Remember that time when Greg Koch from Stone Brewing came to Miami in November? It turns out he liked the Magic City so much that he wants to do a collaboration brew with Johnathan Wakefield from J. Wakefield Brewing Company.
Wakefield will fly out to San Diego shortly after the New Year and meet up with Koch to begin their project. What they will be brewing is being kept a secret. However, Wakefield said there will be hot peppers involved, as well as several other ingredients they had shipped in.
The two became acquainted after Wakefield's friend Taylor Cox met Koch at a beer dinner in Melbourne in November 2012. Koch sampled Wakefield's Miami Madness Berliner Weisse, or Florida Weisse. Contact information was exchanged, and soon, Wakefield received a late-night, out-of-the-blue phone call from Koch.
They stayed in touch over the course of the year and became good friends. Koch was Wakefield's guest brewer at Crooked Stave's What the Funk!? invitational at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver last August. Wakefield reportedly stole the show with his sours and Florida Weisses.
Then last November, Koch made a surprise appearance at LoKal in Coconut Grove, showing his love for the Miami beer scene. Koch kicked it at Wakefield's house for awhile then flew back to San Diego. Shortly afterwards, Wakefield received an email from Koch saying that they should do a collaboration. Boom.
"It wasn't totally unexpected, but it came as a bit of a surprise," Wakefield said, remembering the email.
Wakefield and Koch will be brewing a 10-barrel batch at the Stone Brewing Bistro and Gardens at Liberty Station. When it's ready, the batch will be commercially available on the West Coast.
Update: As far as commercial availability in Miami, there is no telling as of yet. A Stone representative contacted Short Order and said due to the Stone's tight schedule and the beer's limited quantity, there are no set plans of making the beer available on the East Coast.
However, there is a possibility that a future batch could be brewed on Stone's bigger system — if the collab is successful, which it is expected to be.
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Wakefield considers Koch an idol in the craft beer industry, but given Koch's love for his sours, it could very well be the other way around.
As far as Wakefield's brewery, construction is set to begin sometime after the first of the year. He's not sure, but Wakefield might hold his next tasting event at the second annual Miami Beer Festival at Sun Life Stadium this coming February.