By Melanie Garcia
Miami has seen a rising food scene the last few years. Many have willingly jumped on the bandwagon of bourgeoning food trends, celebrated chefs and pop-ups around our city. The latest craze to hit Miami in full force has been the craft beer and local brewery phenomenon. Capitalizing on the momentum, the Miami Brew Bus has wheeled their way into beer lovers’ hearts with their five-hour tour by giving its guests an inside look at the growing beer culture in our city.
On a Sunday afternoon, a group of about 30 cerevisaphiles (beer enthusiasts) gathered at the scrumptious burger and beer joint, Lokal in Coconut Grove, to have their first sip of beer bliss. The bus was scheduled to leave at noon, but there was a slight hiccup with our schedule and a late driver who made our group wait 45 minutes. To make up for the delay, the tour organizers gave us what seemed like endless refills, which translated into a much happier crowd. The January weather also made it impossible to be upset.
We were a tad bit apprehensive of taking a bus from Coral Gables to Oakland Park, but the ride went by pretty fast and we were offered snacks on the way to the first brewery. Once we arrived at our first stop, Funky Buddha (South Florida’s largest craft microbrewery,) we were pleasantly surprised. The 20,000 sq-ft facility is powered by a 30-barrel, three-piece brew house and has a laid-back, cool and unassuming ambience. It’s exactly the kind of place where you would expect to find beer lovers gathering for a cold one. We received an awesome and incredibly memorable beer tour by Sean, a high school teacher whose part-time job includes giving weekend beer tours. He was funny and charming and kept everyone smiling by continuously giving samples of the beer that they currently had on tap. Shortly thereafter, we were left to wander the grounds on our own for about 45 minutes. There was a food truck parked outside of Funky Buddha, and we treated ourselves to a few more beers and some Mexican nachos. We left the brewery without trying what we were told was the Mecca of porter beer, the Funky Buddha Maple Bacon Coffee Porter. Unfortunately, it wasn’t available on tap, but we were told that the last time it was up for grabs it sold out in about 11 minutes. Talk about beer bonanza! The good news is that it will soon be available at Lokal (phew!)
For our next stop, we ventured back south. Many would argue that making beer is art, and aptly so, we drove to art capital of Miami, Wynwood. Our second and last stop was at Wynwood Brewing Company, where you can find three year-round sips, La Rubia, Pop’s Porter, and Wynwood IPA. You’ll also find seasonal beer and limited-run crafts. This place, although much smaller than Funky Buddha, oozes the cool of the neighborhood it calls home. It also manages to stay small, warm and inviting; it sort of makes you feel like you’re drinking a few brews with family. The Wynwood tour was quicker but just as interesting and fun. The beer, just as refreshing, clean and crisp.
We must admit to having a really good time aboard the Miami Brew Bus. It’s an ideal activity for tourists and beer lovers alike. If you’re looking to discover a popping new scene in our city, this tour is definitely an option for a weekend adventure. Out-of-towners and friends are sure to enjoy this equally. We can also foresee large groups for celebrations like birthdays and bachelor parties taking full advantage of the hop-on, hop-off concept where responsible drinking and driving is at the forefront. And because there’s bound to be someone on board that may be hesitant to drinking beer, Miami Brew Bus encourages guests to bring their desired libation along with them. If by any chance you’re interested in purchasing growlers to go, they will also volunteer to store them in their coolers for you. Now, that’s good hospitality on wheels!
You must be 21 years of age to enjoy the madness of the Miami Brew Bus. Tickets are $60 per person and run every Saturday and Sunday from 11:30am – 5pm.
*Note: The Miami Brew Bus usually makes a stop at M.I.A Brewing Co. but we had to forgo that adventure due to the unexpected delay.