VIEW 16 PLACES ON MAP
For a vodka-soda town, Miami does pretty well for itself in the beer department. Because despite our collective carb-consciousness, it’s hard to resist sitting outside, enjoying the sunshine, and sipping a crisp cold one in temperate South Florida weather. And even in the muggy summertime, our local breweries are great places to hide out in the A/C, as the combination of blasting cold air and refreshing craft brews make for a perfect way to wait out a thunderstorm. As of late, it seems sours are the name of the game, with many of our local brewers churning out puckery suds spiked with everything from almonds to acai. But even if those aren’t your jam, you’ll find something to love at any one of these top South Florida breweries.
Before Miami had much of a craft beer scene, the city’s best place for suds was a bar called Abraxis, tucked into a residential neighborhood in South Beach. It closed in 2013, but owner Diego Escobar has teamed up with local beer fest all stars Chris Campos and David Morales to open this 11,000-square-foot facility in North Miami. The 26-tap bar pours out stuff you might recognize from the brewers’ days at 4th Age Brewing, like the Morenita Session Brown Ale, alongside a number of rotating guest selections and seasonal offerings.
Beers to try: The Morenita was the proverbial foot in the door for Campos and Morales, but the English-style restraint may not be for everyone. The Endless Summer Lager is a 4.6% light beer that’s far more complex than most in that category, while the Lemongrass Belgian Blonde is a refreshing citrus number, clocking in at a deceptively potent 6.4%.
Cuba’s oldest beer got new life in 2016 when La Tropical’s Original Ambar Lager launched in the United States. Five years later, La Tropical has its own, glass-and-palm-filled brewery on the fringes of Wynwood, packing the place with couches, outdoor tables, and eats from chef Cindy Hutson. La Tropical is a far more upscale endeavor than most local taprooms, and though it’s not exactly fine dining, it’s as much a nightlife destination as it is a brewery.
Beers to try: The Ambar Lager may be the historical favorite, but unless you’re into Vienna lagers, it’s far from tops on the menu. The Nativo Key Suave is a fruity, 4.5% IPA where you’ll barely recognize the hops, and for something stronger, try the Tropilina, a 8.2% IPA that’s just a few points short of fueling your car.
Though it’s not quite yet Wynwood West, the Bird Road Arts District might be west Miami-Dade’s best destination for culture. Its centerpiece is Lincoln’s Beard, a multi-story brew house where live music, weekly events, and a penny-covered bar make it the funkiest watering hole in the area. Lincoln’s beers are fresh and fantastic, with an approachable selection of easy-drinking blondes and mild IPAs that make it a chill place to take less geeky beer drinkers. They also just spun off in the Maxwell Brothers Clothing Store in Palmetto Bay, where you can get all their brews along with pizza and other pub faves.
Beers to try: The Morning Glory Blonde Ale is the go-to if you can’t decide, but Lincoln’s Beard can also get creative, as evidenced by their new Un-believe-a-beer sour, a collaboration with Unbelievabowl featuring oats, pineapple, acai, pineapple, and banana.
With monthly artisan markets, a cigar room, and a handful of 5K races, The Tank has become as much a community venue as it is a brewery. The taproom is a delightful place to waste away an afternoon sipping craft brews, and it’s worth a visit to try beers you’ve probably already had in bars fresh from the, er, tanks.
Beers to try: The Freedom Tower American Amber is Tank’s ubiquitous classic, but trust us, it tastes even better at the brewery. If you’re looking to venture out, go for the El Farito IPA, a citrusy, Miami-style take on the hoppy classic.
Wedged between Progresso and Flagler villages, you’ll find this unassuming little storefront that houses some of the most unusual—and powerful—beers in South Florida. The small bar area leads into a covered back patio that’s just as enjoyable on a rainy day as it is in the sunshine. It’s an ideal setting for those thirsty for fruit beers and sours designed to complement warm, sultry weather.
Beers to try: The beers are constantly changing at Invasive Species, so there’s no guarantee you’ll see the same selection twice. Recently, we tried the American Banshee Smoothie Sour, a boozy take on your favorite blended breakfast with strawberry, peach, banana, and vanilla. For a beer that doubles as dessert, go for the Munch Blaster Double Fudge Maple Pecan Brownie BA Imperial Stout.
