South Beach is the land of skinny people drinking Coronas, skinny people drinking margaritas, and skinny people (or Nicole Polizzi) drinking margaritas with Coronas dumped into them (for real). Now, any one with tastebuds should rightfully detest Coronas and while I can occasionally enjoy a tropical beverage on a hot day, I’m not sure why one would want to water down a fruity boozebath with 4% skunk beer. As for me, even in the land of skinny people, when there doesn’t seem to be a decent craft beer in sight, I like to find the large bearded guys. They usually know where the good brews are. Even in craft beer wastelands, you can usually find an oasis or two. I found one such spot on a recent trip to Miami: The Abbey Brewing Company.
A tad off the beaten path–if the “beaten path” is Ocean Drive*–I located The Abbey Brewing Company. Minuscule in size, it’s been standing proud on 16th and Lenox since 1995. Dark and cool inside, brewmaster/owner/former New Yorker Raymond Rigazio is a seasoned pro, having homebrewed (and home-wined) since well before you drank anything halfway decent.
On my quick jaunt there last Friday, Raymond had two of his house beers on tap, both of which were sublime.
The same recipe since ABC opened, it’s good enough that there’s no reason to change it! Settling in at a solid 6.2% ABV, this brew uses three different kinds of hops but is balanced quite nicely, and flawlessly refreshing. I could have slugged these all day.
Father Theodore’s Stout
Now the last thing I wanted at 3 PM on a sweltering Friday, mere hours before I had to appear respectable (and standing) at my sister’s wedding, was a big bodied stout. But, surprisingly, this 9.5% monster is light. I don’t mean light in mouthfeel or body, it’s a full-figured gal packed with complex flavors of chocolate and licorice, I mean light in that typical boozy taste that plagues many imperial stouts. I was stunned at its ABV, double-checking with Raymond just to make sure. Dangerous.
The Abbey also has a dubbel and quad (which I hear is amazing), but neither was on during my visit. Raymond makes small batches and only brews a few times a year so enjoy what you can get! He also has several other taps from great breweries across America, an impressive bottle list, and solid booze and wine selections. I would set up a permanent camp in this joint if I lived in Miami Beach, and hope to be back sometime soon!
*In the oddest comparison you’ve surely ever heard, Ocean Drive reminds me of Mulberry Street in NY’s Little Italy. What with the cookie cutter menus, the aggressive maitre d’s, and the outdoor dining and waddling tourists getting in your way and making movement a struggle. Then again, you rarely see the bottom ass curvature of modelesque women on Mulberry Street.