The Bird Road Art District may be due for a name change: Call it the Bird Road Beer District.
Unseen Creatures, a highly anticipated new brewery specializing in farmhouse ales, has opened in the heart of the art district at Bird Road and the Palmetto Expressway. It joins the 3-year-old Lincoln’s Beard Brewery a block away, which helped expand Miami’s craft beer scene west.
As Miami’s beer scene grows, breweries can find their niche by focusing on one style of beer. Unseen Creatures is the first in South Florida to specialize in farmhouse ales.
The unseen creatures in the new brewery’s name refer to the wild yeast strains local cultures which help give this particular style of beer a funky, complex and often tart taste. Founder Marco Leyte-Vidal foraged for the wild yeasts that bring his beers to life everywhere from flowers in front of his house to the fig tree in his backyard.
“It’s a way to showcase Miami in a more subtle way,” Marco Leyte-Vidal said. “These things influence a beer in a very specific way.”
And the beers are served in a particularly Miami setting: The brewery took over an old shoe factory off the eastern exit ramp of the Palmetto, where expansive windows look out onto the zipping headlights and taillight from the expressway and Bird Road.
Craft been lovers have been patiently waiting for years for Unseen Creatures, a long-planned brewery from longtime Leyte-Vidal, who runs a popular blog and video interview series, the Craft Commander, with some of the world’s best brewers. His wild ales have been favorites at beer festivals and local bars where Leyte-Vidal has been perfecting his brew.
“We were blessed people thought our beer was good — brewers and consumers,” Leyte-Vidal said.
His beers taste long-perfected, although the brewery has been open less than week. Unseen’s stable of beers — which rely on different strains of local bacteria cultures for flavor in their fermentation — range from extra tart to mildly puckering, offering a refined and gradual range for even novice beer drinkers. The cherry-vanilla No Mountain is creamy and refreshing, while another, First Ray of Light, aged in oak wine barrels — and left uncarbonated — tastes like a cousin to a chardonnay.
And they have more in store. A pair of foeders, large wooden barrels as tall as a person used to age wine and beer, stand ready under auspicious red lights for specially brewed sour and farmhouse beers.
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