With the black and red Baja Bao House food truck parked in the patio, long wooden picnic tables at the ready and a handsome library bar stocked with colorful accessories, Wynwood’s newest brewery, Veza Sur, opened its doors for a sneak peek Tuesday.
The behind-the-scenes tour of the tank room by brewmaster Asbjorn Gerlach was an interactive look at the brewing process. Gerlach is passionate about his work, and it’s obvious in the personal stories he told during his funny and educational walk through.
He spoke about co-founding Germany’s first brewery at a time when the market wasn’t ready and about living in Chile for 16 years where he perfected his craft. And finally, about the trials he and Veza Sur owners Chris and Jeremy Cox faced in opening the Anheuser-Busch-backed brewery.
“We attempted to open last October, but Miami is tough so here we are almost a year later and so happy to finally be opening,” he said. The brewery opens to the public Aug. 19.
The tour kicked off with a tasting of their 2 Raw Malt which is the base for all their beers, Munich Malt base for their dark beer, Crystal Heat with a caramel-like flavor and roasted, toasted flavor and their strongest the Roasted of which they use just a small percentage to achieve a dark coffee, cocoa flavor.
A “hop rubbing” demo followed to highlight the differences in aroma between the American Amarillo hops and the Czech Saaz hops. After viewing the tanks up close, it was time to sample the Belgian Gator Ale straight from the tank.
The Bar Lab (founders of the award-winning Broken Shaker) guys got to shine next, preparing the ingredients for a Michelada-making session. After rubbing a beer glass with lime and rimming with salt, in went half an ounce of buffalo hot sauce and lime juice, a few dashes of Tajin spices. Those got stirred, lots of ice was added then it was topped with Veza Sur’s Latin Lager and finished with a dehydrated lime wheel garnish.
Randy Perez, who prepared the cocktails, and his partner, Gui Jaroschy, have several other cocktail concoctions for the Veza Sur menu. There’s a seasonal Michelada that features a seasonal shrub and pickle. Currently they’re doing a black cherry shrub and pickles with cilantro and chile de arbol.
“We are extremely excited about this partnership with Veza Sur and are looking forward to the future,” said Perez.
There was plenty of sampling from their 10 brews on tap (a number Gerlach hopes to increase to between 12 and 14), including their black and tan. It’s half dark lager and half porter finished with a homemade vegan banana foam made from dehydrated organic banana. Other interesting choices on tap include a coffee porter made with Miami’s Per’la coffee, a mango ale, Trigo IPA and a guava sour.
To go with the drink fest: tastings from the Baja Bao House food truck parked in the patio. Run by the Pubbelly Boys, the menu includes Kalbee quesadillas, spicy edamame, huitlacoche (mushroom) empanadas and four cheeses and topped with salsa verde.
The Bao buns are the menu highlight, filled with mahi mahi, Korean bbq steak, chicken mole, roasted pork to name a few.
They even have desserts, including a Mexican chocolate with bananas and peanuts and a soft-serve cajeta chocolate or passion frozen yogurt.
The dark wood Library Bar is the ideal backdrop while sitting on a bar stool, decked out with colorful accessories with the white bar taps spelling out Veza Sur Brewing Co. as the centerpiece. And in the cooler months (we’ll see when that happens in Miami), they plan to open the retractable roof over the patio.