Beer, food, fun and sun were the theme at the 2021 North Miami BrewFest.
After a year's hiatus, hundreds of beer and food lovers gathered on Saturday, Nov. 13, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Plaza in North Miami to try beer from more than 30 brewers and food from more than a dozen local restaurants.
The event had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 in 2020, but this year returned even better than ever. From IPA's to stouts, to lagers, brewers from across South Florida poured festivalgoers their best craft beers, which they could pair with gourmet bites.
Highlights included Biscayne Bay's pour-your-own-beer taps located on the side of a classic Volkswagen van, to featured suds from craft breweries like Dogfish Head Miami, M.I.A. Beer Company, Wynwood Brewing, Cerveceria La Tropical, 26 Degree Brewing Company, Bay 13 Brewery, Bread and Beer Buds, Focal Brewing, Lost City Brewing Company, Veza Sur Brewing Company, Miami Area Society of Homebrewers and Conscious Brewing.
Alumni-owned or operated restaurants also made their mark, including Kush by Stephens Delicatessen, to Exquisite Catering, 109 Burger Joint, Sushi Maki, Naomi's Garden Restaurant & Lounge, The Barrel BBQ, Tropical Oasis Express and StartUp FIU entrepreneur Frice Cream. Ticketholders who purchased early entrance spent a little extra time at the VIP lounge inside Cafe Creme.
For the first time, an FIU student group also participated — Bartenders Guild at FIU, pouring craft beer cocktails made of beer, spirits, and handcrafted mixers. Faculty and students from the FIU Bistro, the University's only student-run restaurant, served up a tasty sampling of chicken and peas and rice. Returning brewers from FIU Brew, led by Professor Barry Gump, offered six different student-made beers.
A big part of the Learn. Brew. Taste. event included educational seminars, like "The Three Cs" of pairing beer and food. Ami Parrino, a Microbiologist and Advanced Cicerone, recommends beer and food lovers focus on Complement, Cut and Contrast.
Complement with a beer flavor profile that's similar to the dish. Choose a beer that cuts or cleanses the palate. Finally for contrast remember: "Opposites attract; aim to mix sweet and sour with spicy," Parrino told a packed room of attendees. The session was followed by an "Off Flavor Course" to identify the six most common off-flavors in beer by FIU Brew's Albert Rivera.
At the end of the day, festivalgoers voted for their favorites. The winner of the people’s choice award for the best brewery was Veza Sur Brewing Company, located in Wynwood. The best restaurant went to The Barrel BBQ, which served up a delicious BBQ pork belly bite.
BrewFest, now in its 9th year, was started by students at FIU's Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. It now boasts the City of North Miami as its Title Partner. Proceeds go towards scholarships and the school's Brew Science program.