Trip to Miami to Brew with Prision Pals Brewing

One thing that I’ve really missed over the past couple of years is brewing collaboration brews. We did a lot of collaboration beers when I was with Stone Brewing, many of which are included in my all-time favorite brewing memories, and while at New Realm have been able to brew with some of my favorite people in the business-Shaun O’Sullivan at 21st Amendment, Matt Cole from Fat Heads, Chris, Cole and Nick from Rhinegeist, James Massey at Two Tides, and Nick and Brian from Cherry Street and Piedmont Brewing. Collaborations are educational, create excitement, demonstrate the unique camaraderie in the craft beer business, and most of all, are fun!

I really enjoy the opportunities to get to know and brew with like minded brewers,  and I only have a few things I look for when deciding to brew a collaboration beer:

  1. They make great beer
  2. I know and like the brewers — not an absolute requirement but certainly makes things easier
  3. They need to be cool (subjective, I know, but most brewers are cool)
  4. They approach the business ethically and responsibly

This past week I had the opportunity to travel to Miami and brew with Juan Pipkin and Diego Setti at Prision Pals Brewing. This brew was set up by my friend and brewing legend Pete Slosberg, creator of Pete’s Wicked Ale back in the 1980s. For several years, Pete and his wife Amy have been doing a lot of international travel, most notably to South America, where he often judges in beer competitions and hangs out with some really great craft brewers and homebrewers. In fact, Pete had me signed up to judge twice in the Buenos Aires area, and I had to bow out both times, once due to a last minute work conflict, and the second time due to Covid.

Pete got to know Diego and Juan in Argentina, and they recently came to Miami to open up Prision Pals Brewery. Pete reached out to me last summer about traveling to Miami to brew with them, and we finally found a good time to actually make it happen last week. Pete told me they were great guys and made great beer, so I was in.

I enjoyed putting together the beer recipe with Diego. It was apparent very quickly that he is a skilled brewer with some serious Excel skills, which he used to create his recipe calculation spreadsheet. Juan and  Diego asked if we could brew a Hazy IPA, so that’s what we did. We talked about yeast strain and grains over email before I got there but we saved the hop recipe til I got there. We ended up using a combination of Idaho 7, Azacca and Galaxy in the beer, which I think will be wonderful.

(Hover over images to learn more about when and where they were taken)

Arriving in Miami

After arriving in Miami, we went to dinner at an Argentinian Steakhouse. Often the best part of doing a collaboration is the food, and I learned a lot about South American cuisine on this trip.  My old friend and great brewer Marco Malaga joined us that first evening-that was a nice surprise!

Prision Pals - Miami

Prision Pals – Miami

The ABE Brewhouse at Prision Pals

The beautiful ABE Brewhouse at Prision Pals

Finalizing the Recipe

Finalizing the recipe! Diego built this impressive Excel program

Krispin Mashes in

After working on some boiler issues, Krispin was finally able to mash in. Like most collaborations the rest of us tend to supervise while the Head Brewer does most of the work. Our job is to stay out of the way.

Lunch from Argentina

Lunch is served! Juan bought everyone a classic Argentinian sandwich called a Milanese from a shop right around the corner from the brewery. 2 pieces of breaded beef (like beef schnitzel), ham, a fried egg, cheese and lettuce. These were so big I ended up splitting Pete’s sandwich with him, and was very full afterwards

Wort analysis

Wort analysis looks great!

Clever grain out method

Grain out. I thought this plate laid over the drums was a very clever, and it made filling the drums very easy.

Beer Tasting

Time to taste some beers! The Brooklyn/Russian River collaboration was beautiful.

Beer Tasting

Prision Pals and Pete previously brewed an orange chocolate porter, and though Pete said the bergamot orange flavor had faded a bit, it was a wonderful, chocolatey beer with hints of citrus.

Beer Tasting

And Prision Pals Barrel Aged Stout had such an intense cocoa character!

On the Brewdeck

The team on the brewdeck! Krispin, me, Juan, Pete and Diego

Prision Pals and Pete

Pete, Diego and me on the brewdeck

Pete's Spectrum of Beers

Chatting with Pete during brew day, and he brought up his chart of beer profiles. After he pulled it up on his phone, it struck me that I remembered this chart very well-it was really quite groundbreaking for its time (late 1980s/early 1990s). Pete explained that he created it as a selling tool for his beer, and would explain the full flavor and color spectrum of beers available to potential customers. This is back when bar owners and beer drinkers needed some real education on what beer could be besides an American Lager, and this chart was really useful for that.

Food Pics

The Leche de Tigre is served in a shot glass and is a lime based sauce used to marinate ceviche. It’s also supposedly a great hangover cure. I now see that there are a lot of Peruvian restaurants in Atlanta (not a surprise given all the international restaurants here) looking forward to trying some of them soon.

Peruvian Food

On our first night at the Argentinian steakhouse there was a good discussion on how good Peruvian food was, so after the brew day, we found a Peruvian restaurant that was fantastic.  All sorts of ceviche, seafood, corn, and potato dishes.

Argentinian Fugazetta

On this trip, Pete introduced me to Café Cubano, which is espresso dosed with a LOT of sugar, and served in very small cups. It is intensely flavored and very sweet. I made the mistake of drinking 3 of these on brew day-which gave me the jitters for several hours. The next day I only had one. But I’m a fan.

And finally, we had this Argentinian pizza called Fugazetta, which is stuffed with gooey mozzarella cheese and topped with onion. Incredibly rich!

Cerveceria La Tropical

We visited the first brewery on the spur of the moment after Taylor Krugh from Hophead Farms texted me and told me he was there. Pete, Amy and I were close by after getting a Café Cubano, so we met up with him and brewmaster Matthew Weintraub at this beautiful brewery, Cerveceria La Tropical, which started in Cuba in the 1888, closed after the communist revolution in Cuba and reopened recently in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami.

Cerveceria La Tropical

Rolec brewhouse, incredible taproom and garden, this place was first class, and not surprising as it is a joint venture with Heineken. Matt’s beers were well made and very tasty.

Cerveceria La Tropical Tap Handle

I loved their logo-a flamingo/hop, and the historical pictures of the original brewery in the taproom

Unseen Creatures Brewery and Blendery

Our next stop was Unseen Creatures Brewery and Blendery, a farmhouse inspired brewery in the Bird Road Art District that is doing some magic with wild fermentations, hoppy beers and lighter lagers.

Unseen Creatures Brewery and Blendery

Their beers were fantastic, and Marco and Drew were great hosts. Really cool spot also, with a great tap room.

Unseen Creatures Brewery and Blendery

Marco was reluctant to pour me one of his IPAs, and we ended up leaving without trying one, but their wild beers were wonderful!

Odd Breed Wild Ales

Our last brewery stop was Odd Breed Wild Ales in Pompano Beach.

Odd Breed Wild Ales

Matt Manthe is making some incredible lambic inspired beers, and makes use of local Florida fruit in many of them.

Odd Breed Wild Ales

His beers were elegant, balanced and skillfully blended. I really enjoyed talking with Matt, he’s a true artist.


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