The Best Miami Beers of 2015

Andrew Guthrie of Biscayne Bay Brewing Company
Andrew Guthrie of Biscayne Bay Brewing Company
Courtesy of Biscayne Bay Brewing Company

Good beer is not hard to find in Miami. This wasn't the case more than two years ago, when locally devised or brewed-onsite recipes were few and far between. Since then, the brewing industry here has taken off and shows no signs of slowing. Now there are at least eight breweries operating in the county, including a brewpub. But the scene is still relatively young. 

Some of the best suds in the nation are made right here, and different parts of the world are beginning to notice. Wynwood Brewing's Pops Porter won a gold medal at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival, J. Wakefield Brewing makes sours that have inspired friendships on the West Coast, and MIA Brewing will soon have its beers on tap in the Caribbean. 

Miami has finally caught up with the rest of the craft beer movement in America. So here is our 2015 list. 

It kind of looks like Al Pacino, doesn't it?
It kind of looks like Al Pacino, doesn't it?
Courtesy of MIA Brewing Company

Best Miami-Centric Beer: CzarFace, by MIA Brewing
The beer's name is a reference to both Russia and Cuba. It's a 10 percent alcohol-by-volume (ABV) Russian imperial stout — hence the "Czar" in the name. But it also refers to Tony Montana, actor Al Pacino's character in the 1983 movie Scarface. Look at that face. It resembles Pacino's mug, doesn't it? The movie was a testament to the reality at the time and continues to be a fixture in Miami pop culture lore. There's no mistaking the phrase "Say hello to my little friend!" CzarFace was MIA Brewing's second bottle release of 2015 and one of its strongest beers.

Miami graffiti artist Ahol Sniffs Glue designed the bottle art for his J. Wakefield Brewing collaboration brew, Harbinger.
Miami graffiti artist Ahol Sniffs Glue designed the bottle art for his J. Wakefield Brewing collaboration brew, Harbinger.
Photo by Laine Doss

Best Label Art: J. Wakefield Brewing/Ahol Sniffs Glue Harbinger beer
Miami artist Ahol Sniffs Glue's loves graffiti art and has a drink-beer-to-get-fucked-up attitude. J. Wakefield has a penchant for fine Magic City art (check the brewery's murals). This was a collaboration that seemed destined to happen. Harbinger is hazelnut coffee imperial sweet stout. The label features characters from the artists' film Biscayne World. Only 555 copies were signed by Ahol himself, whose real name is David Anasagasti. Pro tip: Don't throw away the label.

The Best Miami Beers of 2015
Courtesy of Biscayne Bay Brewing Company

Best Drinkability: Biscayne Bay Brewing's Saison
In addition to distinguishing itself from the rest of the industry and being downright experimental at times, Miami craft beer has to have mass appeal. Biscayne Bay Brewing's Saison is the beer anyone can drink. It's smooth up front but has a powerful alcohol finish. That's not surprising, because the beer is 8.6 percent alcohol. It's available only on tap, like all BBBC's beers. 

Concrete Beach Brewery's South American Red Ale in a can.
Concrete Beach Brewery's South American Red Ale in a can.
Photo by Doug Fairall

Best Beer in a Can: Concrete Beach Brewery's Walls South American Red Ale  
Concrete Beach Brewery opened in 2015 after much anticipation. It's a project of Alchemy and Science's Alan Newman, who founded Magic Hat Brewing Company in 1994. The brewery's parent company is Boston Brewing Company, which makes Sam Adams beer. A nod to Miami's connection to Latin America and traditional German beer, Walls is brewed from grain imported from Patagonia and flavored with Tettnang and Cascade hops. Sometimes served in a 16-ounce pint can, Walls has a bit of a pub feel to it as well. 



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