The untimely death of MIA Beer Company brewer Piero Rodriguez, who preferred to be called only by his first name, shocked the Miami craft beer industry to its core. The 34-year-old husband and father perished in a car accident during the early-morning hours of June 19 after he left the brewery to spend Father's Day with his son.
Piero's influence extended to those who barely knew him. With the event of his death still fresh in everyone's mind, Pinch Kitchen will host an MIA Beer Company beer dinner this Monday, July 11, and 50 percent of the money generated from sales going toward Piero's family. The brewer leaves behind a wife and a 9-year-old son.
The Craft Collab 3.0 five-course dinner pairs each course with some of the last beers created by Piero.
It was just a week before Piero passed away that Pinch Kitchen cofounder John Gallo and his staff met with the brewer. The restaurant crew had just finished a busy Friday night when they met Piero at the brewery around 1 a.m. He was already home, but restaurant general manager Alex Coello — who was a friend — picked Piero up at his home and took him back to the brewery, where he gave an impromptu tour to Pinch Kitchen staff.
"He took his time to go back with us and show us around the brewery and taste everything with us," Gallo says. "The fact that he went back after-hours to go show us around the brewery, he was an amazing person."
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It was the second time Gallo and his crew had met with Piero. They met in January when they first collaborated. Piero went to Pinch and introduced the staff to MIA's beers. Gallo recalls being impressed by the passion he had for his craft.
Gallo didn't know Piero as well as other people knew the brewer but was nevertheless stunned when he learned of his death. "It was surreal," he says.
The evening's five-course dinner begins with an amuse-bouche paired with a Wildling American IPA. The first course is a beet-cured Scottish salmon with forbidden rice, pickled plum, and microcilantro, paired with Big in Japan sake beer. The second course is alitas de pollo with confitadas, guayaba, and habaneros, paired with Regresa a Mi Berliner Weisse. The third course is cod dumplings with blue cheese, fresh horseradish, and preserved lemon vinaigrette, paired with Baltizar American porter. A fourth course of seared duck breast with bok choy and artichokes, paired with Machetazo American amber, follows. The evening ends with a pineapple, hibiscus, and thyme gelato with tapioca bijou, paired with El Cuco India white ale.
The dinner runs from 7 to 9:30 p.m. and will be hosted by Evan Benn, editor of Indulge Miami magazine. Tickets for Craft Collab cost $75, inclusive of tax, gratuity, and fees, and can be purchased at Eventbrite. In addition, one of Piero's last beers, Babalu Berliner Weisse, will be on tap at Pinch Kitchen.