Unseen Creatures Brewing & Blending cofounder Marco Leyte-Vidal recalls the exact beer that inspired him and his wife, Vicky, to explore the world of brewing.
"I spent so much of my early years as a homebrewer trying to re-create that beer, and I just realized I never would," Marco tells New Times. "Once that hit me, I was off to the races to create my own Sierra Nevada Pale Ale."
That early brew — now one of Unseen Creatures' house table beers — opened the brewer's eyes to where his place was among the city's growing craft beer scene. After several years of homebrewing, Marco gained traction with the local craft beer community for his farmhouse-style beers, propelling him toward his dream of opening an independent operation in the city he calls home.
Now, Leyte-Vidal will celebrate Unseen Creatures' second anniversary.
More important, adds Leyte-Vidal, his anniversary plans are a thank-you to anyone who spent even a dollar at the Miami tasting room, lent a helping hand during tough times, or provided an ear for the young couple to share their fears and concerns. It also celebrates the team that stayed strong despite months of operating restrictions during the pandemic.
"The idea is to celebrate not just how far we've come as a brewery, but all of us as a community," Leyte-Vidal tells New Times. "This year's celebration is all about the community — not just the fans, but industry people, too. Having opened right before the start of the pandemic, we would not have even been here to celebrate two years without their support."
To that end, the brewer chose to ring in his second anniversary by inviting each of Miami's independent brewers to take part in a two-part beer collaboration. Participating local breweries include J. Wakefield, Lincoln's Beard, Ceiba, MIA, Tripping Animals, Spanish Marie, King Fox, Shojo, Beat Culture, Prison Pals, The Tank, Biscayne Bay, and Unbranded.
Their mission: Brew a massive stout worthy of its Miami inspiration.
The resulting 16-brewery collaboration culminates later this month with the release of two bottled stouts. Using the same base stout, the brewers treated two batches separately, creating "Magic City Pride," a 12.5 percent ABV, flan-inspired imperial stout.; and "Locked Arms," a 12.5 percent ABV, Oreo-inspired imperial stout.
Both anniversary beers will be available on draft and for purchase for $20 each during Unseen Creatures' second-anniversary celebration taking place Wednesday, March 16 through Sunday, March 19 at the Miami brewery and taproom. There are limited quantities available.
During the four-day event, Unseen Creatures' anniversary week will serve to highlight everything Miami, from local musicians and business owners to food and beverage vendors. Festivities cover a variety of taproom specials and themed activities, ranging from an all-day happy hour on Wednesday to the stout release on Friday and a "Bikes, BBQ, and Beer" Argentine-style grill-off on Saturday. For details, visit Unseen Creatures' Instagram.
"We are nothing without our community," sums up Marco. "This is our 'cheers' to Miami and our way of showing our appreciation and support for those who have supported us."
Unseen Creatures Brewing & Blending Two-Year Anniversary. Wednesday, March 16, through Saturday, March 19, at 4178 SW 74th Ct., Miami; 786-332-2903; unseencreatures.com.