The Most Essential Craft Breweries Around Miami
You’ve got your work cut out for you.
Given our propensity for sunny weather and working as little as possible, it’s surprising it took so long for the craft beer scene to get to South Florida. Because, really, what better place is there to sit outside, enjoy the sunshine, and sip on more beers than you probably should on a Tuesday at noon? But just as our beer scene was hitting its stride, an annoying little pandemic shut taprooms across the city. Resourceful as craft brewers are, many adapted and nearly all kept brewing. And now that nearly all are back open with some sort of seating, it’s time to get out and see what South Florida’s best breweries were cooking while their doors were closed. And if you’re still not up for sitting, we’ll show you who makes getting it to-go as easy as possible.
Tank Brewing Company
With almost-weekly live concerts, a cigar room, and a handful of 5K races, The Tank became as much of a community venue as it was a brewery in the pre-covid era. Still, the taproom is open and going strong with limited seating, and it’s worth a visit to try beers you’ve probably had in bars, fresh from the brew house.
Beers to try: The Freedom Tower American Amber is Tank’s ubiquitous classic, but trust us, it tastes even better at the brewery. If you’re looking to venture out, go for the Fresh Hopped Juicy IPA, brewed special for fall.
Invasive Species Brewing
Wedged between Progresso and Flagler villages, you’ll find this unassuming little storefront that houses some of the most unusual -- and potent -- beers in South Florida. The small bar area leads into a covered back patio that’s just as enjoyable on a rainy day as it is in the sunshine. It’s an ideal setting for those who find fruit beers and sours pair well with warm weather.
Beers to try: If your local airport/shopping mall Cinnabon started infusing its aromas with alcohol, it would probably smell something like the Bake Shop #4, a 14.5% ABV Imperial Stout that tastes like a cinnamon roll but hits like a tequila shot. For something you can have more than one of, try the Purple Rain kettle sour with black currant, boysenberry, and blackberry.
Unbranded Brewing Company
This long-awaited, 30,000-square-foot warehouse in The Leah arts district is the brainchild of UM philosophy PhD student Zach Swanson, who founded it to make beer flavors he couldn’t find elsewhere. The big windows and airy space give Hialeah a chic new social space, even though its seven-day-a-week schedule is currently running at limited capacity.
Beers to try: The Guava American Wheat Ale is a little sip of the city in a glass, a tribute to the guava-filled pastelitos that give Hialeah one of its signature smells. If you wanna take that fruit train further, try the brand-new Little Tart That Could, a pastry sour conditioned with blackberries and graham crackers.
Holy Mackerel Small Batch Beers
Stepping into Holy Mackerel’s tasting room, you might think it’s figured out how to brew beer with hickory. Not the case, as this ever-rotating cadre of craft beers also serves up some of the best barbecue in Broward, and is worth hitting for its brisket as much as its Belgian-style golden ale.
Beers to try: The one-time winner of the Samuel Adams World Home Brew Contest still keeps its experimental spirit, and the beer selection here is literally never the same twice. Still, the mainstay is the Panic Attack Belgian-style golden ale. And the limited-release Café Cubano, which launched earlier this month, is a flavorful specialty ale infused with coffee from Calusa Coffee Roasters.
Gulf Stream Brewing Company
Pairing beer with pizza feels almost as natural as pairing cigars with dominoes, and few places in South Florida do it better than Gulf Stream. The homey atmosphere of the taproom feels even more inviting when you order hot, steaming pizza from Pizzeria Madaddino, which has a counter just across from the 20+ taps inside. And if you prefer getting beers to-go, you can order that right here, too.
Beers to try: For wheat beer lovers, you won’t find a crisper hef in Broward than Gulf Stream’s Hef That, which at 5.3% can fill you up before your pizza’s ready. You’ll also want to try the uniquely Floridian flavors in the Transplant Tropical Pilsner, brewed with Wakatu to give it lime and stone fruit notes.
Brewery names can sometimes be a little opaque, but not Tripping Animals, which features artwork inspired by animals who look like they ate the wrong kind of mushrooms. The 15,000-square-foot facility is kinda like a Disney movie in that way, where kids enjoy the cartoon animals and the Animal’s Roots and Rock Garden, and parents enjoy beers that can hover around 9-10%. Or you can just fire up your Disney+ and get the stuff to go.
Beers to try: If you love Latin Trap music like we do, then you’ll want to put the brand-new Bad Bunny Pie on your weekend hit list, a blackberry, peach, cherry, graham cracker sour that clocks in at 6% ABV. If you’re not into sours, the Jackass Triple IPA is a 10.7% scorcher that’ll have you acting like Steve-O in no time.
3 Sons Brewing Co.
You may not find a place in South Florida with more creativity coming out of its brewhouse and the kitchen than 3 Sons. Not only will you discover over 20 beers ranging from a pumpkin spice latte creation to a guava-passion fruit tribute to the Tropical Acres steakhouse. You’ll also find an intense menu filled with dashi butter chicken wings, yellowfin tuna tacos, and wood-fired brick oven pizzas -- a big part of why it was just featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.
Beers to try: If you’re not tempted by the zany experimental stuff, the Dopalicious 7.1% IPA will never steer you wrong (especially in their sleek, new Miami Vice-styled cans). The best of the fall offerings is the Cactus Cooler, a margarita-inspired prickly pear gose that goes down well in our extended-summer weather.
M.I.A. Beer Company
Perhaps the most recognizable can in South Florida is M.I.A.’s Miami Weiss, an Art-Deco number covered in pinks, blues, and bright golds. But unlike a great many things in Miami, the beer here is about a lot more than aesthetics. At the brewhouse you’ll find over 50 beers on draft including cool seasonal stuff like the Smokey Bandit Amber Ale and the Baby Got Bock Imperial Brown. The brewery is currently offering indoor and outdoor seating, as well as beer to go.
