Miami's Top Brewer Johnathan Wakefield Talks Breweries, Berliners and a Little Math Too (Photos)
Miami has one of the world's top-ranked brewers. and his name is Johnathan Wakefield. So if Miami is home to such talent, then this begs the ultimate question: where's the brewery?
We sat down with Wakefield, owner of Wakefield Brewery, and talked about his future plans for a brewery, among other things. With all of these emerging plans for breweries and brewpubs in Miami, as well as existing ones, the Magic City ought to be America's next craft beer destination. Seriously.
By "top-ranked" we mean that one of Wakefield's beers beers is highly-regarded on ratebeer.com, which compares beers on a global scale. His dragon fruit and passion fruit Berliner weisse pilot series that he brewed with Cigar City is currently ranked 10th out of the top 50 beers in the world.
Wakefield Brewing, as he wants his label to be known, is still in its infancy. He filed paperwork to claim the name in the state of Florida last March. In less than a year, he hopes, his beers will become more of a local presence.
New Times: How and when did you get into home-brewing?
Johnathan Wakefield: I got into home-brewing in 2006 when my wife bought me a Mr. Beer kit for Christmas. I also brewed a few beers at a brew on premises place called Brewmasters, which has been closed since 2009 I think. I would say after two batches on the Mr. Beer I went out and purchased all of the equipment to start brewing on a larger scale.
How did you become ranked on Ratebeer.com? How do they rank beer?
I became ranked on Ratebeer.com with the help of Cigar City Brewing. They asked me to come in and brew a few beers on their pilot batch system. Those beers were then released to the public to be rated at their festivals such as Hunahpu Day and Fruit in the Room Beerfest.
How did you get hooked up with Cigar City? I understand that your ranked beer is only a pilot with them. Have you guys discussed the possibility of mass producing it?
I got hooked up with CCB back in 2009 when they first opened. Joey was kind enough to invite me up and allow me to brew on his system. We have not talked about mass producing it together, but it will be massed produced by Wakefield Brewing once we are open.