Big plans are being made for Biscayne Boulevard just north of where the MiMo district "officially" ends. A shopping center is being refurbished with the hope of attracting shops and restaurants, and an antiques mall is being built. Right now, however, Biscayne Home Brew & Carry Out has just opened.
Partner Aaron Busch has big plans for the small shop at 7939 Biscayne Blvd., which opened less than a week ago, envisioning it as a place where beer aficionados can gather and share brewing tips over a pint or two. But one thing at a time.
Busch, the former chef de cuisine at Blue Collar, opened Biscayne Home Brew & Carry Out with partner David Lockshin, who owns a brewing shop in Costa Rica and has been making beer for decades. The two, along with Aaron's brother Wade, make up the staff at the shop, brewing beer and giving advice to homebrewers who stop in for some malt, yeast, or other supplies.
Currently, the shop sells only retail brewing supplies while they're waiting for their package license. Once that's in place in about a week or so, the shop will offer about five dozen curated craft brews. Busch also plans to offer homebrew classes, with samples of their own brews included. Eventually, the team will also sell beer to consume on the premises. In anticipation, a vintage bar, complete with brass foot rails, is already in place.
Busch comes from North Carolina, where the craft beer scene is extensive. He says a recent trip back home sparked the chef's interest in homebrewing. "The craft brew scene is incredible there. I hadn't been back in two and a half years. When I got to Miami, I started brewing and noticed there are only two places that sell supplies in the Miami area. Then I met my partner, David, and we decided to open a store.
"We looked at spaces a little farther south but found this area. The owners of the building are great people, and they want to bring this area up. In the next few years this neighborhood is going to be incredible."
Busch says that just like life, making beer is as easy -- or as complicated -- as you want it to be. "I'm not an extremely scientific-minded person, but I do keep track of the amount of water, yeast, malt, as well as the temperature, times. You can go into details, but most people aren't interested in that. They're interested in the flavor profiles. We're basically creating and following recipes."
In a nutshell, beginners can start making beer with a reusable kit that sells for $95.99 and some supplies. "Equipment aside, it typically costs about $40 to make five gallons of beer, which comes out to about a dollar a beer. All you'd really need besides that is a pot that can boil up to three gallons of liquid. And if you don't have one, we can sell that to you as well."
The big question is, of course, how long before you're on your patio with your buddies drinking your own homebrew? Busch says if you start now, you'll be enjoying your own beer in only a few weeks. "We actually just brewed a porter using a snapper crust spice blend and an extract beer. That means you don't have to steep the grains for an hour. We just had to get it to a boil; then after about ten minutes we cooled it down. Now it's fermenting, and that takes from five days to two weeks. There are many, many more steps you can take, obviously, but that's the easiest way to make your own beer. So you're talking about two weeks. That's why it's such a good hobby."
If you're sold on making your own beer, Biscayne Home Brew & Carry Out will start classes in the next week or so. Classes will cost about $20 to $25 per person and will include tastings of beer so you can sample what you're making. Or stop in and one of the guys will talk you through the entire process.
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Biscayne Home Brew & Carry Out is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.