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Estrella Damm Culinary Journey Offers Beer Pairing Dinners at 40 Miami Restaurants

Heaven Mykonos is in for this year's Estrella Damm Culinary Journey along with more than 40 other area restaurants.
Heaven Mykonos is in for this year's Estrella Damm Culinary Journey along with more than 40 other area restaurants. Photo courtesy of Heaven Mykonos
That unmistakable Spanish flair in Miami this month? You can thank the iconic Barcelona-bred brewer Estrella Damm for making it happen.

Each year, the Spanish beermaker teams up with Miami chefs and restaurants galore, encouraging them to build special menus and tastings that pair beautifully with Estrella Damm’s lager.

It’s known as the Estrella Damm Culinary Journey, and it runs through the end of May, with more than 40 restaurants throughout Miami-Dade and Broward counties participating.

“With this program, we are supporting our local chefs and restaurants while highlighting their dishes,” says Marjanne Kalf, Miami market manager for Estrella Damm. “The restaurants are hand-picked, and we really have no desire to grow into an enormous machine with this. Miami is growing so much into a culinary city, so it’s a way for people to get out there and try some of the best places.”

Inspired by a similar “tapas journey” in Barcelona, the Estrella Damm Culinary Journey was first launched in Miami by Kalf and teammates in 2014. It has since expanded with similar month-long extravaganzas in Toronto and Chile, too.

Upon its Miami inception, it was known as “Chef’s Choice” and there were stricter chef parameters for participating, including a required ingredient, like garbanzo beans, or a spin on a specific dish such as paella. The pandemic led to a loosening in requirements.

“In October 2020, we asked our restaurants what they needed help with, and they told us, ‘We need help telling people we’re open,’” says Kalf. “So we dropped the restrictions, rebranded it as ‘Culinary Journey’ and let the restaurants serve whatever they wanted to be paired with the Estrella Damm beer. We also paid influencers to visit and help promote the restaurants – on top of our usual marketing – and it helped drive much interest.”

Amid the restaurant options, two types of experiences — each paired with an Estrella Damm — are available: The "Perfect Pair," where guests can have a signature dish paired with an Estrella Damm; or the "Chef’s Tasting," a multicourse meal curated by the host restaurant’s chef. With a quick look at the participating restaurants and their offerings — available at miami.estrelladammjourney.com — it’s clear that all types of cuisines mesh with the versatile brew. The options span from an $8 rojo taco and beer at Backroom Vegan Taco Bar to a 14-course tasting menu at the Bazaar by José Andrés ($175).

“This is a great opportunity to try some of the menus you’ve always wanted to try,” Kalf says. “Most importantly, our restaurants still need support, so go visit them and make the most of this month.”

Estrella Damm Culinary Journey. Through May 31, at various locations throughout Miami-Dade and Broward counties; miami.estrelladammjourney.com.
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Jesse Scott is a Fort Lauderdale-based contributor for Miami New Times covering culture, food, travel, and entertainment in South Florida and beyond. His work has appeared in Condé Nast Traveler, Lonely Planet, National Geographic, and his hometown newspaper, the Free Lance-Star, among others.