With nearly 200 licensed breweries, Florida is considered one of America’s fastest-growing states for craft breweries.
The Florida Brewers Guild identifies a little more than 20 new breweries from Miami-Dade to Palm Beach County, but that number isn't accurate if you count production and small-scale microbreweries with taprooms open to the public. Still, all the facts and figures become insignificant when you consider the big picture: Something special is happening here.
It's certainly the case for Miami, where breweries are coming online on a regular basis. With the beer temperature heating up, a number of newcomers have announced plans to open breweries and taprooms.
Here are the ten hottest breweries set to open in Miami:
1. Sweet Mercy Brewing Company
Longtime friends Robert Silar and Eric Alvarez began homebrewing six years ago. After plenty of positive feedback from friends and the community after pouring at several events, including a Kush homebrew share, the duo decided to make brewing beer a professional endeavor. The name "Sweet Mercy" is a nod to Silar's wife's grandmother: her favorite Southern slang term that perfectly summarizes the feeling you get when you try their beer. The two say their hope is for Sweet Mercy Brewing Company to be a true neighborhood brewery; they have long-term plans to create a community-based facility focused on charitable outreach before concentrating on distribution. Keep an eye out for a crowdfunding campaign later this year.
Sweet Mercy will operate with a brewhouse capable of producing 300 barrels a year, including the brand's four core beers: an IPA brewed with Misca, Cascade, Amarillo, and Mosaic hops; a wheat beer brewed with fresh mango; a pale ale brewed with Centennial hops; and a traditional brown ale. Keep an eye out for seasonal releases, which will include a saison, an imperial IPA, a session IPA, and an Oktoberfest. Further down the road, expect a wild-ale and barrel-aging program.
Scheduled to open late fall 2017 in Hialeah or Little River.
2. Unseen Creatures Brewing & Blending
Unseen Creatures Brewing & Blending cofounders Marco Leyte-Vidal and his wife, Vicky, are bringing Miami its first fully dedicated farmhouse-inspired wild-ale brewhouse. Marco, a lawyer by day, began homebrewing several years ago and plans to create his favorite styles alongside a brewer who has extensive experience with the specialized kinds of beers that will be produced at Unseen Creatures.
A seven-barrel system will also make the brand's core pale ale, pilsner, and saison on its "clean" side, but the main focus will be the oak-barrel-aged, mixed-fermentation wild and sour beers. A Brett-fermented table beer dubbed Artifact is described as tart, funky, and easy-drinking. The brewery will focus on the taproom and will have a limited distribution to select South Florida accounts.
Scheduled to open early 2018 in North Miami.
3. Unbranded Brewing Co.
Unbranded Brewing Co. founder/brewer Zach Swanson and operating partner Julian Uribe hope to open one of Hialeah's first breweries later this year. The company gets its name from Swanson's great-great-grandfather, a Texas cattle rancher known as Samuel Augustus Maverick. "He didn't brand his cattle, which at the time was a crazy thing to do, so people began calling the unbranded steers and cows 'mavericks.' The name stuck, and now everyone who does something unconventional and eccentric is given the same name." At Unbranded Brewing, the name will be a nod to Swanson's unbranded beers (they won't be named but instead will be referred to only as the style or type of beer).
The 30-barrel brewhouse, located in Hialeah's burgeoning Leah Arts District, will produce an all-new line of core brews Swanson plans to create alongside his future head brewer. Originally from Houston, the longtime homebrewer won the 2014 North Carolina Brewer's Cup Silver Medal for his Nutjob brown ale, and best hop-forward beer at the 2015 Grovetoberfest for his Tailgate session IPA. He has also experimented with sours and barrel-aging, including his F'ing Old Fashioned, a bourbon-barrel-aged old ale with cherries and orange peel. When Unbranded launches, expect to find at least one confirmed specialty or seasonal release: a traditional "wee heavy" Scotch strong ale, one of Swanson's favorite styles.
Scheduled to open between winter 2017 and spring 2018 at 1395 E. 11th Ave., Hialeah.
