Old Deck Beer Company, Miami's newest beer brand, has begun pouring at taps around town.
Though the brewery doesn't have an actual location yet, founder and brewer Luis Suarez contracted with the Tank Brewing Co. to use its facilities. The collaboration has worked out: Old Deck launched its first beer, the F.A.D.E.D. IPA, last week.
For homebrewers such as Suarez who want to break into the market with their own company, contract brewing is a cost-effective way to go, compared to leasing or buying a location and equipment, which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars or more.
"It's really grassroots," he says. "It's where we started."
A Miami native, Suarez is a Kendall resident and an employee with the City of Hialeah who has been homebrewing for at least the past decade. He hopes the success of his first beer will help lead to more.
"Let's at least try to get into the market and get some feedback," Suarez says. "That should, hopefully, fingers crossed, help facilitate funding."
Old Deck's first beer is what the brewmaster describes as a "Southeast-style" IPA that's similar to its Northeast cousin but drier for Miami's climate and contains lots of hoppy flavor. It's brewed with two-row flaked wheat and a blend of hops including Mosaic, Citra, and El Dorado. The blend, he says, gives the brew intense flavors of mango, papaya, and citrus.
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Old Deck was formerly known as Black Point Brewery, named for South Miami-Dade's Black Point Marina, but Suarez changed it when it came time to trademark. Had he not changed it, he says, an attorney informed him he'd probably run into a legal battle with Blue Point Brewing, a brewery based in Long Island, New York, that's owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev.
The beer's logo includes a palm tree, a rising sun, and a hops cone — all symbolizing Miami and its beer industry. Suarez says it represents the 25-year-old deck in the back of his house where he began brewing. He adds that the rising sun represents the time he usually gets up to brew, which is around 6 or 7 in the morning.
F.A.D.E.D. IPA is distributed by Nomad + Co. Distributing, based in Hialeah. The brew can be found at dozens of places, including Union Beer Store, Mendez Fuel, the Local, and Kush. It's also a guest tap at other local breweries, such as Lincoln's Beard and Legacy Caribbean Craft Brewery.
A release party is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, September 29, at the Pinecrest location of Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza. Old Deck will also pour at the Miami Beach Oktoberfest and Grovetoberfest October 5, as well as at North Miami Brewfest November 10.