After two years as a brewery without a taproom, Biscayne Bay Brewing Company poured its first beers last week for 200 eager drinkers at its Doral warehouse.
The turnout left Jose Mallea, who owns the brewery with Gus Chacon, feeling stunned. On Thursday afternoon, Mallea fired off a Facebook post announcing Biscayne Bay's soft opening that weekend. By Friday, more customers than Mallea could count had found their nautically themed tasting room, ordering barrel-aged brews that streamed from chrome tap handles.
"People didn't just sit down and order beer. They ordered flights of all the beers," Mallea says, referring to the 4-ounce sample glasses common at breweries.
The 150-seat taproom's launch arrives after two years of Biscayne Bay's making and distributing its beers to South Florida bars and breweries, Mallea says.
"We just wanted to get the doors open," Mallea, 39, says. "We'd only been pushing out four beers on the market, so we were curious just how much interest we would get."
The maiden voyage of the 3,300-square-foot taproom courted visits from local brewery owners Eddie Leon of M.I.A. Beer Company and Carlos Padron of soon-to-open Tank Brewing, also in Doral. Street artist Krave even bellied up to the 60-foot-long wooden bar and toured the glass-sealed barrel-aging room.
Biscayne Bay is offering 14 beers to start, including Buenas Noches, an imperial stout aged in whiskey barrels, and Buenas Noches Choco Vanilla Imperial Stout, a treatment of the same beer added with cocoa nibs and vanilla. Those will accompany Biscayne Bay beers already in distribution: Miami Pale Ale, a hoppy, citrusy American-style pale ale; Biscayne Bay Saison, a Belgian-style ale punched with French hops and notes of orange peel, coriander and banana; Colada Porter, a Cuban-coffee-style porter; and Double Nine IPA, a hoppier American IPA with stone fruit and pineapple flavors.
Doral seemed a natural fit for Biscayne Bay Brewing, says Mallea, who with Chacon were staffers for former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz. The city's fleet of "turn-key industrial warehouses" could already fit massive brewing tanks with room to spare.
Mallea's zeal for brewing came five years ago, when he noticed the craft-beer trend taking off as an owner of the Local Craft Food and Drink in Coral Gables. He sold the business in 2011, and spent the next three years launching Biscayne Bay.
"There is no blueprint on how to open a brewery, but Doral is perfect," Mallea says. "We have access to a lot of suburban folks living in west Kendall, and Hialeah, and even Pembroke Pines and Miramar."
Biscayne Bay Brewing Company is open 3-11 p.m. Thursdays, 3 p.m.-midnight Fridays, 2 p.m.-midnight Saturdays and 2-10 p.m. Sunday at 800 NW 25th St., in Doral. The brewery will host a grand-opening party in mid- to late-September. Call 305-381-5718 or go to BiscayneBayBrewing.com.
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