It’s been a while since I graced the doorstep of Miami’s Concrete Beach Brewing. And, truth be told, I drove right past it. I’m used to the giant vacant lot that used to be next door to the brewery, wholly unprepared for the gigantic high-rise that is now being built in its place.
It’s actually a bit of a shame, as I liked some of the tiny little art installations I usually found in the trees that are now long gone. C’est la vie.
I was there to interview Concrete Beach’s new head brewer Eric Hernandez. The interview will actually be a blog post for another time, but while I was there he gave me a guided our of this year’s Gallery Series.
According to Eric, Wynwood is all about art and since beer is art, this is their contribution. It’s a yearly release of three special beers, some of which were still available in six-packs on my visit. The beer in the back is their standard Stiltsville Pilsner, always a good beer:
Pisco Sour Berliner (Berliner Weisse, 5% ABV, 10 IBU) – Pisco is a South American brandy made by distilling fermented wine. With this beer, they achieved a similar effect with limes and muscat wine grapes, a particular Florida favorite of mine and the closest relative of the grapes traditional pisco is made from. There is a pronounced tartness, some of which comes from the slightly tart muscat.
Sangre De Flor (Porter, 8.1% ABV, 20 IBU) – Hibiscus porter, heavy roasted and caramel malt, a touch drier, but made with hibiscus for a tartness and a bit of cocoa as well. It’s rather interesting to just inhale and take in the juxtaposition of those two flavors in the aroma. The flavor is just as interesting, as the cocoa starts wen you drink, but the hibiscus tartness finishes. It’s surprising how refreshing the beer was, especially with an ABV above 8%.
Azucar (Doppelbock, 9.5% ABV, 25 IBU) – Their first barrel-aged beer, this was brewed with brown sugar, then aged for 6 months in Jamaican rum barrels with a bit of additional brown sugar. There’s a booziness to the beer, and it gives way to a pronounced caramel chewiness and flavor. It’s heavy and incredibly delicious.
The other beer I tried at Eric’s guidance was their popular Rose (Fruit Ale, 6.2% ABV), made with White Zinfindel juice and a touch of blueberry juice, but finished very dry. And it finishes very light, a bit different from other dry beers that tend to end very heavily. A very popular and tasty take on a very popular wine, easily approachable by a wide variety of drinkers.
There’s a lot more that Eric and I spoke about, but that will be in another post. In the meantime, I have some Azucar to drink.
But not before I get myself lost in Wynwood again.
Drink Florida Craft,