When Rose Post and her husband Kevin Zylstra first began trying to create the types of wine they wanted but couldn’t find among the Bay area’s established winemakers, they had a bit of trouble landing on exactly the flavors and feel they desired to produce. So they went directly to the source.
“We hooked up with a vineyard owner in Georgia who had opened a winery, and talked to his vintner,” Zylstra says. “He told us about what chemicals to use, when to add them, step by step. It was awesome. He sold us 1200 pounds of grapes, we came home and tried it, and it came out really well. That was the beginning of winemaking for us.”
By 2009, the couple was ready to open their own winery in Dunedin. It was an immediate success, and it wasn’t long before Post — the “cook” of the pair — turned her curiosity toward homebrewing beer as well. And as with the wine, she was determined to learn from the experiences of others right from the start.
“In California, I toured breweries,” she says. “Everyone was nice, they were really open. They really helped me because they realized I was eager to learn.”
Here at home, she discovered an equally welcome and helpful attitude from local brewers, too.
“All the local breweries, Barley Mow, 7venth Sun, Stilt House, they were like open books to me,” Post says. “They gave me advice, even showed me how they make their beers.”
“Talking to other wineries, they were very hush-hush about their process, their recipes,” Zylstra adds. “Not like the breweries around here — they’ll give you everything [to help]. Wineries are totally different, they keep their secrets.”
Post discovered a knack for brewing, and was soon running a licensed nanobrewery alongside the couple’s winemaking business. Their location outside of Dunedin’s busy, walkable downtown was less than ideal, however.
Post and Zylstra went looking for a better spot, and found it in quickly developing Palm Harbor, near their peers at Stilt House and just down the street from Black Fox Meadery. They were immediately drawn to the area’s coalescing sense of community, and set up shop in a cozy little former house that now includes a bar, tasting room, homey sitting area and beautiful, sunlit outdoor space.
Though it’s been open a few months, the grand opening party for Two Lions Winery & Palm Harbor Brewery is Friday, starting at 5 p.m. In addition to multiple guest taps (and its own wine and infamous wine slushies), six of Post’s beers will be featured, including the popular Bodega Porter and Brown Wheat Dunkelweizen.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or woman,” says Post of craft brewing. “If you have the desire that drives you to do it, the passion, if you love beer — anyone can do it.”
Favorite local beer that isn’t theirs: Zylstra: “Stilt House’s Honey Jalapeno Cornbread Lager. I’ve never tasted anything like it.” Post: “7venth Sun’s Graffiti Orange [American pale wheat ale].”
Her signature Palm Harbor beer: Zylstra: “The Bodega Porter. Everybody loves it and we go through it so fast.”
Two Lions Winery &
Palm Harbor Brewery
1022 Georgia Ave., Palm Harbor