When it comes to national recognition of Florida, the conversation inevitably turns to Bugs Bunny memes or Florida Man. For the beer world, though, the spotlight was just turned on us in a major way -- a good way!
The March/April issue of Draft Magazine, a 7-year-old bimonthly tome of commercial beer culture, is a tribute to all things beer from the Sunshine State.
In a bevy of articles, the people at Draft highlight some of the places and people we have already grown to love: from MIA Brewing and Gravity Brewlab in Miami to the burgeoning craft beer and food scene in the Wynwood Arts District and the origins of our unique take on the fruited Berliner weisse (Florida weisse) pioneered by Doug Dozark of Cycle Brewing in St. Pete and made famous by Jonathan Wakefield.
There's even some love for Broward's darling culinary beer fiends at the Funky Buddha Brewery. In an interview with owner and brewer Ryan Sentz, the magazine calls it a "Brewery to Watch" -- something South Florida beer drinkers have known for some years now. Many will recall when a little hookah/tea/beer bar in Boca came up with a little thing called Maple Bacon Coffee Porter.
"That's when the insanity started," Sentz said. And it never stopped.
He also revealed some future wishes and ideas that could come to our area.
"We have an imperial version [of MBCP], and [its release] could be a day like Kate the Great. We don't necessarily know yet. We would like to have days like Hunahpu Day or Dark Lord Day. It would really blow my mind -- I'm sill the guy that likes to go to those."
The only way is up for Funky Buddha and the rest of the craft beer community in Florida. With such a large, underserved market, the time is right to close the gap in the breweries-per-capita field (as of the last 2012 figures, we're still 44th).
Oh, and the recent addition of an extra 120 barrels' worth of fermentation space helps a lot as well!
Doug Fairall is a craft beer blogger who focuses on Florida beers and has been a homebrewer since 2010. For beer things in your Twitter feed, follow him @DougFairall and find the latest beer pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.