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Beer and baseball: NightLife Brewing Company opening next to Marlins Park

Update: NightLife Brewing Company will open to the public at 4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 25.

The newest craft brewery in South Florida is one fastball away from Marlins Park.

Beer and baseball will collide at NightLife Brewing Company, scheduled to open in August inside a storefront on the ground floor of the ballpark’s Home Plate Garage. The stadium-adjacent brewery, part sports bar and part taproom, is the creation of Juan O’Naghten and John Cooper, who will also share brewing duties.

The 9,728-square-foot brewery is planning a soft opening in early August before a grand-opening bash later that month, when O’Naghten and Cooper hope to capitalize on Marlins Park’s regular-season foot traffic.

“I really hope [the Marlins] make the postseason,” O’Naghten, 32, says with a laugh.

Despite Nightlife’s proximity to the ballpark, O’Naghten says the brewery will have little affiliation with the Marlins. After scouting locations in Miami-Dade for two years with little success, the brewers in 2015 settled on the Home Plate Garage storefront, which faces Marlins Park’s main entrance. While he and Cooper, 28, don’t rule out a partnership with the ballpark, O’Naghten says the brewery will focus more on Miami’s history than on its baseball team.

“My inner baseball nerd was like, ‘This is gonna be cool,’ ” O’Naghten says. “I would love it if players just walked in and ordered a beer, and I’d be like, ‘Cool, I watch you on TV.’ But the big reason I love this space is because it aligns with our telling the story of Miami on the former site of the Orange Bowl.”

NightLife will feature a terrace and a 1,500-square-foot taproom outfitted with 18 taps and flat-screen TVs that will air sports and baseball action inside the stadium. A window will separate the taproom from the brewhouse, which includes a canning line and can brew up to 6,510 gallons per month. The centerpiece of the taproom is a mural of the old Orange Bowl composed of black-and-white photos of Miami architecture.`

The mural is a nod to Miami’s sports heritage but also to O’Naghten’s teenage years. In 2003 at the Orange Bowl, he witnessed University of Miami quarterback Brock Berlin carry the Hurricanes back from a third-quarter, 21-point deficit to beat the University of Florida Gators 38-33.

“It kind of irked me that so many movies and TV, when they show Miami, they only show South Beach. That’s sad,” O’Naghten says. “What fascinates me more than the club scene is how our generation is advancing Miami’s story.”

The brewery’s starting lineup of beers will include its 90 Mile Pale Ale, a reference to the rise of Miami’s Cuban population over the past 50 years. There will also be a Gunfighter Blonde hefeweizen, a Thunderbird Milk Stout, a Daring Brunette brown ale, the Flight to Freedom golden strong ale and a Spitfire Redhead saison. O’Naghten says the names reflect Miami’s history as a World War II-era Army Air Corps training base and as a destination for rumrunners during Prohibition.

The brewery is still firming up its operating hours, but NightLife plans to remain open late during Marlins home games. They’ll also stay open during the baseball offseason, and offer brewery tours at noon and 3 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

NightLife Brewing Company will open in August at 1588 NW Seventh St., in Miami. Call 786-787-BEER or go to NightlifeBrewingCo.com and the brewery’s Facebook page.

pvalys@southflorida.com or 954-356-4364

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