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M.I.A. Beer Co. Tour

Photo Courtesy M.I.A. Beer Co.

M.I.A. Beer Company in Doral, Florida is one of many recent additions to the state’s once-scarce but now-thriving craft beer scene. I met up with brewery founder and owner Eddie Leon to talk shop and sample some of the beers currently on offer.

I arrived early, well before the brewery’s 5 p.m. opening time on Tuesdays, in order to take in some of the ins and outs of running a brewery. Around 20 employees were on hand, including brewers, bartenders and executives. Eddie laid out the history of M.I.A., explaining that the brewery started production in 2014 then opened its taproom a few months later. Growth has been steady, with M.I.A.’s current production steady at 600 barrels per month. 

Throughout my visit, I met numerous other members of the M.I.A. family going about their business. Air filters were being changed, a new recipe for the brewery’s flagship American Pale Ale Mega Mix was being worked on and a contractor even showed up with prototypes for new flight carriers.



Founder and owner Eddie Leon leads a tour through the Bruhaus.


Eddie put his two cents in on most issues, but delegated to other workers as well, keeping me moving throughout the brewery’s 21,000 sq. ft. space. The place did seem a little empty, despite a huge, brand new foeder for head brewer Michael Demetrus (formerly of Finch’s) to experiment with.

Much of the space, Eddie assured me, would be used for future expanded barrelage, as well as for a “craft beer cocktail bar, featuring a full-service bar that would focus on M.I.A.’s offerings but serve mixed drinks and guest taps as well.

“Sometimes people want something other than beer, even when they’re at a brewery,” Eddie told me.

The Florida beer scene has seen swift growth in recent years, and M.I.A. has been a beneficiary of that with its year-round releases Mega Mix Pale Ale, Tourist Trappe Tripel, 305 Golden Ale, M.I.A. IPA, Domino Pilsner and Miami Weiss Hefeweizen (M.I.A.’s best seller) generating steady income for the company. “A few years ago, people in Miami were kind of uneducated about craft beer, but that’s been quickly turning around,” Eddie told me.

One of the things that first caught my attention about M.I.A. was the stunning can designs of its flagship brews. Turns out, Eddie designed those as well. “My background was in architecture, so I designed the cans with the help of an in-house designer,” Eddie explained nonchalantly. The cans are truly remarkable. Sharp lines, vibrant neon colors and wonderfully bright contrasts make M.I.A.’s beers truly stand out on Florida’s craft beer shelves.

 

Of course, a brewery tour wouldn’t be complete without sampling some brews and M.I.A. didn’t disappoint on that front. With 54 taps pouring day in and day out – 36 of which are M.I.A. beers, the other 18 are guest taps – M.I.A. is certainly not lacking in the beer department.

I pulled up a stool and started sampling alongside Eddie, with my beers being poured by the affable bartender Carlos “Los” Carreras. He was very knowledgeable about all the beers M.I.A. was releasing, and had nuggets of information about everything that I was sampling. 



With 54 beers on tap, including numerous guest offerings, M.I.A. certainly wasn't lacking in the beer department.


THE BEERS:

Double Deco: Not unexpectedly, my first stop was M.I.A.’s Double IPA, which Eddie tells me will be canned in the future. This DIPA hit all the right stylistic notes with juicy, tropical aromas and flavors in the foreground, which were not at all aggressive. A simple blend of Simcoe and Citra made this DIPA surprisingly easy-drinking (especially at 9% ABV).

Oud Couple – This collaboration with Cigar City Brewing was a prototypical Oud Bruin, and I was pleasantly surprised to see well-established Florida beer vets like Cigar City joining forces with a relative newcomer such as M.I.A. According to head brewer Michael Demetrus, “There’s plenty of collaboration in the local scene, and as you can see, we have lots of guest taps.”

Regresa A Mi – This interesting and spritzy Berliner Weisse brewed with guava and hibiscus poured a stunning, grapefruit-colored hue. One of the prettiest beers I had the pleasure of sampling at M.I.A.

Babalu – This carrot cake-inspired Berliner Weisse zinged my nostrils with a zesty aroma of ginger and oranges, and the flavor followed suit coupled with an earthy hop character that mimicked its carrot-infused inspiration.


Regresa A Mi, a Berliner Weisse with guava and hibiscus, shone beautifully in the midday light.


Vitamin Si – This cleverly named Hefeweizen was brewed with oranges and tangerines, though the typical bubblegum and clove notes were certainly there, on top of a fruity and tropical base.

It’s Electric Cherry – You know a beer is good when even company employees are jazzed that it’s been released. Such was the case with Los when told that this beer, M.I.A.’s version of a Kriek, had been released. After sampling, Los had no problem saying that this was his new favorite M.I.A. beer. It certainly wasn’t a stretch to say it was one of the stars of my tasting session too; pouring a ruby red color with typical stone fruit esters, this beer contained a flurry of flavors – from wood to funk to ripe cherries – everything you would want from a complex Fruit Lambic.

M.I.A. Beer Company seems to be doing things the right way when it comes to opening up a brewery in Florida. Despite being a relatively new operation (M.I.A. was only the third brewery ever in Florida’s Dade County), they started off small, with manageable production loads then grew into more distribution, more beers and more collaborations. Expansion is on the horizon for M.I.A., with their current location nowhere near capacity. 

But Eddie still wants to make sure M.I.A. does things the right way.

“Some places that I’ve seen are just jumping straight into production feet-first. That’s gutsy because it’s really hard to break even that way,” Eddie said.

Still, with passionate brewers and employees, solid branding and Eddie’s even hand on the rudder, M.I.A. is sure to have a future as bright as the colors on a can of Miami Weiss.

M.I.A. Beer Company’s Bruhaus is open for tours on Saturdays from 1-6 PM. Find out more about the brewery at http://www.mia.beer/.



All photos Courtesy M.I.A. Beer Co. expect Regresa A Mi image, taken by Chris Guest.

Comments

jrdunnew's picture
Awesome place to visit! The largest selection of beer on tap that I've ever seen at a brewery, combined with high quality and a diverse food menu. A must stop if you're in the Miami area. Grab a 6-pack to go.

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Comments

jrdunnew's picture
Awesome place to visit! The largest selection of beer on tap that I've ever seen at a brewery, combined with high quality and a diverse food menu. A must stop if you're in the Miami area. Grab a 6-pack to go.

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