Later this year, Unseen Creatures Brewing & Blending husband-and-wife cofounders Marco and Vicky Leyte-Vidal will offer Miami-Dade a new kind of brewery in the heart of the Bird Road Art District. More than two years in the making, the Unseen Creatures brewery and taproom will be located off SW 74th Court in a 5,300-square-foot building just blocks from Lincoln’s Beard Brewing.
Marco, a lawyer by day, began homebrewing in 2010. The first beer he remembers making was a brown ale from an extract kit. "It wasn’t very good, but I was hooked," he says. "Eventually, I began playing around with mixed-culture fermentations. I fell in love with the artistry of those beers and how expressive they can be."
Today, Marco says, Unseen Creatures' beers are influenced by the farmhouse traditions of Belgium and France but aren't limited to any set of guidelines or style requirements.
"Our beers are generally lower in alcohol, dry, effervescent, and somewhat straightforward in the approach," he says. "Most of our beers will be fermented with yeast and bacteria in oak barrels, and many will be aged in oak. They’re meant to be beers you can drink a lot of on a hot day or sip and think about."
Unseen Creatures is named for the yeast and bacteria that live in the oak barrels, the same ones responsible for creating the flavors in each brew. "They are our 'unseen creatures,'" Marco says. "We use a house culture in all our wild beers and wanted to emphasize the importance of that in our brand and who we are."
A seven-barrel brewhouse will produce the brand's "clean beer" — those fermented without the use of the brewer's wild yeast-and-bacteria culture — including Unseen Creatures' core IPA and table beer, as well as a rotating selection of rustic styles such as pilsners and lagers.
The second core beer, an IPA called Pursuance, pours at just under 6 percent ABV and is aggressively hopped with Citra, Simcoe, and Cascade.
The main focus, however, will be oak-barrel-aged, mixed-fermentation wild and sour beers that use local ingredients and microflora, Marco says. "While we’ll be brewing all kinds of beers, the wild program will certainly be front and center. We included 'blending' in our name to make that point. You’ll find a little more of who I am as a brewer in the wild beers."
Expect frequent bottle releases and collaborations from Unseen Creatures, many with well-known brewers from across the nation. Over the past several years, Marco has worked with a number of professional brewers both locally and regionally. As a result, the taproom will offer a rotating selection of collaborations but will also present several guest beers from the couple's connections nationwide, a curated selection that will include beers and breweries that inspire the duo professionally.
"At the end of the day, I want our brewery and our beers to tell a story," Marco says. "We are really focused on doing what we do unapologetically and doing it the best we can. I want people to be able to taste the purpose behind what we’re doing."
Unseen Creatures Brewing & Blending. 4178 SW 74th Ct., Miami; unseencreaturesbrewing.com. Opening in late 2018.