I’ve been going to Wynwood’s Concrete Beach Brewing since before it opened. In that end, they have grown their facilities, their beer offerings, their distribution, and their staff. It was one of those staff members, head brewer Eric Hernandez, that I went to visit and chat with recently about LA, Cuban cuisine, and Miami traffic.
Ah, Florida hops.
This is actually pretty exciting to see, for a few reasons. First of all, hops are starting to get pretty scarce with the rather massive influx of new breweries gobbling up harvests as fast as they can. Second, hops prefer a temperate climate, which is why they’re usually grown in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.
But they’re here now, which is amazing for us Florida-loving hop heads. There are plenty of beers starting to pop up now around the state using hops grown right here in sunny Florida hop yards.
Keeping things simple is, sometimes, the best way to go. There is nothing wrong, and a lot of the time everything right, with a moderate beer with a clean recipe list and a straightforward name that doesn’t veer towards copyright infringement at all.
Ah, the Treasure Coast.
I do love it so, as it’s the perfect mix of quiet places and culturally exciting activities. It’s on the Atlantic coast of the state, below the Space Coast and north of what is traditionally thought of as South Florida.
It’s starting to get a lot of breweries there, especially in some of the hot spots such as Vero Beach, Sebastian, and, in this case, my beloved Fort Pierce.
Recently I’ve been writing a lot about Bradenton.
It’s sort of smack dab in the middle of the Florida Gulf Coast, just south of St. Pete and just north of Sarasota. For a small community, there’s actually a fair amount there. They’ve got the State College of Florida, a planetarium and aquarium that was home to Snooty the Manatee (RIP Snooty), and is well known as the spring training home of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Their home, LECOM Park, in walking distance of a few breweries. The bigger, definitely in size and possibly in distribution as well, is Motorworks Brewing.
I cannot believe that it has been a year since Bouza opens its doors to the public. That almost didn’t happen in time, since right as they were opening a hurricane decided to come through and make life more than a little bit miserable for South Florida.
But open they did, got a renewed focus on Miami craft beer, got a brand new Pacific Northwest brewer to make some tweaks, and they are off and running to a great start.
I am a big fan of Big Storm Brewing, and now that they have three different locations to choose from along the Florida West Coast, I have multiple options to get my Big Storm fix in.
That being said, I always prefer going to the main production facility in Clearwater, since that’s where most of the really fun stuff happens. Obviously it’s got the huge production facility behind giant picture window, but there’s a great chef driven menu that I took my family to for dinner one evening.
We had ulterior motives for going as well, but I will chat about those a bit later.
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.