Before they even opened to the general public, Concrete Beach Brewing in Miami released one of their recipe creation contests. Basically, people submitted an idea for a recipe, the brew team took a look through them, and decided on the one they like the best.
I was lucky enough to win that contest, coming up with an idea for a Mojito Cream Ale, because 1) if there is any drink that is more quintessentially Miami than the Mojito I haven’t found it, and 2) I was sick of IPAs. We hadn’t yet gotten to the great lager explosion in craft beer, and apparently all of the other recipes included some form of tobacco which wouldn’t sit well with the long arm of the law.
And so it was, my wife and I driving to Wynwood for their friends and family pre-opening shakedown, with white poster boards on their unfinished tables and markers that we were encouraged to draw on those tables with.
I was there off and on for the next five years, coming back to brew that cream ale on their very big, very beautiful, very push button brewing system, coming back for the great release of that beer, meeting Magic Hat founder Alan Newman at the release of La Tropical (the foreruner of their Havana Lager), and more.
Concrete Beach is a part of Alchemy & Science, the separate brewing entity then owned by Mr. Newman and financed by Boston Beer Co. Alan Ellen eventually left and Boston Beer took over operations, which is why a lot of people are not necessarily considering Concrete Beach’s impending closure to be serious. It’s not completely going away, just transferring to another label under the Boston Beer Co. umbrella.
I think most people are missing the point in that Concrete Beach itself will be gone, their only surviving remnant being canned and distributed 6-packs of Havana Lager. There will be no more Concrete Beach to go to. That makes me a little sad, knowing that when I was there in November for an interview with their marketing manager Erica, that my draft of Peaches & Dreams (Gose, 5.5% ABV) was the last draft that I would have.
As a fruity gose it’s pretty darn tasty, just a touch on the nicely tart side with a very bright color and the wonderful aroma of soft peaches that brought an interesting bold sweetness to a very citrusy style of beer. With peaches, it has a little bit more of a traditional brown sugar sweetness, and doesn’t overload the citric acid that a gose generally has on its own. Those two play with each other quite nicely on a soft, pillowy malt bill to give a drinking experience that was both refreshing and zippy.
I have long since said that a fruited sour or gose is the beer that is going to win over Miami, and this is a perfect example of exactly what I was talking about. Unfortunately the next beers that will be poured from that location will be out of whatever interesting taps come down the pipeline after the Dogfish Head redesign.
But for me, it’s always going to be Concrete Beach.
Drink Florida Craft,
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