Brews and Bites Wednesday: Fancy PBR and Truly Local Microbrews

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Local craft beer is here in Miami for all to try at the Brews n' Bites craft beer tasting event this Wednesday at Mary Brickell Village. It kicks off the United Way Miami Wine and Food Festival.

There will be over 100 craft beers to try. Among those with a tap list are local beer purveyors Luis Brignoni from Wynwood Brewing Company and Diego Ganoza from Gravity Brewbar who will be breaking out the big guns for this event.

One of the more interesting styles of beer on hand will be a Pabst Blue Ribbon "on steroids", or a saison dupont, which is farmhouse-style ale made with a special strain of yeast, brewed by Ganoza.

The inspiration came from Robert Tejon--Ganoza's partner from Gravity Brewbar--who thought it would be a good idea to take the bitterness of PBR, amp the hop level,  and make it into a refreshing pale ale.

It's not an exact PBR recipe, but Ganoza wanted to take what he considers the best of the mass-produced Midwestern swill and make it better. No longer will anyone look at PBR the same; maybe the hipsters have good taste after all.

A saison is a style of beer popular in Belgium, typically around 3 to 4 percent alcohol and brewed during the winter to be consumed in the summer. The PBR saison will be approximately 4.5 percent alcohol by volume.

"It's what farm workers and barn workers used to have in the summer months to cool off," says Ganoza, who admits he's taking a bit of a risk by basing one of his recipes on a mass-produced, non-craft beer. But he thinks it is one of his best creations.

Don't be confused by the contradiction, PBR should feel honored. Some companies like MillerCoors may not be so flattered and could be trying ride the coat tails of Miami's craft beer scene by moving there Latin American headquarters here.

"With all of the micro- and nanobreweries popping up all over the place," says Diego, "the best shot they have is taking their garbage around the world."

Ganoza will also be pouring other flavors: MameyPA, a mamey fruit-style IPA, a mint berliner weiss and black sapote fruit flavored beer aged in whiskey barrels, are among the eight flavors, five gallons each for a total of 40 gallons ready to pour.

Brignoni and Wynwood will be pouring a blonde ale, pale ale, imperial IPA and a porter. Tampa's Cigar City Brewing Company and Miami homebrew co-op Cerve Tech will be there pouring their beers as well.

Tickets for VIP are sold about general admission tickets are still available for $55. The event starts at 6 p.m. for VIP, and 7 to 9 p.m. for general admission.

Participating restaurants for the beer pairings include Edge Steak & Bar, Timo Restaurant & Bar, Rosa Mexicano, Fado Irish Pub and even Tobacco Road, as well as 12 other Miami restaurants.

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