4. Spanish Marie Brewery
This summer, Spanish Marie Brewing founders Jaime Medina, Robert Pando, and Alberto Cespedes will launch a full production brewery, tasting room, and retail shop in a warehouse complex just north of Miami Executive Airport. The 1920s/speakeasy-themed brewery will offer beers that pay homage to the area's history. The Spanish Brewery's groundbreaking tasting on Sunday, March 12, gave residents a taste of the brews to come during a private sampling with the owners while also giving locals a first glimpse of the space.
The trio plans to begin offering several core beers, including the 3-12-28 black IPA, brewed with chocolate malt; King Charlie Hefeweizen, a passionfruit-infused wheat ale; 1926 Coffee porter, malty Cuban espresso-infused porter (formerly known as La Cafetera, winner of Grovetoberfest’s homebrewers competition); and 3'N'Out APA, a bitter pale ale.
Taproom is scheduled to open summer 2017, with full production beginning early fall 2017 at 14241 SW 120th St., Miami.
5. Descarga Brewing Company
Descarga Brewing Company cofounders Jesus Rascon, Danny Gutierrez, and head brewer Manny Jannes began brewing together as Opus Ales in 2013. Today the name is an homage to their combined Cuban heritage, a play on the Afro-Cuban word "descargas," or "jam session." Locally, the team — which now includes marketing coordinator Felix Pons and graphic designer Tony Meneses — has earned a reputation for its fruited beers inspired by the cuisine and culture of South and Central America and the Caribbean. The team is working with the City of North Miami to build a 2,600-square-foot nanobrewing facility located across the street from the city's planned Tri-Rail station.
Descarga will brew a constantly rotating selection of beers and styles, each flavored with seasonal fruits and adjuncts. However, longtime favorites such as the Palero Baltic porter (aged on Palo Santo wood that offers strong hazelnut, cinnamon, and coffee flavors); Hi-Ju-Doin, hibiscus, juniper berry, and raspberry Belgian ale; and Saison Completa will make regular appearances. There are also plans to create an all-new flagship they've dubbed NoMi Homey, a dry-hopped white pale ale they will brew in honor of North Miami.
Scheduled to open July 2017 at 12355 NE 13th Ave., North Miami.
6. Bousa Brewing Company
Miami resident Enrique Garcia and his business partner, Bogotá-born Juan Pablo Vergara, met four years ago while taking brewing courses. Today the two are already selling their core recipes throughout Miami, and they've established their brewery in the heart of Miami's burgeoning Little River District. When they open later this spring, the 12,000-square-foot warehouse and adjacent 1,500-square-foot tasting room will offer guests a chance to try brewery's flagship beers from 14 taps. The name "Bousa" comes from the Latin word "bouza," commonly used to describe booze as well as an Old-World-style beer from the Mediterranean region.
The brewery's 20-barrel system and brewmaster Jack Sparks have the capacity to produce an estimated 4,000 barrels per year. Garcia and Vergara began production of their core beers in December and distribute to Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties. Find their flagship British-style Bousa IPA and their Bousa Blonde American wheat ale by the brewery's attractive all-white tap handles.
Scheduled to open May 2017 at 7235 NE Fourth Ave., Miami.
7. The Tank Brewing Company
Owner/founder Carlos Padron and brewers Matthew Weintraub and Moh Saade will open the Tank Brewing Company, which will be home to one of South Florida’s largest tasting rooms. The sprawling, 25,000-square-foot facility will dedicate 4,000 square feet to their new taproom, which can hold nearly 600 guests. Sixteen taps will pour at Tank, which will offer of a mix of guest beers, specialty releases, and a series of core beers: Freedom Tower, an American amber ale; La Finca Miami, a Belgian-style wheat saison; and El Farito IPA. "As a tribute to the city we love and where our team was born and raised,” Carlos Padron says, "a number of our core beers have been named after landmarks in Miami that we feel are an inspiration for us to create something great, artisanal, and handmade." The Twisted Fork Kitchen will make the Tank one of the few breweries in Florida to have a dedicated kitchen offering a rotating menu of plates meant to be paired with each beer. The brewery will also be home to a cigar store and lounge – an homage to Padron's close ties to the Plasencia family, of the Plasencia Cigar Company, whom he considers an inspiration.