This 30,000-square-foot warehouse in The Leah arts district is the brainchild of UM philosophy PhD student Zach Swanson, who founded it to make beers he couldn’t find elsewhere. The space’s big windows and airy vibe lends itself well to Unbranded’s parade of events, from open mic nights to live wrestling. The brewery also recently added a weekend smokehouse, where you can pair Texas-style barbecue with all those delicious suds.
Beers to try: The Guava American Wheat Ale is a little sip of the city in a glass, a tribute to the guava-filled pastelitos that give Hialeah one of its signature smells. If you want one of the more civic-pride-inducing cans you’ll ever see, opt for the Hialeah Light, an American Light Lager served in a can adorned with images of the City of Progress.
Pairing beer with pizza feels almost as natural as pairing cigars with dominoes, and few places in South Florida do it better than Gulf Stream. The taproom’s homey atmosphere feels even more inviting when you order hot, steaming pizza from Pizzeria Madaddino, which has a counter just across from the 20+ taps inside. And if you prefer getting beers to-go, you can order that right here, too.
Beers to try: For wheat beer fanatics, you won’t find a crisper hef in Broward than Gulf Stream’s Everyone Under the Sun, which at 6.5% can fill you up before your pizza’s ready. You’ll also want to try the uniquely Floridian Transplant Tropical Pilsner, brewed with Wakatu to give it lime and stone fruit notes.
Brewery names can sometimes be a little opaque, but not Tripping Animals, which features artwork inspired by animals who look like they ate the wrong kind of mushrooms. The 15,000-square-foot facility is kind of like a Disney movie in that way, where kids enjoy the cartoon animals and the Animal’s Roots and Rock Garden, and parents enjoy beers that can hover around 9 to 10% ABV. Or you can just fire up your Disney+ and get the stuff to go.
Beers to try: This season, Tripping Animals has a couple of refreshing citrus sours that pair perfectly with summer—namely Who Loves Orange Soda and Limonada Rosada, a fruited Berliner Weiss. If you’re not into sours, try the Koopa Troopa pilsner, a Tripping Animals flagship you can take home in cans.
You may not find a place in South Florida with more creativity coming out of its brewhouse and kitchen than 3 Sons. Not only will you discover over 20 beers ranging from a blue cotton candy sour ale to a Grapefruit Wit, you’ll also find an intense menu filled with dashi butter chicken wings, yellowfin tuna tacos, and wood-fired brick oven pizzas—a big part of why it was featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.
Beers to try: If you’re not tempted by the zany experimental stuff, the Dopalicious 7.1% IPA will never steer you wrong (especially in their sleek new Miami Vice-inspired cans). If you like a little word play with your booze, opt for the All Jokes Acai’d, a acai, blueberry, almond, coconut, and wildflower honey sour that’s basically like drinking superfood.
Perhaps the most recognizable can in South Florida is M.I.A.’s Miami Weiss, an Art-Deco number covered in pinks, blues, and bright golds. But unlike a great many things in Miami, the insides here far exceed the external aesthetics. At the brewhouse, you’ll find over 50 beers on draft including the Big in Japan Sake beer and the Neon White IPA. The brewery is also a hotspot for events, with weekly parties and occasional live music.
Beers to try: The 305 Golden Ale might be the most underrated of M.I.A.’s offerings, and definitely the go-to move if you’re planning to down more than one. You also can’t go wrong with the original Miami Weiss, pink can or not.
The massive facility along the railroad tracks on Oakland Park Boulevard is South Florida’s landmark destination brewery. On weekends, you’ll find people packing the indoor space, lounging on their oversized chairs for daylong football marathons. Outside, it’s all fun, games, and families, and everyone of age generally appreciates Funky Buddha’s lineup of creative combinations and mildly hoppy options. The brewery also launched a brand new seltzer line this year, and it’s shaping up to be just as big a hit as its maltier cousin.
