Opens in Historic Downtown Melbourne
Combining modern technology and equipment with ancient fermentation and brewing tricks, plus some really talented Brewmaster‘s recipes, the Hell ‘n Blazes Brewing Company recently opened in Historic Downtown Melbourne. The work to renovate and recreate what now is the modern but homey brewery and tap room was a dedicated effort borne from the close-knit partnership created by owners Don and Clare DiFrisco; their sons, nieces and nephews and the team of professionals they assembled. That team included their contactor; Adam Broadway of Certified General Contractors, their architect; Lois Torvik of MelD Designs, their structural engineer; Mike Kalajian of MK Structural and a host of other fine subcontractors.
Don says “Clare and I knew as soon as we walked through this building, despite its then-current state of disrepair and significant amounts of deferred maintenance, that this was to be the future home of Hell ‘n Blazes Brewing Company. We took on the responsibility for renovating and converting a much-loved historic building with a long and deep history in Melbourne, knowing that doing this well would mean an instant connection to Melbourne”
And so work began on Historic Downtown Melbourne’s very own brewery and a complete renovation of a historically significant building.
The 16,000 square feet, two story, over a century-old building was formerly the home of the first bank north of Miami and south of Jacksonville, a historic hardware store (Stewart Hardware and later Huggins Hardware) and a glittery, happy place called the Christmas Cottage. The original bank vault is still in place and operational. It occupies a corner of a room called “The Vault” to honor the building’s banking heritage and the 120 year old vault. This space, which seats about 25, is beautifully designed and can be rented for private parties.
After researching the needs for the transformation from retail space to brewery and tap room, Clare and Don began the process of designing and building their vision. “Clare is due 100% of the credit for the design”, says Don, while he, his sons and nephews and CGC get credit for implementing it. “No one walks in and appreciates the work we’ve done under the floors and behind the wall” Don says with a smile. Clare finalized the design with beautiful historic-industrial-pub look and feel.
The magnificent, shiny, highly-polished nearly pharmaceutical-grade stainless steel brewing equipment can be viewed from virtually the entire building; tap room, the “Vault” room and the hallway leading to the game room: Bar stools, high top tables, low top tables and lounge furniture surround a large bar in the tap room. In the back that large game room has tabletop shuffleboard, foosball, darts and a variety of other games to enjoy, all for no charge.
“We serve some of the finest craft beer available” says Don and echoed by Andy who serves as the General Manager. “Don’t forget about of fabulous wine list” added Clare. Clare and team spent a lot of time finalizing a comprehensive and delicious list of fine wines across a broad price spectrum specifically to cater to those who accompany the craft beer lovers, but may not themselves be in the mood for beer.
The restrooms are much larger than they need to be, says Clare. “We didn’t want any ladies waiting in line”. Clare also ensured that the restrooms were beautifully decorated and are “the cleanest and nicest in Brevard County”.
Decidedly modern in application and technology, Hell ‘n Blazes takes its name from a lake 10 miles southeast of Melbourne. It is filled with historical significance as navigation challenges on the lake spawned the name, “Lake Hell ‘n Blazes.”
“We thought it was a great name that was historically relevant; it was kind of edgy, and it tied us to the local area in Melbourne,” said Don. “My nephew, Andy Pinkerton, and I found and adopted the name very early on”.
Building A Legacy
The DiFrisco family took the responsibility very seriously. Creating not only a family legacy with their business, but also a legacy for Melbourne and for Brevard County. They worked closely with the South Brevard Historical Society, having the group present during a lot of the construction to help dig through the dirt, find artifacts, validate some dates and invalidate others. This follows a similar process that has repeatedly played out at Lake Hell ‘n Blazes, where ancient artifacts from Paleo Indians (prior to 8000 AD) and later cultures were found on the site.
“It was a very educational experience to the benefit of all of Melbourne through the Historical Society,” Don said.
Hell ‘n Blazes Brewing Company is open Monday–Thursday from 4-11 p.m., Friday and Saturday from noon–2 a.m. and Sundays from noon–11p.m. With 11 65” and 75” LED HD TVs spread across the “Vault”, the Tap Room and the Game Room, Hell ‘n Blazes is an ideal destination for the sports fan to follow their team.
For more information, call (321) 821-4052.