The Tank uses a 15-barrel system to brew its beer, and plans are in the works to bottle in the next several months. The brewery specializes in a variety of styles, notably Belgian farmhouse and abbey-style ales and recipes historically brewed in Western European monasteries such as dubbels, tripels, and quadrupels.
Scheduled to open April 2017 at 5100 NW 72nd Ave., Miami.
8. Tripping Animals Brewery
Tripping Animals Brewery head brewer Daniel Chocron has partnered with friends Juan Manual Torres and Ignacio Montenegro (as well as the HES Group, a hotel and development company). They recently signed a lease for a 15,000-square-foot facility in the heart of Doral, a large warehouse that will be home to a 15-barrel production brewhouse. The name "Tripping Animals" pays homage to the fauna native to South Florida and Latin America; each beer offers a taste "trip" to a different part of the world. When it opens later this year, the brewery will also have a dedicated kitchen serving hot and cold tapas-style items, each meant to pair with the core brews.
The brand's Wild Duck Belgian dubbel won second place at the U.S. Open Beer Championship in 2016, making it one of Tripping Animals' core beers alongside a number of hop-forward selections, including Tripping Turtle American blonde ale, Tipsy Shark wheat IPA, Bandido American pale ale, and Falling Pig American India pale ale. Several specialty releases might include a saison with lemongrass and mint; passionfruit and mango-flavored East and West Coast-style IPAs; and various treatments of their Long Neck Hefeweizen.
Scheduled to open between September 2017 and January 2018 at 2685 NW 105th Ave., Doral.
9. Infected Brewery
Infected Brewery founder and brewer Marc Gutierrez taught himself everything he knows about beer after months of extensive research. Now, with four years of homebrewing under his belt, he's participated in a number of South Florida homebrew competitions and poured for area residents at numerous events, creating a strong local following for what has become his brand's most sought-after brews. The name "Infected" is inspired by Gutierrez's musical past; formerly known as DJ Vyrus, he would dub each of his remix songs "infected." Today it's a term he also uses to describe his beers, all of them "infected" with something special, be it a rare variety of hops or rum-soaked coconut.
Infected Brewery will begin producing its flagship beers on a seven-barrel system. It will begin as a microbrewery dedicated to producing specialty beers that will be offered at its future taproom. Core beers will include OG orange ginger pale ale; Red Devil wheat IPA; Turkey Point jalapeño caramel cream ale; and El Coquito sweet stout, a coquito-flavored beer brewed with rum-soaked raw coconut flakes and cinnamon, which was the winner of the 2016 Mardi Gras Casino homebrew competition and people's choice award.
Scheduled to open early to mid-2018 in North Miami-Dade or southern Broward.
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10. Black Point Brewery (Working Name)
Hialeah-born-and-raised brewer/founder Luis Suarez began homebrewing eight years ago in his backyard. Today his recipes, which he has developed and perfected over the past several years, are favorites most requested by friends and family. Suarez says he plans to offer Miami a taste of Old-World, European-style beers using traditional recipes that also incorporate American ingredients and techniques. The name "Black Point," inspired by the South Miami-Dade marina where he met his wife Deborah, will eventually change because of trademarking difficulties; follow the brewery on Instagram for updates. Expect the new name to be a nod to another of Suarez's favorite locations: the spot where he currently brews.
Suarez plans to brew British golden ale, Belgium golden strong ale, Red IPA, and oatmeal stout in production late this summer, and seasonal offerings will include an American IPA, a pale ale, a rye brown ale, and an American farmhouse saison.
Scheduled to begin distribution summer or early fall of 2017, with a taproom to open in 2018 in South Miami.