Beers to try: The Floridian citrus hefeweizen and the Hop Gun IPA are the cornerstones of Funky Buddha’s business, but the one that gets people lining up is the Maple Bacon Coffee Porter, whose release date is basically treated like a civic holiday.
The only thing better than the beer at J Wakefield is the story behind it. Once upon a time, Jonathan Wakefield was a massively talented home brewer who crowdfunded $110,000 to get his commercial operation off the ground. Since then, he’s been wowing Miami beer drinkers with fruity concoctions like the Dragon Fruit Passion Fruit (DFBF) Berliner Weisse. But that’s not to say Wakefield has been resting on his laurels—it’s always worth stopping into the Star Wars-themed taproom to see what kind of cutting edge invention his team has lined up (hint: it’s the Blueberry Crumble Sour, and you want two).
Beers to try: The DFBF Berliner Weisse sells out every time it’s released, but don’t sleep on the El Jefe, which also boasts one of the coolest cans in the city. Hop heads make a beeline for Hop for Teacher, J. Wakefield’s standard-bearing IPA. The Sinister Sixth VI Russian Imperial Stout is a 12% knockout that’s probably best sipped at night.
Downtown Ft. Lauderdale
Riverside Market’s Julian Siegel teamed with his wife Lisa, Adam Fine from Native Brewing, and restaurant mogul Tim Petrillo to open this space in Downtown Ft. Lauderdale. Here you’ll find an old stable converted into a brewery, with a 1,000-square-foot house inside that doubles as the taproom. Cop a squat in the living room and enjoy some game-changing Buffalo cauliflower with your housemade brews.
Beers to try: Be careful ordering the Honey Love Cream Ale, which tastes just a smidge more alcoholic than a cream soda and cleverly hides its 9.5% ABV. The Barry Marshallow wins our award for best sour name of the summer, a marshmallow blackberry fruited Belinner Weiss that can make the whole world—or at least all of Ft. Lauderdale—sing.
Much like Wynwood itself, the Miami craft beer scene was once a desolate wasteland that no tourist would even think about venturing into. Flash forward to 2021, and the colorful arts district is on every visitor’s must-do list, as well as home to Wynwood Brewing, the first production brewery and taphouse in the city of Miami. The small space right next to I-95 is full of Miami-centric murals and a constant lineup of fresh creations like the Father Francisco Belgian Style Golden Ale, a clove-and-sugar combo that packs a much boozier punch than you might expect.
Beers to try: You can get La Rubia pretty much anywhere in Miami now, so if you’re not afraid of dark beer go for the Pops Porter, which took gold at the Great American Beer Festival.
In Germany, there was once a strict set of beer laws called Reinheitsgebot. And in true German style, they ensure precision and quality in the brewing process, though in true American style, they’re rarely followed to a T stateside. Not the case at Khoffner, where third-generation brewmaster Rauf Khoffner constructs all his beers in accordance with Reinheitsgebot, creating the cleanest, freshest-tasting beers in South Florida. You’ll find his roster inside the bustling Sistrunk Market and Brewery, Broward’s trendiest food hall that also boasts an onsite distillery.
Beers to try: The German pilsner is the picture of clean-drinking purity and won’t fill you up if you want to sample the food at Sistrunk Marketplace. But for a real trip across the pond, go with the Dunkel Oktoberfest, a darker beer that tastes like a visit to Bavaria.
Veza Sur masterfully reproduces the light, warm-weather flavors you’ll find in Latin America, whether it’s the Brazilan Chopp served at below-freezing temps and capped by a fluffy three-inch head or the Spanglish Latin Lager, which tastes exactly like every domestic beer you crushed when traveling through Central America. Veza Sur is also home to the biggest brewery pachangas in the city, celebrating everything from Copa America futbol to independence days for various Latin American countries. Oftentimes, that party also includes a giant, inflatable abuela—go figure.
Beers to try: Though the traditional Latin beers are its backbone, Veza Sur’s more experimental side shines with offerings like Mangolandia Mango Blonde Ale and Mala Yerba Session IPA. For something new, try the 7.5% ABV South Coast IPA, a pleasant, not-so-bitter offering that serves as the joint’s best hop-forward beer to date.