Brewers Cultivate Miami's Beer Frontier
by bill kearney
INSET: Miami Brewing Company’s Peter Schnebly; RIGHT: Growler from Wynwood Brewing Company.
In the western hinterlands of Wynwood, among gauntlets of muralcovered warehouses, a Seattle-like scene unfolds as a bearded and saw-dusted Luis Brignoni and his fellow brew master Naga Reshi put the finishing touches on Wynwood Brewing Company (565 NW 24th St., Miami, 305-434-0323). It’s all part of the new beer frontier in South Florida. “The market down here is wide open,” Brignoni says. WBC’s brews, due to hit Miami bars such as Wood Tavern this fall, include La Rubia, a crisp blonde ale hybrid suited for our hot weather; an IPA for hops lovers; and the darker Pop’s Porter, perfect with a cigar, Brignoni says. They’ll also experiment with limited-edition specials, including one made with sake-soaked wood chips.
Further south, the fledgling M.I.A. Brewing Company (formerly named Most Wanted) in Doral is currently in the build-out phase. Its operators are buddies of Brignoni’s and will be producing beers such as High Noon hefeweizen, Hops & Robbers IPA, and Pink Posse hibiscus ale. Another relative suds newcomer is Peter Schnebly’s Miami Brewing Company (30205 SW 217th Ave., Miami, 305-242-1224). As with his wines, Schnebly’s brews can have a tropical bent. The Big Rod coconut ale boasts coconut and caramel notes, with an aroma of toasted bread, while the Shark Bait wheat ale has a citrus aroma and a mango finish.
Chefs are getting in on the act as well. Michael Schwartz of Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink (130 NE 40th St., Miami, 305-573-5550) stayed true to his culinary ethos when concocting Michael’s Genuine Home Brew. Even though it’s brewed in Alabama, it’s fermented from Florida ingredients such as Sem-Chi brown rice and sugarcane. The result is a light, golden ale adaptable enough to pair well with the seasonal menus at his eateries.
All this new brew is exciting, but the groundwork was laid by pioneers such as the Titanic Brewing Company (5813 Ponce De Leon Blvd., 305-667-2537) i n C oral Gables, which brews in-house and recently celebrated its 14th anniversary, and South Beach’s Abbey Brewing Company (1115 16th St., 305-538-8110), which has its own roster of beers from brewmaster Raymond Rigazio, produced up in Melbourne. We’re not Seattle just yet, but we’ve got better weather and plenty of thirst to quench.
photography by seth olenick (growler)