When news broke that Concrete Beach would not emerge intact from the pandemic and instead will give way in the coming months to Dogfish Head, there were many questions. Chief among them: What would happen to the brews Miamians have come to know and love over the past four years?
One of the beers will live on at Dogfish Head Wynwood as a guest tap, according to head brewer Paul Frederickson. In addition, it remains available through retail and restaurant distribution.
Havana Lager, a Vienna-style lager that takes inspiration from Cuba's brewing traditions, will continue to be brewed at the Wynwood facility and dispensed at the taproom when it reopens as Dogfish Head and at retail outlets.
The beer will become a standalone brand of Concrete Beach, Frederickson says. "We started brewing Havana Lager in 2017 and the city of Miami made it a staple. We decided to put the other [Concrete Beach] beers into hiatus, but Concrete Beach lives on in Havana Lager."
The COVID-19 shutdown did not stop production. The new cans have been rebranded with a pink-and-teal logo.
Concrete Beach's taproom closed on March 13, along with all other Miami breweries. And, although plans were already set to convert the brewery into Dogfish Head, reopening Concrete Beach's social room had been in the works.
Natalie Maltez, senior marketing manager for Concrete Beach and Dogfish Head Miami confirms that COVID was not the cause of Concrete Beach's closure.
"As we moved closer to construction, the window to reopen Concrete Beach kept getting smaller," Maltez explains. "Fortunately, we were able to keep our staff." (The Concrete Beach team has been retained by Dogfish Head.)
Established in 1995 by Sam Calagione in Milton, Delaware, Dogfish Head has a reputation for making "culinary-friendly" beers. Many restaurants offer Dogfish Head pairings with their menu items. The brewery, known for its IPAs, was purchased by Boston Beer Co. last year for $300 million.
Boston Beer is also the parent company of Concrete Beach.
When Dogfish Head Miami opens, head brewer Frederickson intends to offer an assortment of Dogfish Head beers, along with some beers that will be exclusive to the Wynwood taproom.
"It's a great place to work with some Florida ingredients, especially the year-round availability of fresh fruit," Frederickson tells New Times. I see a real opportunity for Dogfish Head to cater to the Soutgh Florida beer consumer, that's for sure."
Frederickson doesn't rule out the possibility that other Concrete Beach beers might make guest appearances from time to time.
There's no set opening date for the taproom, but beer drinkers can take advantage of this year's "holiday helping" promotion, a tradition that began at Concrete Beach. From November 1 through December 31, one dollar for every six-pack of Havana Lager sold will benefit Feeding South Florida.
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