When Concrete Beach Brewery opens in Wynwood this month, it will take Miami beer to another level for two reasons.
First off, this will be the third brewery located on Northwest 24th Street in Wynwood, which can now unofficially be called Brewer's Way.
Secondly, the brewery is a project of Alchemy & Science, a craft brew incubation project and wholly-owned subsidiary of Boston Beer Company. That makes it the first big player in the Miami market with some serious beer knowledge (and money) behind the effort.
Concrete Beach's co-founders are Alan Newman and Stacey Steinmetz. Newman was a founder of Magic Hat Brewing Company and worked there for nearly two decades, while Steinmetz was one of the Vermont brewer's first employees. Both were given the opportunity to start Alchemy & Science, which owns and markets other craft breweries like Coney Island Brewing Company, Angel City Brewery, and the Traveler Beer Company. This partnership brings instant gravitas to the fledgling Miami beer scene.
The 11,000-square-foot combination brewery and social hall will feature an indoor/outdoor bar. Parts of the original structure have been saved to be repurposed back into a social hall wall. Social hall, by the way, is Concrete Beach's way of saying tap room, which will feature art by local artists.
The public space will also offer live entertainment and a retail area where beer fans can purchase t-shirts and pint glasses. Concrete Beach is designed as a tribute to Miami. Jesse Morris, the social hall's manager, says the name itself is an homage to Wynwood, a "concrete oasis that's so close to the beach."
Large glass windows open the space up to the brewery, giving a sense of actually being part of the action. Of course, the brewery will conduct regularly scheduled tours. "We want people to know all about our beers and that making a quality product isn't as easy as it sounds."
Concrete Beach will brew several different beers, including two year-rounds: the Rica, a wheat IPA with pine and grapefruit notes; and the Stiltsville, a European-style pilsner with citrus character. In the works are several unique beers, each utilizing the flavors of South Florida. "We're going to make weird, strange things," Morris notes.
Another intriguing feature of the Wynwood brewery is the in-house laboratory, where head brewer John Carpenter will continuously test his beers for flavor and consistency, which Morris says it crucial to a beer's success. "You can't make a quality product if it tastes different every time. We want our brewery to be a safe harbor, meaning that our customers will always know they're getting the best beer always."
Morris says that Concrete Beach's brews are for everyone -- from beer geek to neophyte. "Craft beer accounts for only two percent of all beer sold in Florida. We want to introduce quality beer to the other 98 percent." Morris says one of the ways Concrete Beach will accomplish this is by extensive training of their social hall bartenders. "The first thing we'll do is ask people what beer they've had that they like. If they like, say, a Corona, we can suggest something that will blow their minds."
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Morris, who has been brewing beer for years, says that his favorite challenge is a person who says they just don't like beer. "Beer can have so many different flavor profiles, that there's always something that can change their minds. It's such a versatile beverage. I want to get these people excited about craft beer."
If you're excited about your first taste of Concrete Beach, the beers are available at Miami-area Publix, Winn-Dixie, and Total Wine & More starting today. Draft beers will be available at local bars and restaurants later on this fall. The tap room will open shortly after.