With a Miami summer fast approaching, one of the only things to look forward to is a plethora of good, local beer on the horizon. Jonathan Wakefield is one busy brewer.
The owner of J. Wakefield Brewing Company has just returned from New Belgium Brewing Company's Headquarters in Fort Collins, Colorado. He and that operation are making a collaborative grilled pineapple Berliner Weiss, a sessionable sour with a fruity pineapple nose and a crisp finish. At 3.8% ABV, it's a good choice for a hot summer day.
Wakefield says that initially, "the thought of putting grilled pineapple in a Berliner [seemed] a crazy idea, but [it's] one I think will be very well received. Berliner Weisse is a great platform for fruit and this version will be a perfect beer for the summertime.” In return, the New Belgium brewing team will fly to Miami to work on another co-brewed beer, a sour mango Witte, the second week of June.
The Miami brewer says that the he met Lauren Salazar, New Belgium's specialty brand manager and wood cellar blender, in Tampa long before J. Wakefield opened. "We stayed connected because we wanted to put something together and all the pieces just fell into place recently."
Wakefield, who has teamed up with other well known breweries like Stone and Terrapin, says that every collaboration is humbling. "I'm honored to be able to brew with these guys. It's an amazing opportunity to be able to brew with them and it's a great spotlight on Miami."
Wakefield says he especially took home a lot from his New Belgium visit. "I learned a lot more about sour beers that will help me here with my own sour program. The other thing I noticed is just how tight knit the beer community is there in Colorado and how close everyone is. I think Miami would be a much richer environment if everyone worked together."
With that in mind, Wakefield has reached out to several local breweries for a local collaborative effort. "I've spoken to Concrete Beach, Miami Brewing Company, and Biscayne Bay Brewing. Maybe we can do a four-way collaboration."
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To celebrate the New Belgium team-up, Wakefield has a full weekend of activities planned. On Thursday, June 11, Wakefield will host a Wynwood tap walk, which starts at his brewery and goes to Wynwood Walls, The Butcher Shop, Wood Tavern, and others. Then, on Friday June 12, Eating House will host a beer pairing dinner. On Saturday morning, Kush will offer a beer brunch featuring JWB beers. Finally, the J. Wakefield/New Belgium collaboration will be on tap at J. Wakefield brewery (as well at the New Belgium Liquid Center, if you happen to be in Colorado that weekend). Further details and pricing will be available on J. Wakefield's website shortly.
If you can't wait until June to sample J. Wakefield's imaginative marriage of beer and tropical fruit, the taproom is pouring its dragon fruit passion fruit Floridaweisse this weekend. The beer, which was ranked number eight in the world beer ranking on ratebeer.com in 2012, and was one of the top rated sours in the world in 2013, will be available on Saturday, May 16, starting at noon.
This sour wheat beer is infused with local passion fruit and dragon fruit and has a deep fuchsia hue. A 14 oz. pour will sell for $9 and the brewery is requesting that everyone wear pink in celebration. In addition, the brewery will offer a host of other special beers including Desperado, a bourbon barrel Imperial Stout with ancho chiles, cacao nibs, and cinnamon; a peach Trippel, and four or five other specialty brews.