If your plans for the weekend have fallen through and you feel like all hope is lost, fear not. You simply need to head to Bradenton for what promises to be one unforgettable birthday party. Yes, Bradenton. That’s where Peruvian chef-cum-brewer houses his Peruvian brewery, Darwin Brewing Company, and this weekend it's turning one.
Santa Maria began his culinary career in Miami nearly 20 years ago, attending Johnson and Wales alongside another well-known Miami name, Michelle Bernstein. While Bernstein dug her heels into Miami and made a name for herself with her eponymous Michy’s, Santa Maria headed west, and began delighting Sarasota diners with Peruvian bistro fare, in the form of Darwin’s on 4th.
Opened originally as a brewpub, the beers at Darwin’s on 4th, infused with Peruvian chilies, chocolates, and even purple corn, quickly caught the attention of locals. Cut to a few years later, and Santa Maria decided to give the beers a stage unto themselves. When Darwin Brewing Company opened its doors last year, it became the first and only functioning Peruvian brewery in the United States.
“We built the production brewery because people love our twist of making Andean craft brews, the love and passion that we have to make beer with culinary ingredients,” Santa Maria told New Times back in January ahead of his first tap takeover at MIA Brewing. Since then, Darwin Brewing Company beers have been popping up at craft beer bars and other brewpubs throughout the Broward and Dade areas.
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“For us to accomplish our goal, is to show the American market about our Peruvian roots in craft beer,” said Santa Maria, beaming with excitement about the first anniversary.
As for the Bradenton market, they’ll be getting a huge dose of Miami. Chef Diego Oka, of La Mar at the Mandarin Oriental, will head west to cook alongside Santa Maria, as well as the team from Doral's Divino Ceviche. Additionally, Darwin Brewing Company will release a limited edition bottle run of their Ayawasca Ale, that has been aged in bourbon barrels.
For complete information on tomorrow’s boozy Peruvian party, check the Facebook event page here.