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Bold, Local Craft Beer Touch Down at the Miami Beer Festival

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Not much pairs better with game-day-Sunday, than beer-day-Saturday. Spike your mental football at Miami Beer Festival, an unlimited (mostly) craft beer sampling event naturally taking place at the Sun Life Stadium this Saturday, February 1.

Now in its second year, the festival promises to be one-stop for local beer connoisseurs and newbies alike. Over 50 breweries will participate in this year’s event, many being locally based, and if estimations are correct, that’s over 50 brews made especially in South Florida alone. It’s an exciting time for local beer, given that semi-local breweries like Funky Buddha and Cigar City have already paved the way and pointed a national spotlight on South Florida, giving new brewers an easy entry to be part of a groundbreaking and flourishing wave of craft beer in Miami.

Local breweries in every stage of development like recently-opened Wynwood Brewing Co., about-to-open M.I.A. Brewing Co., Stone Brewing Collaborator J.Wakefield Brewing, and talented home brewers like Sexy Llama Brewing and Moron Brothers will be sampling and talking up their exploits, giving everyone a chance to taste these Miami and South Florida up-and-coming breweries’ latest and greatest.

While the selection of beer varieties at any fest can range from more traditional, crowd-pleasing and arguably, commercial, for on-the-rise home brewers like 3 Sons Brewing’s Corey Artanis, the goal may not be “beer” at all.

“I pride myself on crafting unique and flavorful beers that make most people forget they're actually drinking beer, or opens them up to trying styles they normally wouldn't,” he said.

Flavors like “PB Kiss,” a peanut butter chocolate stout, and a “Double Hopped Hexed” a double India pale ale with six hop varietals, are expected to cover a range of tastes and experience levels.

“I like to think I make ‘gateway beer’ for the non-beer-savvy individual,” Artanis said. “For the true connoisseurs, it's just damn good beer.”

While it’s important to garner praise from new audiences, for returning home brewers like highly promising 4th Age Brewing, establishing consistently good product for fans is essential.

“After an event we will take what we heard from new and returning patrons and try to recreate the same experience and strive to make it the same or better,” said 4th Age brewer Daniel Morales.

Whether it’s the Jalapeno, Serrano and Habanero peppers in “Balrog Sneeze”* or Thai tea influenced “One Night in Bankok,” 4th Age’s more complex brews tell a story, that because of its toils are more gratifying to see as an end result.

“The best part of brewing is creating something on paper or in your head, then dedicating so much time and care into [it], that when it is final ready and right, you know you have made something truly special,” Morales said.

In the end, it’s the millions of taste buds that will arrive at Sun Life Stadium tomorrow that will have the final say of which beer wins their personal taste bud bowl. The event goes down tomorrow, Feb. 1, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. including a V.I.P hour, food trucks, and unlimited sampling. Go to Miamibeerfestival.com for more information and tickets.

Look for a compiled beer list for tomorrow on the Mini Beer Blog, minibeerblog.wordpress.com

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