When a brewery opens to the public, customers expect that its beer will be ready to drink. That wasn't exactly the case when Lincoln's Beard Brewing Company opened at 7360 SW 41st St. in the Bird Road Arts District this past May, but cofounder John Falco says the brewery received its final permit and will have beer flowing through its taps on a regular basis no later than the second week of August.
The permit in question is the manufacturer/brewer of malt beverage (CMB), which is required to make and sell beer in Florida. To receive this permit, Falco needed a federal brewing permit, which the brewery also received last week.
At first, Lincoln's Beard had a permit to only sell, not make, alcohol on premises, but Falco, cofounder Rob Regan, and their partners decided to open anyway. It was more of a financial move than anything else, Falco says.
The brewery gained a reputable following as a local neighborhood brewpub in less than two months despite not having any brewing permits. It hosted trivia on Monday, karaoke on Wednesday, and live music on Saturday, all while serving a menu of guest taps from craft breweries in Miami and beyond. In less than two months, it was already hosting private events and supporting the Bird Road arts scene.
"A huge benefit was the visibility it gave us on the local tastes of our neighborhood," Falco says. "I have found it has really aided my vision for the brewhouse."
Now the other main attraction at Lincoln's Beard is its own beer. On July 1, Falco put out the first slim keg (five gallons) of P. Swayze IPA, and it kicked in a half-hour. Another keg — Avenge Me! Irish Red — was finished off in 20 minutes after that.
Until beer from Lincoln's Beard is available en masse, Falco will limit the release of slim kegs of house-made brew leading up to the big day in August. Fridays, Saturdays, and Wednesdays after 7 p.m., he'll tap a Lincoln's Beard keg as soon as any other keg is finished.
For now, Falco is brewing on the pilot system in order to get recipes dialed-in for the larger seven-barrel system. He's putting the finishing touches on the larger system and expects it to be ready for a test batch by the end of the week.
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In addition to brewing the flagships — Avenge Me! Irish Red; P. Swayze American IPA; and Witch King Imperial Stout — Falco and Regan plan to make a "pink" IPA, which won't actually look pink. According to Falco, the idea is that the beer will be a red IPA fermented with witte beer yeast.
Another beer in the works is a Norwegian IPA, which Falco wants to ferment outside in the open, although not with wild yeast. The partners also plan to brew a classic saison, or farmhouse ale, and take advantage of Miami's abundance of tropical fruit.
Falco says at least three collaborations with local breweries are in the works but can't give many details because plans are still being worked out.
"We built a really good following," Falco says. "We're starting to become your neighborhood brewpub."