If you know your Florida craft beer, you know the name J. Wakefield.
Based in Miami's Wynwood arts district, the young brewery, owned by homebrewer-turned-brewmaster Johnathan Wakefield (get the J. now?), has started distributing its beer to the draft lines of bars and restaurants in the Tampa and St. Petersburg market. A milestone for J. Wakefield Brewing, the expansion, which also includes Orlando, serves as the first time the brewery has established regular distribution outside its South Florida stomping grounds.
"We are extremely excited that our beer will be available in Tampa. I know from personal experience, namely a brief stint at Cigar City years ago, that Tampa/St. Pete has a great craft beer scene," said Wakefield, who built up a following as a homebrewer, winning national awards for his sours. "We are excited to be a small part of that with some handles to call our own."
J. Wakefield's 15-barrel brewery, opened in 2015 with the help of a CrowdBrewed fundraising campaign that launched in 2013 (a time when Miami had one brewery), produces all of its kegs for distribution. With a celebrated sour program and barrel-aging operation, the brewery creates dozens of beers annually for its local and national audience, including El Jefe Coconut Hefeweizen and Hops 4 Teacher IPA.
Around the region, three events — 6 p.m. Thursday at Brandon's Stein & Vine, 6 p.m. Friday at downtown St. Pete's Ale and the Witch, and 6 p.m. Saturday at Mermaid Tavern in Seminole Heights — will help J. Wakefield kick off its distribution locally. Wakefield will be on-site at each gathering alongside his brews.
Expect tap offerings like Every Gose Has Its Thorn (you'll find the last keg in existence for this gose with ruby red grapefruit at The Stein & Vine), Phat Bottom Imperial Berliner Weisse, Where's the Yeast, Bro? Sour IPA and Amber Waves Red Ale.