Beer Haute and Tan

For the brewers at M.I.A. Beer Co., the decision came between locating in the vibrant graffiti walls of Wynwood or the suburban kingdom of Doral. Now, for the trpoical and art deco version commonly viewed as Miami, it has rapidly expanded its suburban neighborhoods. Traditionally breweries were set up in an urban setting but this is now being challenged by several new brewers such as co-owner Eddie Leon who have moved business to suburbia. After the late death of co-founder Piero Rodriguez, the brewery opened up in a shopping center in Doral West. Capitalizing on the idea of cheaper rent, given the demands of space for a brewery of this 10,000 square feet capacity depicts similar motives of other brewers doing the same across the country.

The Afro-Carribean culture is deeply imbedded in Miami. As you drive by the neighborhoods all will share in common a scene of men playing dominoes on the street, vendors overflowing with truckloads of mangoes and bananas, and a clash between Hector Lavoe and Pitbull’s music being blasted in traffic. Always the same hellish heat trapped traffic.

Slowly Miami’s culture is undergoing subtle changes with an influx of people moving with the intentions to raise their families in the tropical weather and relatively safe neighborhoods. As a result, this growing suburbia calls for systemized construction of malls, supermarkets and breweries. In 2017 breweries are thriving as they move from an urban setting to capitalizing on the concept of not having to stay in the city to enjoy a locally brewed beer.

Lokal in Coral Gables serves a selection of M.I.A.

Here’s my interviw of assistant manager Juan Diego Domador shares the changes he’s seen since the opening of M.I.A. in Doral.

Diego, tell me a little about yourself.

Well, my name is Juan Diego but people just call me Diego. I’ve been working in the hospitality industry for 8 years now. It’s not for everyone, but I actually enjoy the industry. Knowing everyone in the beer scene and meeting new people is pretty awesome.

How long have you been working at M.I.A. and the changes you’ve seen?

M.I.A. opened up January 9th of 2015 and I was hired around October of 2015, so two years and seven months! I’ve definitely seen a lot of changes since. When we first opened we only had around 10 beers on tap and a couple sandwiches to munch on. Now we brew 42 different beers and serve an complete food menu. Also, we just bought the warehouse next door to expand production and possibly build a bigger kitchen. Exciting things are to come.

Which would you say is your favorite beer at M.I.A. and the one people order against your suggestion?

I would say my favorite beer we brew here is the Neon White IPA. It’s a wheat IPA that has 7.5% ABV, which is pretty strong. All Citra Hops so it gives the beer an amazing citrus aroma and taste. Usually I will recommend this beer but most people enjoy drinking our 305 Golden Ale. It’s an easy beer to drink and on the less expensive side.

What’s the best part of being assistant manager at M.I.A. ?

I think the best part of managing the taproom is meeting all of the people who truly love our beer! It’s the best feeling in the world to be able to talk all day long about my greatest passion, which is beer. My job requires me to talk with guest about beer and so it’s pretty awesome. Meeting all the other breweries that come to Doral to check us out is also really cool. I always make new friends and I love the connections I make with everyone.

Would you say there’s now a craft beer culture seeping into the suburban lifestyle?

I think craft beer culture is seeping to everyone’s lives. Every year, production and clientele growing like wildfire. About three years ago there were only three breweries in Miami and now there are more than eight. It’s becoming a part of people lives, as they grow tired of drinking the same old pale lagers that macro breweries provide. People want authenticity and a drink that’s made with love.

I want you to be completely honest. Do all brewers have beards? Seems like it’s an unwritten rule within the craft beer community…

It’s not. Actually, our head brewer doesn’t have a beard and the owner of M.I.A. doesn’t have a beard either. Beards are just badass. Everyone should have a beard.

What do you look for when creating the beers for M.I.A.?

Usually we try to make beer for everyone. There’s that group of people who are craft beer freaks and want something experimental like Oak Barrel Aged French with Brett and Lacto. Then you have the beer type who just wants a light pilsner to drink all day. We make all these styles. Also, we love making use of local ingredients like oranges, guava, mango, etc. Beers containing local fruit are what will usually attract out drinkers.

That leads me to my next question. Would you say the culture in Miami has an influence on the type of beers created by M.I.A.?

Oh yeah, for sure. Miami is still new to the beer scene so we have to make beers that are similar to, but better than the one’s people are used to drinking. We have a pilsner called Domino for example, which is a light German style lager. Its crisp and palate wise more accessible to the traditional drinker. This is what we use as a replacement to beers like Budweiser or Stella.

Name three of your favorite beers whether they’re from M.I.A. or not, and match it to a song.

1- Regresa a Mi with a 4%ABV (Guava and Hibiscus Berliner) would match essentially any Celia Cruz song out there. The tropical sensation and rounded light sweetness of it is what Celia is all about.

2- Czarface with a 9% ABV (Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout) embodies the song Into the Black by The Black Dahlia Murder. Oak and barrel notes with hints of chocolate and molasses in flavor are head banging death metal love.

3- Strawberry Wonderbrett with a 6.9%ABV (Wild Ale with Brett, Lacto and Pedio, fermented with strawberries) would make The Beatles Strawberry Fields play over and over in your head. Refreshing and perfect to chill and enjoy outside at the beach. Yes, this may be biased to Miami weather.

Diego at a vineyard, pinky up and styling Ranger IPA’s cap

Feel free to follow @miabeerco on Instagram for updates and occasional pictures of Diego betraying the beer community at a vineyard.

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