It's hard to believe, but a few short years ago, Miamians had few options for locally brewed beers. Now the choices are varied, with breweries offering everything from crisp lagers to complex cask-aged selections.
The beer scene in South Florida is growing, seeing many operations opening this past year. Here are some of the best places for beer that opened in 2017.
1. Veza Sur and Baja Bao Open With Beer Cocktails and Bao Buns. Wynwood craft brewery Veza Sur Brewing Co. opened its doors to the public August 19, along with Baja Bao, the eatery that serves buns and bowls by chef Jose Mendin. Veza Sur was founded by Bogota Beer Company's Berny Silberwasser; Chris and Jeremy Cox of 10 Barrel Brewing Company in Bend, Oregon; and master brewer Asbjorn Gerlach. A German native with more than 24 years of brewing experience, Gerlach founded Kross Brewery, the second-largest brewery in Chile. Veza Sur is owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev.
2. Bousa Brewing Co. Taproom Opens in Little River. Less than two weeks after Hurricane Irma blasted Miami, Bousa Brewing Co. quietly opened its taproom September 22. The 12,000-square-foot warehouse and adjacent 1,500-square-foot tasting room are located in the Little River business complex near to the train tracks. Cofounders Enrique Garcia and Juan Pablo Vergara brought on brewmaster Jack Sparks, who previously brewed for Nine Band Brewing Co. in Allen, Texas, and worked as a consultant for breweries in South America.
3. The Tank Brewing Co. Opens Taproom. The Tank Brewing Co. taproom debuted, making the craft brewery the latest in Miami to pour beers onsite for the public. The announcement was made on the brewery's social media, which invited the public to an informal "sip and discuss" event and preview to mark the occasion. Owner Carlos Padron says he opened the taproom following a week of inviting test crowds of various sizes.
4. NightLife Brewing Co. Emerges Unscathed From Irma, Releases First Beer. Hurricane Irma turned out to be a close call for NightLife Brewing Company. The storm knocked out power to the brewery for several days, causing the temperature to rise and nearly spoil most of the beer, cofounder Juan O'Naghten says. But Florida Power & Light restored electricity to NightLife Brewing September 15, just in time for the brewery's release of its Next Thursday Pale Ale, on draft in the taproom, located at Marlins Park. NightLife opened for business in late August.
5. Legacy Caribbean Craft Brewery Taproom Opens in Opa-locka. Legacy Caribbean Craft Brewery, located at 13416 NW 38th Ct., opened its taproom to the public January 19, officially marking Opa-locka as a craft beer destination in Miami-Dade. Legacy co-owner/brewmaster Ismael Fernandez told New Times the brewery received all of its permits. The taproom initially opened with limited hours until the brewery could keep up with distribution and provide enough suds for the taps.
6. Invasive Species Brewing Offers Experimental Beers at Fort Lauderdale Brewery. Invasive Species Brewing has officially invaded South Florida. The 2,800-square-foot facility and taproom, located in Fort Lauderdale, is one of several breweries slated to open in Broward County in the coming year. Following a private friends-and-family debut last weekend, Invasive Species Brewing is now holding temporary business hours from 5 p.m. to midnight this week at its Flagler Village taproom.
7. Holy Mackerel Brewing Opens Nanobrewery and Tasting Room in Pompano Beach. The Holy Mackerel Garage Project, a nanobrewery and tasting room, opened in Pompano Beach. The tasting room is located at 3260 NW 23rd Ave., Pompano Beach, just a short drive from nearby Bangin' Banjo Brewing Company and newly opened Broski Ciderworks.
8. Mathews Brewing Co. Will Offer South Florida's Only Cask Ale Program. On December 15, Mathews Brewing Co. opened the doors to its Lake Worth brewhouse and taproom, located just west of the city's downtown in the newly recognized Artisanal Industrial District. Mathews Brewing Co. owner and brewer Dave Mathews says he originally planned to launch his business in West Palm Beach but was drawn south thanks to Lake Worth's "funky, cool vibe" and the city's business-friendly atmosphere.
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9. Odd Breed Opens Florida's First Brewery Dedicated to Wild Ales. Florida's first brewery dedicated to American wild ales is now open in Pompano Beach. The day after Thanksgiving, Odd Breed Wild Ales owners and brewers Matt Manthe and Dan Naumko debuted their tasting room. The intimate space is located in the city's industrial-like Old Town Pompano area.
10. Union Beer Store Opens in Little Havana. Union Beer Store, located at 1547 SW Eighth St., will celebrate its soft opening this Saturday in Little Havana. The craft beer bar and lounge will feature 21 taps of mostly local brews, although it will offer some out-of-town suds. Unlike many bars cofounder David Rodriguez has seen, the taps face the customer so the bartender can engage with guests without having his back turned while pouring.