Celebrating with Wynwood Brewing
I love beer - you can get just as geeky about beer as about wine, olive oil, coffee, tea - all sorts of comestibles that have a powerful nuance factor.
Never mind that most consumers of beer ignore those nuances -- if they didn't, there'd be no market for a large portion of the insipid mass-produced beers on the market. The popularity of those mass-produced beverages help pay for the marketing and distribution network that facilitates our access to all the good beers out there, so I'm a supporter of all things sudsy.
My friend Luis Brignoni had a dream. With his dad and some friends, he fulfilled that dream a year ago by creating Wynwood Brewing in the Wynwood district of Miami, Florida. I've found similar stories in other cities in the U.S., and other countries as well - the popularity of craft brews is a local phenomenon only in the sense each one has a strong local following. Never mind the occasional legislation that tries to dilute the meaning of "craft" brewing - just ignore the efforts by the big hoppers to hijack the term for their huge production. We fans know what craft is - small production to be sure (this seems to be the only thing the legal wrangling is about), but also quality, mission, and dedication. I think it is easier with beer than wine to create a truly artisanal production facility that is also financially viable.
Wynwood Brewing has been a huge success both financially and in the extremely high quality of its beers (not to mention the impossible to quantify but very present fun quotient). This Saturday, August 16, WBC is celebrating its first birthday in grand style. They've arranged to shut down a stretch of NW 24th Street to broaden the celebration venue by creating a hopping block party. Luis will also unveil his first bottle release (up to now, all the Wynwood production has gone out in casks, a much better size for me but probably not for many of his customers with more reasonable consumption. The first bottle release is called El Infante; it's a wheat beer aged in French oak barrels (wine lovers will appreciate this) and it will initially be available only at the block party. At $20 a bottle, it's probably more for serious drinkers than beer tipplers, but why not live a little?
If you are in South Florida this weekend, consider stopping by - there is a terrific brewery tour at 1pm both Saturday and Sunday as well as the block party itself - that's from noon to 10pm (EDT).
At the block party, Luis and the crew will be pouring 30 different brews - the beauty of a craft brewery is the ability (and desire) to make a huge variety of small batch creations. With food trucks, you can carry out your own beer and food pairings. A toast is definitely in order.