There's no doubt in anyone's minds that the south Florida beer scene is about to blow up, with Funky Buddha Brewery blazing a trail for other breweries like Wynwood Brewing Company and M.I.A. Brewing Co. to go forward in their brewery plans, with more breweries on the horizon.
And, with breweries comes a tourist trade of people who want to spend their days touring and tasting. Cities like Asheville, North Carolina and Seattle host tens of thousands of people each year who come to visit their various breweries. Now, south Florida is getting the beer-tourism treatment with the Miami Brew Bus.
The Miami Brew Bus is the brainchild of Cecilia Barmon, David Rodriguez and Matthew Kuscher (owner of burger and beer joint, LoKal, in Coconut Grove) and takes people thirsty for beer knowledge on an all-day tour of the above mentioned breweries.
The Highway to Hops tour runs every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and start at LoKal in Coconut Grove. From there, a comfortable mini-bus whisks you away for a beer-filled excursion. The $60 fee includes a souvenir pint glass, beer samplings at each brewery, transportation, and snacks and water on board. There's also a raffle for goodies at the end of the trip and trivia and movies on board the bus.
We were invited on a media tour to try out the Brew Bus experience. After a brief introduction (with enough time to grab a beer at LoKal), we boarded the bus. First stop -- Funky Buddha in Oakland Park.
At Funky Buddha we were given a full brewery tour. Beer samples were provided along the way, including Hop Gun, Sweet Potato Casserole, and Doc Brown.
There was ample time to grab a pint or a growler to go before heading back on the bus. Next stop - M.I.A. Brewing in Doral.
M.I.A. is still in construction phase, giving us a rare glimpse into what it takes to create a brewery from the ground up. We were shown renderings of the proposed tap room and even got to do a little demo work with a sledge hammer before sampling some beers and moving on to Wynwood.
Wynwood Brewing Company is located in Miami's Arts district and it shows. The newly opened tasting room serves double duty as an art gallery, with murals and work by local artists gracing the walls. Tastings there were extensive and included samples of their Cocochoco (a chocolate/coconut stout), Lupalado #1 (a pale ale with wet cascade), and Banana Hammock (a banana wheat ale).
Friendly kitty cats like beer, too.
A short ride back to Coconut Grove later, we're dropped off at LoKal, which just happens to be a great place to grab a post-tour burger (and a beer).
The Miami Brew Bus is a convenient way to visit south Florida's breweries in one day. As more operations come on the line, more locations will be added to the tour, along with special themed outings, like the Brews in Basel tour scheduled for Friday, December 6 from 11:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. that includes a visit to the J. Wakefield pop-up.
Tickets can be purchased at miamibrewbus.com.
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