Any alum of the North Miami BrewFest will tell you: It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
On Nov. 16, attendees will be greeted by more than 200 types of beer served by more than 50 of the best breweries in South Florida. Each sample has its own allure, which begs the question: where is the best place to start? How should one navigate through this afternoon-long craft beer symposium?
Whether you are attending a seminar or trying out the different gourmet bites, there are tips and tricks that will prepare you for the upcoming Festival. Our university alumni who are master brewers and BrewFest veterans offer their advice on how to handle the Festival.
This year's BrewFest will take place at MOCA Plaza—770 NE 125th St, North Miami, FL 33161— on Nov. 16. The university community can save on tickets: Use the code FIUFAMILY for 20 percent off both VIP and general admission at checkout.
Ask questions early and often
The NoMi BrewFest is a unique opportunity to learn about the beer-making process from master brewers. Surely, the event will be crowded, so when is the best time to ask questions?
“I love to go in the beginning,” said Eddie Leon ’96, MAA ’98, a master brewer at M.I.A. Beer Company. “That’s when everyone has time to talk about their beers.”
Leon encourages attendees to take advantage of the fact that the brewers are pouring their own beers. Sometimes, there is a lot more to a beer than meets the eye.
“Ask questions. For example, sometimes IPAs can have a fruity flavor. But all those flavors can come from hops. You’re not actually adding orange juice to it,” Leon said.
Enjoy a variety of tastes
Chris Gil ’16, head brewer at Biscayne Bay Brewing Company, was at the first NoMi BrewFest and has seen many since. Over the years, he has developed a belief: sampling a variety of beers is the best way to progress through the Festival.
“Have a strong beer, then a light beer, strong beer, light beer. That’s how I would do it,” Gil said. “And if you’re a [sour beer] person, bring a little bottle of Tums."
Everyone has his or her own strategy. Attendees should wait until later in the day to try beers with higher alcohol percentage, Leon advises, so that they can better taste the subtleties of the brews.
“Start with the lighter stuff, and then graduate onto some of the heavier stuff,” Leon said.
Take advantage of non-alcoholic offerings
The NoMi BrewFest will have much more than just beer. Attendees be able to eat a variety of gourmet bites. Alumni-owned vendors will be bringing ceviche, brisket, chicken dumplings and more.
Guests will also be able to sample non-alcoholic brews. Chaplin School Professor Barry Gump is concocting two custom soft drinks: Jamaican Cola and a Sorrel Soda.
Non-drinkers can obtain a special price on their tickets to NoMi BrewFest.
If you are planning on drinking, then it is an especially great idea to utilize the food offerings, Leon says.
“Drink a lot of water in between. Eat throughout.”
There will also be plenty of Aquafina, Voss and bubly to clear your palate between beers.