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Lagers, and Ales, and Porters, Oh My!
What beers are trending in Miami and beyond
In the past ten years or so, Miami has gone from a city that considers Corona an exotic beer to one with dozens of breweries making everything from citrusy IPAs to crushable lagers. Johnathan Wakefield of J. Wakefield Brewing has become known throughout the beer community for his Florida Weisse beers — Hefeweizens made with local Florida fruit; and Veza Sur and Wynwood Brewing Co. both brew lighter-bodied IPAs with a touch of maltiness that are well suited for a day in the sun.
With Miami firmly on the nation’s beer map, the city also hosts many beer festivals. One of the largest, Grovetoberfest, features over 100 craft beers to sample from dozens of breweries across the country.
Held annually in the fall, Grovetoberfest is a good place to seek out trends for the coming fall and winter months. After accepting the challenge of trying nearly 100 different brews, here are the beer trends to look out for in the coming months.
Ales With Clove and Baking Spice Notes
Most people think of pumpkin ales as a one-off novelty during Halloween, but Elysian Brewing’s Night Owl Pumpkin Ale has all the notes we associate with fall — clove, allspice, cinnamon — without that sugary pumpkin pie flavor. This beer can work its magic through Thanksgiving and beyond. Pair this beer with a grilled cheese made with sharp cheddar, a classic BLT, or take it outside and sip one while making s’mores at your fire pit.
Rich and Sweet Stouts
Speaking of s’mores, King Fox, based in Hialeah, Florida, has released its Eternal Night S’mores Stout. This beer has rich dark chocolate notes and a hint of vanilla marshmallow sweetness. Don’t be lulled into thinking this beer is dessert, though. The 12.6 percent ABV catches up on you fast. This one is a great after-dinner beer that’s best paired with a night in front of the fire.
Lagers might be the most popular beer — after all, Budweiser, Coors, and Miller are all lagers — but when was the last time you had a really good craft lager? Many craft brewers are embracing the lager, which can technically range from a pale lager to a dark schwarzbier. A good example of a crisp lager is made by Off Site, a small restaurant and nano brewery in Miami. Its Super Good Lager is infinitely drinkable. Estuary Brewing Company’s Drifter Coast to Coast lager is a great porch pounder with a golden hue. The best thing about a lager is that it’s born to pair with food — burgers, pizza, or tacos can all become the lager’s best friend.
Brewers have been adding honey to beers for thousands of years. Honey can balance the bitterness of hops without adding heavy malts. Hourglass Brewing’s 2 Million Bees is a Florida Hazy/New England IPA that’s brewed with orange blossom honey produced by (you guessed it) two million local bees. Copperpoint Brewing uses local honey and orange peel in its Bee’s Squeeze Kolsch. Pair a honey beer with a nice cheese or charcuterie board.