Surviving the better beer desert

A few months ago, when summer was in full swing and I was living the family vacation high life (so not to be confused with the actual brand, High Life), I wrote a post about finding a brew in an unknown place to keep on hand for the duration of your stay.  The comments I received afterwards proved that I’m not, in fact, the only one who does it.  Finding local beer treats when you’re out of town is apparently part of the fun of traveling.

So what happens when you can’t find any?

A funny thing happened to me last week. Being a regular contributor for a highly regarded better beer blog such as this one means that occasionally I have an opportunity to write beer-related nonsense for other people, too.  Really, they should know better, right?  Then again, maybe that’s why I have I word-count limit.

Anyway, most recently, I’ve been offering beer-related suggestions for columnist Paul Daugherty’s blog in reference to whatever NFL team the Bengals will be facing that upcoming Sunday.  Last weekend, they played host to the Miami Dolphins.

So, great, I just had to come up a Miami-based beer or two.

Except, um, I’ve never been to Miami.  Still, I had no fear!  The best thing about being a believer in better beer is having plenty of better beer buddies.  Craft beer is, if nothing else, a deeply social, community-oriented, er, hobby?  Pasttime?  Obsession?  Ahem.  Whatever.  Point is, I sent out some feelers to my beer-loving friends, hoping to come up with a few suggestions.

"So, anyone ever been to Miami?" I asked. "What do you know about Miami beers?"



*deafening silence*

Um. Yeah.  Okay.  So I did some online research, and believe it or not, this time I used more than just Google.  Unfortunately, for all the extra work I put into it (like five whole minutes!), my effort was every bit as fruitless as a well-poured pint of beer ought to be.

Long story short, it looks like there might be a couple of decent places for craft beer in Miami, but nothing terribly notable and nothing that leaves the area.  Oh, they have a Gordon Biersch, which, you know, is fine, I guess.  Nothing really to write Doc about though.

In the end, I punted and made last week about enjoying local Cincinnati brews since the Bengals were at home anyway.  Thankfully, we’ve come a long way in the past five years or so, and we’re no longer drifting, parched and miserable, in that same boat of craft beer desolation.

So, did I miss something about Miami?  Does everyone actually just slurp up mojitos, or are there some awesome better beers hiding in the city somewhere that the internet doesn’t know about?  I’d love to hear, because I’m sure someday I’ll stop there on my way to a cruise or something.

What other better beer Saharas are out there?  Have you ever visited a place where your options were limited to, well, nothing worth drinking, anyway?  If so, let’s compile a list and draw up some kind of map indicating each dry spot with a "Here There Be Monsters". 

Because, like we all know from the old G.I. Joe cartoons, "Knowing is half the battle." 

And knowing that will put us one step closer to finding an oasis in the desert.


5 Replies to “Surviving the better beer desert”

  1. You aren’t alone here. My wife and I went to Miami for part of our honeymoon and I have never seen a place so devoid of good beer. Even Key West, not exactly a bastion of good beer drinking, had infinitely more options.

    There definitely are places in Florida with great beer options (see: Cigar City & Funky Buddha), but Miami is definitely not one of them.

  2. I spent 4 days in Miami on business in May and found the same thing. The most exotic thing I could find was Presidente. If you’ve ever had Presidente you know it’s pretty much some Miller product with lemon juice in it. I asked every bartender I could find about local brews and was pointed toward some alleged mysterious local brewery downtown that nobody was exactly sure how to get to.

  3. I suggest logging onto, click on places then click on Florida, which will have the Miami area listed with suburbs and nearby towns. I did a search of Miami proper and found only the aforementioned Gordon Biersch in the way of brewpubs–looks like there might be some good bars and bottle shops, though. Suburban Coral Gables has a brewpub. You might want to check under some of the other towns in the Miami area.

  4. I have a great app on my phone called Brewery Map (I know it is available on Droid and iphone). I typed in Miami and came up with Titanic Brewing Co in Coral Gables(listed as Miami’s oldest), Abbey Brewing Co on Miami Beach, and Wynwood Brewing Co in Miami (in planning stages). It’s a handy app to have when traveling. I have found several breweries I would never have known about. On a recent trip to Michigan I visited a new brewery that had only been open a month. They had no idea about the app even though I told them that is how we found the place.

  5. I visited Abbey Brewing a few years ago while I was there for phish’s NYE run…cool, small dive of a place with good beer (try the quad!)…definitely recommend if you’re down there.

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