While the number of options has grown exponentially in the past several years, there's always a handful that stand out from the rest. They're the breweries taking the game to the next level, crafting solid suds while creating the type of taproom experience that draws crowds from across the nation — even the globe.
Across Miami-Dade and Fort Lauderdale, they include breweries that we've come to know and love, as well as a few newcomers that are giving us something new to appreciate. To that, we say "cheers to great Florida beer!"
Best Brewery (Miami)Tripping Animals Brewing Co.
2685 NW 105th Ave., Miami
trippinganimals.comWhen Tripping Animals Brewing Co. came on the scene in 2018, no one could have guessed the Doral-based brewery — known nationwide for its whimsical animal-themed can art and fanciful fruited sours — would also become the steward of Miami's growing craft beer community. Over the past few years, the Venezualan-born and -reared team of brewers and owners (Daniel Chocron, Ignacio Montenegro, Iker Elorriaga, and Juan Manuel Torres) have banded together to become a living embodiment of all things South Florida beer. They host annual beer festivals like Irie Jungle that attract guest breweries from across the nation and they're the official sponsors of Miami's first official craft beer week, and they're ground zero for some of South Florida's best brews. The bustling taproom is typically packed with thirsty patrons ready to throw back a few lagers or sample their latest in a continual experimentation of hazy, hop-infused IPAs, boldly fruited sours, and dessert-themed stouts. It's easy to spend hours in Tripping Animals' cozy, lounge-like spaces, or the in-house restaurant from Meat & Bone, or a large game room in the back of the brewhouse where you can shoot pool or hoops, throw darts, or even play video games.
Best Brewery (Broward)Invasive Species
726 NE Second Ave., Fort Lauderdale
invasivespeciesbrewing.comInvasive Species is, without a doubt, South Florida's most "Florida" brewery. Maybe it's the one-of-a-kind museum of natural history-meets-urban warehouse taproom, decorated floor to ceiling with a rather large array of taxidermy. Maybe it's the equally impressive beer selection, a menu that covers everything from easy-drinking lagers and hop-bombed IPAs to fruit-infused sours and tropical drink-inspired hard seltzers. Or maybe it's the hardcore local crowd (many of them members of the brewery's Carouser Club mug club) that bellies up to the bar week after week, the cacophony of their conversation as loud as the eclectic list of tunes the staff is known to blast from the speakers. While the name is a nod to our state's non-indigenous flora and fauna, it's also an invitation to potential patrons, be they natives or transplants. For all of this we can thank South Floridians and brewers Phil Gillis and Josh Levitt, who teamed up with nearby Laser Wolf cofounders Chris and Jordan Bellus to offer a craft-beer experience that speaks purely to our Sunshine State. Twenty tap lines pour a constantly rotating selection of brews, but you'd be remiss if you didn't try repeat offerings like Ninja Juice, an ale brewed using almost 50 percent rice in place of traditional grains and fermented with sake yeast.
Best New Brewery (Miami)Época Brewing
12355 NE 13th Ave., North Miami
epocabrewing.comNorth Miami's newest nanobrewery, Época Brewing, isn't your average beer bar. Instead, think of a visit here as a way to escape to another place and time. The ethos: Take people on a journey to a different era — or epoch — telling stories of the past through the lens of craft beer. While most South Florida breweries have hopped on the local hype train delivering smoothie-inspired fruited ales and dessert-infused stouts, Época cofounders Danny Gutierrez, Jeffrey Delonny, and JC Otero chart a different course. A large bar overlooking the brewhouse presents 12 taps that feature the brewery's take on small-batch IPAs, lagers, and wild-fermentation ales — among them a signature house beer known as Zenith, a fruited and dry-hopped double IPA treated with strawberry and guava. Sip it in the chic, open-air taproom or the zen-like outdoor beer garden, a cozy, space with intimate lighting that has become the focal point of the Época experience.
Best New Brewery (Broward)Orchestrated Minds
803 NW First St., Fort Lauderdale
orchestratedmindsbrewing.coAfter Davy Martin moved to South Florida in 2011, the self-described hop head was hard-pressed to find a solid local IPA to his liking. To remedy the dearth of options, he began home brewing. When people told him he had a knack for turning grain into primo liquid, he took it one step further when he and his wife Jaime opened Orchestrated Minds. Today, the nanobrewery stands as a grassroots effort where the couple — alongside a small but dedicated staff — delivers a curated selection of small-batch beers. With hip-hop blasting from the speakers, the open-air ambiance is akin to sharing a cold one with your friends in the backyard, only here you do it with the owners and brewers themselves. It's the ideal spot to sip some of Davy's most well-received beers, recipes he's been perfecting using a one-barrel system. The brewer focuses on delivering true-to-style IPAs, simple sours, and roasty stouts that don't rely on the use of lactose or artificial extracts. That includes Touch of Grey, an easy-drinking, low-ABV blond ale accented with Earl Grey tea that presents notes of orange and lime, inspired from the couple's trips to craft beer mecca Hill Farmstead. For those hot summer days, try Surfer's Tan, a refreshing take on an unfiltered German-style pilsner. A trip to Orchestrated Minds isn't complete without a taste of the latest stout to hit the draft lines, each new beer a riff on Baseline, Davy's base stout recipe, which he uses to create the brewery's popular barrel-aged or adjunct-flavored stout series.
Best Brewery FoodM.I.A. Beer Company (Masa Craft)
10400 NW 33rd St., Doral
mia.beerMiami-born Carlos Carreras and Nayra Serrano are the dish-dealing duo behind Masa Craft, the taproom restaurant operating out of M.I.A. Beer Company in Doral. The operation has its roots as a pop-up serving the local craft beer since 2018. Post-pandemic, the duo stepped in to feed the masses at M.I.A.'s busy taproom and hasn't looked back since. Carreras and Serrano fuse their roots for a unique mashup of their combined heritage that mixes Cuban, Spanish, and Filipino influences. They roll with a small and dedicated crew that consistently pumps out some of the area's best burgers and croquetas. Carreras, a longtime bartender and taproom manager, is behind the burgers, a specialty blend of brisket, chuck, and hanger that forms the base for dozens of sandwiches, from patty melts to the popular "Smackdown" smash burger topped with cheese, lettuce, tomato, and his own remoulade-style "Woo" sauce. Serrano, whose family owns Los Gallegos on Bird Road, comes in hot with her award-winning croqueta game. The three-day process behind each handcrafted ball of goodness requires topnotch ingredients — think chorizo and cheese sourced directly from Spain — hand-rolled just the way abuela used to make.