By Sean Tuohy
Since Daniel Ford got to rejoice in interviewing a brewery from his beloved Astoria, N.Y., it was only fair that I got to chat with one from my old neck of the woods.
Sean Tuohy: Give us a little background on your history and how you started brewing.
David Rodriguez (head cellarman/assistant brewer): I started brewing after graduating high school out of necessity to make beer because I couldn't legally purchase it as well as to experiment with different ingredients.
ST: Wynwood area has a lot of history in Miami. Why did you pick this location for the brewery?
DR: We chose Wynwood because it is an up and coming neighborhood. The entire district is covered head to toe with incredible graffiti murals and street art. There are many young professionals creating businesses here and there is a very prevalent "mom and pop" mentality with these local businesses. Also, Wynwood is a Puerto Rican barrio so it definitely falls in line with our owners' heritage.
ST: You are Miami's first craft beer. What does that honor feel like?
DR: Being Miami's first production craft brewery means that we will set the standard for local craft beer. It is a tremendous honor and one that doesn't come without hard work to build and maintain our reputation.
ST: Craft beer is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Miami. Why did you pick the Magic City as your location?
DR: We felt that Miami is the last frontier for craft beer in the Florida as well as the United States. There are many local breweries throughout the country and for some reason Miami has zero. You can find breweries in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, etc. but none here. We are happy to be the first but we won't be the last. There are already two other breweries in construction here in Wynwood with an additional two to four more in planning. Also, there are two breweries in construction over in Doral. Miami needs an identity when it comes to craft beer and we are here to create that.
ST: For a newbie what beer would you recommend them to start with from Wynwood?
DR: Beer is very personal; it depends on the preferences of the drinker. I would recommend a tasting beginning with La Rubia, which is our Blonde Ale, followed by Pops Porter and the Wynwood IPA. Different people tend to gravitate towards different beers and I wouldn't judge someone to drink a lighter beer just because it was what they were raised on.
ST: What was your biggest mistake brewing?
DR: Not buying a bigger brewhouse! We currently brew 15 barrels at a time (465 gallon batches) and since opening in August have outgrown our current equipment. In February, we tripled our capacity by adding more fermenters and conditioning tanks. The demand is huge!
ST: Could you describe your beer in one sentence?
DR: "A work of art in every glass." Cheesy? I'm not sure…you be the judge.
ST: What does the future hold for Wynwood? Will our readers be able to find you nation wide soon?
DR: Soon we will be bottling some of our barrel-aged beers. Currently, we are aging a wheat wine in petite syrah barrels (been aging since December of last year) as well as a Belgian golden strong aging in Bulleit Bourbon Barrels. These beers will be bottle conditioned in 750ml wine bottles with cap and wax. Also, we will be most likely expanding our operation to an additional building. Lots to come.
ST: If you were in Prohibition times, do you think you’d be bootleggers?
DR: That or we'd move to the Bahamas! I can't imagine it would be easy to hide an operation like ours.
ST: If you were stuck on a deserted island with just one case of one of your beers, which one would it be and why?
DR: Magic City Pale Ale. It’s our brewmaster's recipe of a very quaffable pale ale with medium bitterness and juicy hop flavors and aroma. Sitting at 5.6 percent , this is something I can drink a lot of.