So it has been a little while since the North Miami Brewfest, plenty of time to get a rundown together of some of the beers we were able to sample. And enjoy sampling we did…
Let’s start with my friends at Old Deck Brewing. They’ve recently started distributing after beginning to brew on the system at The Tank (more on them later). One of their big beers for distribution is FADED (IPA, 6.8% ABV), a Southeast style IPA that is big on flavor and has a nice, light, fruity hoppiness that is not excessively sharp or bitter.
Their other brew on tap was Rye-teous Brown (Brown Ale, 5.8% ABV), a heavy brown ale that has a very nice, warm, and woody flavor to it, coming very close to a porter. Nice and bold with a lot of flavor.
Descarga Brewing was also there, and they are getting very close to opening their North Miami brewhouse and tap room. Expect to see them hopefully around summer. Interestingly enough, they came with two barrel aged wild ales, something I didn’t even know they were getting into.
Popping Cherries (Wild Ale, 6.2% ABV) was barrel-aged with tart and sweet cherries added, and that light cherry sweetness was a welcome addition to a very bold and tart beer. Their other offering, Slo Mo (Wild Ale, 5.9% ABV), was dry-hopped with mosaic hops, giving it a slightly earthy character along with the tartness.
One of the newest groups at the event was South Beach Brewing Co. They’re still in the process of finalizing their location in iconic Miami Beach, but can be found in area stores already. All of their beers are definitely Miami-centric, made with fruit juices and what they call their proprietary blend of electrolytes. We tried a few of their offerings, one being their South Peach Shandy (Shandy, 5.4% ABV, 15 IBU), a shandy that is actually a touch on the dry side, with the nice peach meatiness bringing a very different and refreshing change to an overly sweet style.
The other one we had was their Strawberry Orange Mimosa (Blonde Ale, 5.4% ABV, 15 IBU). There’s a lot in this beer, with orange juice, strawberry, champagne flavors, Nugget and Saffir hops, all found on a very light malt bill of Pale, Wheat, and Dextrine malts. It’s a little bit fruitier and a little bit brighter than the Shandy was, and all of those flavors end up being rather harmoniously blended to very good effect.
Infected Brewery is actually from northern Broward County, and I have seen them at a couple of brewfests already. They’re very difficult to miss, with their bright orange shirts and tent.
I had a great time from them with a strong and heady Streaking Down the Quad (Belgian Quadrupel, 9.1% ABV). It’s a great take on a fantastic style and has a strong headiness that sneaks up on you. My wife enjoyed their Coquito’s Almanac (Stout, 7% ABV), a blend of their Coquito Stout and their Whiskey Porter. Make no mistake, this was a sweet and Incredibly heavy blend which had some interestingly harmonious flavors. I’m definitely going to be searching out the orange tent whenever I head to other festivals, as I would love to see what these guys are making next.
I did not expect to see Red Cypress Brewery at all at the event. I know the Central Florida powerhouse is starting to be found in some locations down south, and this is apparently their first time being at a South Florida brewfest.
Plus they brought Subdivisions (Pilsner, 5% ABV, 27 IBU), a beer of theirs that I’ve been wanting to try for a long time. I’m a big fan of Red Cypress anyway, and with a beer named so clearly for my favorite Canadian band, it’s due to be a success. Which, of course, it is. The beer is pretty crisp and clean, with a good solid malt and an ample addition of traditional Saaz hops, making a beer that hits every note perfectly. It may not have the firepower of Neil Peart behind it, but it never fails to disappoint and stay within geometric borders of insulated order.
Brew Hub in Lakeland was there pretty strongly as well. They had Keybilly and Diver Down with them, which are two perennial favorites of mine, but this was the first time I had seen Matte Black (Lager, 5% ABV, 20 IBU).
This is a Black Lager that was brewed with coffee, and it was interesting to see something that wasn’t a porter or stout that had coffee in it. The beer definitely benefited from the lager smoothness and really gave a nice, light base with which to showcase a strong roasted coffee flavor.
Hollywood Brewing Co. is another local favorite of mine, and I have a ton I still need to write about concerning them and their continued expansion into Broward County. The beer of theirs that I had yet to see or try was their Locals Only Lager (Lager, 5.2% ABV, 18 IBU), a very light and refreshing beer that had a great malt breadiness to it without being as boring and traditional as your average mega brew. It was fantastically crisp and something I would definitely enjoy drinking again.
Another brewery that is in the process of opening in North Miami is Lost City Brewing Co. This is my first time trying their beers, very interested to see how varied their offerings were. My wife went for Audrey II (Saison, 5.8% ABV), a hibiscus Saison that didn’t fall into the standard trap of going only for tartness. It had that nice berry floor on this to the beer, but was still smooth and delicious.
I, if nothing else, am a big fan of anything labeled Oktoberfest (Marzen, 4.8% ABV), so I had to try that and was pleasantly rewarded with a solid, caramel malt-based beer with a refreshing body.
That’s a lot of information, and I’m still nowhere done with everything about these great beers. Some of these you can go out and get now, some will require a bit of time to wait, but it will be worth it. I am looking forward to next year’s event to see what else is coming.
I wonder how many people are still confused about the references in my Red Cypress paragraph…
Drink Florida Craft,