Over the last month or so, I've tasted a lot of beers. Just check Instagram. Of those magnificent beers, there were plenty local selections. I've said it before, and will say it again: I love being in South Florida for this craft beer revolution we're undergoing. Breweries are popping up everywhere, and some sports bars/restaurants like Bokamper's are now offering special craft selections. I would've taken a pic of my Bell's Two Hearted Ale, but I sacrificed material for the sake of a first date. However, I was at a ladies night at Village Tavern (Pembroke Pines), and was pleasantly surprised to have a can of Cigar City Jai Alai, which was a week old.
Funky Buddha has exploded in South Florida since they've opened their second, and larger brewing location in June. I recently tried their Chocolate Cherry Porter, Sweet Potato Casserole, and famous Maple Bacon Coffee Porter, which by the way - is the one that put them on the craft beer map nationwide. I didn't pick up much bacon, but the coffee and maple were fantastic. I'm extremely excited to be heading to the Maple Bacon Coffee Porter Bottle Release and Festival this Saturday, and can't wait to try it bottled. I'm expecting a massive beer nerd reunion with my local peeps. Their tap list looks insane: Pineapple Jalapeno Hop Gun, Imperial Stout, Fire in the Hole, Pina Colada Wheat Ale, Whiskey Barrel - Aged Snow Day, guest drafts like 7eventh Sun Guilty Pleasure and Galactic Pale Ale, Funky Buddha/Tequesta Brewing Co. Imperial Pils, and Cigar City Brewing Good Gourd Almighty Rum Barrel Aged Ale - just to name a few! Consider this a warning in advance, on behalf of South Florida for flooding your Instagram and Twitter feeds on 1/11/14!
Over my amazing two week winter break / vacation, I mapped out a strategic road trip which hit two breweries while I ran other errands. The first stop was to the rural farmland area of Homestead, to Miami Brewing Company, which also houses Schnebly Winery. I wasn't there for the wine (that day). Strictly the beer please (this time). I picked up a couple 6-packs of Big Rod Coconut Ale, and Gator Tail Brown Ale. Big Rod Coconut Ale is one of my favorite local brews. The aroma instantly transports you to a balmy, tropical day in which you would be relaxing pool side, or jumping off the boat into the warm Atlantic. It tastes just as great. Hints of vanilla and caramel, with a not too overly sweet or phony coconut goes down smooth. The Gator Tail Brown Ale was a new one for me. I like it. It's very malty, with subtle coffee notes. It's not too heavy, so this would be another great one for the beach, boat, or pool.
My next stop was to Wynwood Brewery, in one of the hippest and coolest neighborhoods in Miami. I've tasted their fine beers in other local establishments such as: Tap 42 and the Mack House, but I was SO excited to finally get there in person. I love everyone connected to Wynwood Brewery I've ever met. It's such a great family vibe and they are doing wonderful things. Great things such as: integrating art into the brewery, which is a reflection of the area, and great things such as the growler of El Dorado Pale Ale I brought home. It was so fresh, crisp, with barely there hints of fruity sweetness and the perfect hoppy boldness I love. I will be going back sooner than later, and can't wait to sample everything they have!
On a final note / public service announcement, 595 Tap and Tavern in Davie, has Terrapin Cinnamon Roll'd Wake and Bake on tap!!! Not a Florida brew, but the establishment is South Florida, and the beer is one we could use tonight to keep warm! Cheers!