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Meet Justin Miles, New Brewer For The Mack House

Ever since the Mack House, Holy Mackerel's tap room and nano brewery, lost its brewer Bobby Gordash back in June, owner Larry Hatfield has been front and center in bringing about Mack House 2.0, with the first step involving hiring a new brewer.

That brewer is finally revealed as Tamarac resident Justin Miles.

See also: This Week in Beer News: Moon Dust Beer, Concrete Beach Brewery and Beer Advocate Goes on a Rampage

This Florida native, born and raised in Broward County, has been tacking on the brewing experience for the past few years. Besides some years of homebrewing, he's been a staple of the Mack House for a while."I used to help Bobby [Gordash] brew here, coming in on brew days. He really mentored me... I would keep bringing in my beers and the people I was sharing with were enjoying them"

Justin has been hard at work all summer, putting together a list of beers to add to the Mack House's line of core standards, like Panic Attack and Special Golden Ale.

Current on tap offers from Justin include an as-of-yet unnamed Rye IPA -- a beer with a huge percentage of rye that gives it a cask ale like character. Big mouthfeel, some tangerine and bitter citrus on the nose, but a clean wallop of resiny West Coast styled bitterness on the end.

"I've got a curry saison in the back that's just about finished," he told us, and without a moments hesitation, made sure we were poured a sample from the tank. "It was thought up on a whim," he revealed. "We were just thinking of foods we liked, and Kyle [Hatfield] just said 'curry', and we ran with it."

The beer has a milky yellow-orange color... something I'm told will not be so pronounced when it's released. The aroma has strong lemongrass and pineapple notes, totally belying any questionable nature of whether this will be a drinkable beer. The taste is a hit of green pepper, that quickly moves on to a bit of yeasty saison-like sweetness.

"We use all real ingredients, no extracts. In that particular beer, we used actual green peppers, sweet potatoes, and lemongrass."

These are, indeed, not your average beer ingredients. So I wonder, where does a man get such ideas?

"I'm big into punk and alternative music," Justin says. "These are musicians who did things their way. This music inspired me to take that mentality into my brewing... I've also followed to works of Sam Calagione [of Dogfish Head] and Greg Koch [of Stone Brewing]. They're my big brewing inspirations."

Now that summer is over (someone please tell the weather), the spread of fall seasonals will begin to emanate from our local craft producers, and the Mack House will be no different. "In a few weeks we'll be tapping our version of the pumpkin beer, as well as a maple chipotle brown ale and a chocolate pecan pie beer."

"But we're not forgetting a key group," he assured us. "We're also putting together a really drinkable blonde ale. We've seen a lot of non-craft people show up with their friends, and we wanted to have a nice option for them."

"The Holy Mackerel tradition is to keep it local."

After a few beers and some good conversation, I ask him for some parting wisdom for aspiring homebrewers.

"[Brew] whatever sounds good to you. Don't always follow what you read online when someone says 'You can't do that'. You'll be surprised what comes out."

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Doug Fairall
Contact: Doug Fairall

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