and even Fort Matanzas) or just the coquina outcrops and coquina sand out on our beaches. It offers a great story for locals to tell and those new to the area or on vacation to learn about.
You brew on site—can you share some of the steps and the perks of brewing on site?
We do brew on site, and we brew all grain. We crush the malt in our mill and do the mash, boil, and fermentation all in the same building. One of the great things about that is our customers can come in on a brew day and get to see and smell the ingredients being used (malt, hops, fruit, etc.) in the next brew!
You sometimes use local ingredients—why is that important to you?
For craft breweries in general it’s about drinking local. I like to use my background in Anthropology and gardening to incorporate well-known local crops like oranges and watermelon as well as educate people about some lesser-known local ingredients that can be used, like prickly pear and yaupon holly. I just brewed my Brackish Ale using yaupon holly, which isn’t well known today but was used and traded for hundreds of miles by the Southeastern indigenous tribes to make a tea. The Black Drink was a type of tea brewed here locally by the Timucuan and used by colonists and pioneers for tea as it is the only plant native to the area with significant amounts of caffeine in the leaves.
How do you come up with the names of your beers?
The inspiration for the beer names can come from anywhere. “Sandy Sheets” our Belgian Wit comes from just being a kid and spending all day at the beach and waking up to sandy sheets. Others, like our Hammock Haze & Olde Brick Road Red, are local in origin, and some can be just something funny some of our patrons suggest.
Do you have a favorite beer that you brew and why?
If I had to choose one beer as my favorite beer to brew, I would probably pick my Flagler Beach Dubbel. It’s a Belgian style Dubbel brewed with European malt & hops, Belgian yeast, and instead of using traditional Belgian candy syrup, I used sorghum syrup from sweet sorghum I grow out at the Florida Agricultural Museum. It’s the first beer I release for the holiday season every year. Right around the first week of December.
How do you come up with a new beer? Thought process, testing, etc.?
For new beers I brew my process usually starts with researching the style of beer and the ingredients I want to use. I use books, articles, brewer’s blogs, and my favorite method...drinking other beers of that style. I’ll then come up with a recipe and plug it into a program I have that will help me estimate Abv & Ibu’s. I usually brew a new beer a few times before I settle on a recipe.
What do you love about owning a business in Flagler County?
I love owning a business here in Flagler County because of the sense of community and being a part of that community. Whether it’s serving cold locally brewed beer to locals and vacationers alike or having the opportunity to help sponsor charity events (like the Tommy Tant).