Beer & Wine

Wakefest Returns for Its Seventh Anniversary With a 007 Theme

Johnathan Wakefield is hosting the seventh annual Wakefest.
Johnathan Wakefield is hosting the seventh annual Wakefest. Photo by FujifilmGirl
In 2020, Johnathan Wakefield's annual beer festival, Wakefest, just made it under the wire before COVID-19 shut everything down. Last year, with the world slowly opening up, Wakefield decided the show must go on. He postponed the event, usually held in February, to April and held a smaller version of the beer festival.

This year, Wakefest returns as a large-scale event with a 007 theme to match its seventh anniversary and a new venue: Soho Studios.

"Wakefest will be split indoors and outdoors, so there will be plenty of ventilation, and we won't have to worry about being rained out," Johnathan Wakefield tells New Times.

Wakefest will offer pours from 85 brewers around the world — many of them eager to get back to the beer-festival circuit.

"People have been going crazy," Wakefield says. "I've had multiple brewers tell me they're excited to go to a festival. People are excited about being able to travel again."

In addition to beer, Wakefest will offer food from eight different local vendors, including the Lazy Oyster, Apocalypse BBG, and Ted's Burgers, many of which regularly set up shop at the brewery.

In keeping with the 007 theme, Wakefield says the event will include Bond Girls, two baccarat tables for charity where you can win rare Wakefield bottle releases, a DJ, a Nintendo 64 Goldeneye tournament, and other surprises.

Of course, the main attraction is the beer, with breweries bringing out their best. Wakefield says to look out for the classics this year. "A lot of people are saying they want beer that tastes like beer. People are going for the lagers and the IPAs — classic beers," says the brewer.

Known for his fruity Florida Weisse, Wakefield sees the move toward classic styles at his Wynwood brewery. "When I started this thing, I never thought I would brew lagers. We still brew what we want, but you definitely have to have some beers that the people want. We have those funky styles all the time, but we also make the lagers and the IPAs."

Like most things in life, the most seemingly straightforward things are the most difficult to perfect.

"It's not an easy task to make a good lager," Wakefield explains. "It's beer in its simplest form, and there's no fruit or coffee or coconut to cover up any mistakes. Making a good lager is a challenge — and I love a challenge."

Wakefest. Noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 9, at Soho Studios, 120 NW 24th St., Miami. Tickets cost $75 to $400 at jwakefieldbeer.oznr.com.
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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss

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