Beers to try: The new Mega Remix IPA is an amped-up, 7.5% version of the old Mega Mix, but somehow tastes smoother than the original. You also can’t go wrong with the original Miami Weiss, pink can or not.
Diablo Dog @ Funky Buddha
Though COVID-19 restrictions have thinned out the crowds -- and the activities -- at South Florida’s beer wonderland, that hasn’t stopped brewers from cranking out some of the area’s most iconic and creative creations. This fall’s new specials are precisely in the Funky Buddha tradition of strong flavors and mild hops, with the spicy, peppery Bob’s Backyard mango wheat complimented by the outrageously-fruity Berries & Queens sour.
Beers to try: The Floridian citrus hefeweizen and the Hop Gun IPA are the cornerstones of Funky Buddha’s business. But the one that gets people lining up (back when lining up was a thing) is the Maple Bacon Coffee Porter, with a release date treated more like a civic holiday.
J Wakefield Brewing
The only thing better than the beer at J Wakefield is the story behind it. Once upon a time, Jonathan Wakefield was a massively talented home brewer who crowdfunded $110,000 to get his commercial operation off the ground. Since then, he’s been wowing Miami beer drinkers with fruity concoctions like the Dragon Fruit Passion Fruit (DFBF) Berliner Weisse. But Wakefield hasn’t rested on his success, and the Star Wars-themed taproom is always worth stopping in to see what kind of new creation -- like the forthcoming Ghost in Dade hazy double IPA -- his team has lined up, all of which you can still get to go.
Beers to try: The DFBF Berliner Weisse sells out every time it’s released, but don’t sleep on the El Jefe, which also boasts one of the coolest cans in the city. For Patriots haters, check out the new Show’s Over Hazy Double IPA, a collaboration with Vitamin Sea Brewing dedicated to the end of the Tom Brady era.
Tarpon River Brewing
Riverside Market’s Julian Siegel teamed with Adam Fine from Native Brewing and restaurant mogul Tim Petrillo to open this space in Downtown Lauderdale. Here you’ll find an old stable converted into a brewery, with a 1,000-square-foot house built inside that doubles as the taproom. Sit down in the living room and enjoy some Buffalo cauliflower with your beer, which we guarantee will change the way you think about cauliflower.
Beers to try: Be careful ordering the Honey Love Cream Ale, which tastes just a smidge more alcoholic than a cream soda and cleverly hides its 9.5% ABV. For hop heads, the Hop Stash West Coast/East Coast IPA collaboration is the sort of thing we wish we’d seen more of from rappers in the 90s.
Wynwood Brewing Company
Much like Wynwood itself, the Miami craft beer scene was once a desolate wasteland that no tourist would even think about venturing into. Flash forward to 2020, and the colorful arts district is on every visitor’s must-do list, and is home to the first production brewery and taphouse in the city of Miami at Wynwood Brewing. The small space right next to I-95 is full of Miami-centric murals and constant fresh creations like the brand-new Dona Goza, a margarita-style gose with lemon, line, and sea salt. It and the rest of the current collection are currently available for curbside pickup and delivery.
Beers to try: You can get La Rubia pretty much anywhere in Miami now, so if you’re not afraid of dark beer go for the Pops Porter, which took gold at the Great American Beer Festival.
Khoffner Brewery USA
In Germany, there are a strict set of beer laws called Reinheitsgebot. In true German style, they ensure precision and quality in the brewing process, though they’re rarely followed to a tee in America. Not the case at Khoffner, where third-generation brewer Rauf Khoffner makes all his beers in accordance with Reinheitsgebot, creating the cleanest, freshest-tasting beers in South Florida. You’ll find his beers in the bustling Sistrunk Market and Brewery, Broward’s trendiest food hall where you currently need to make a reservation to get in.
Beers to try: The German pilsner is the picture of clean-drinking purity and won’t fill you up if you want to sample the food at Sistrunk Marketplace. But for a real trip across the pond, go with the Dunkel Oktoberfest, a darker beer that tastes like Bavaria.
Veza Sur Brewing Co.
Veza Sur masterfully reproduces the light, warm-weather flavors you’ll find in Latin America, whether it’s the Brazilan Chopp served at below-freezing temps with a three-inch head or the Spanglish Latin Lager, which tastes exactly like every national beer you try when traveling Central America. Normally, Veza Sur is also home to the biggest brewery pachangas in the city, though you can still post up outside with some food from Chi-Fa, or get your beer to go.
Beers to try: Though the traditional Latin beers are its backbone, Veza Sur’s crafty stuff like the Mangolandia Mango Blonde Ale or the Per’ La Coffee Porter might be even better. For something seasonal, try the new Selva Negra, a chocolate cherry stout aged in bourbon and molasses bottles.
Lincoln's Beard Brewing Co.
Lincoln’s Beard’s bizarre-yet-endearing marketing of weird people being weird gained the brewery a loyal following, and its live music and penny-lined bar helped it become a social hub for young people living out west. It’s poised to return to that glory once the pandemic is over, but for now you can still get weird at the beard with limited seating and curfew hours. Or, if you don’t want to try and find parking, order your beer online and pick it up on site.
Beers to try: The core of four beers is highlighted by the P. Swayze IPA, a smooth 6.6% IPA that’s the kind of IPA non-hop heads still like. Also check out the new Stepbro, a juicy IPA that’s smooth like the Swayze with a lot more citrus.