Local beer fundraising event for newborn twins brews results, camaraderie

Organized in less than two weeks, Hop Into Action, a craft beer event aimed at benefitting Floridian twin newborn girls whose mother passed days after childbirth, was able to raise over $3000 via donations, silent auctions and raffles on July 6.

Hosted at the newly acquired building but not-yet-fully-running M.I.A. Brewing Co., the event not only gave a chance to get a sneak peek of the brewery and taste some M.I.A, and locally made beer from Fourth Age, Beer Snobs and Sexy Llama brews, but also gave you a chance to speak personally with Gene Devaney, whose single post in late June on popular website Beeradvocate.com, sparked a response that surprised him.

Within hours, Devaney received enough donations from other local and global Beer Advocate members to raffle 2 boxes with rare beers for $20 per ticket. Within days it was 20 boxes. Soon Devaney was in contact with M.I.A.’s Eddie Leon, and a Miami-based fundraiser was born.

A small but committed group was in attendance and made generous offers and contributions to the silent auctions and raffle. Devaney emceed the raffle, and within the first drawing, expressed his gratitude and appreciation.

“You should have seen him earlier he was tearing up,” said fiancée Rhonda Wynn who was helping man the auction table. “He just wants to do everything he can.”

Among items auctioned (a completely different set of beers than those he is raffling online or at the event) were Cigar City’s vertical Hunaphu series and Westvleteren XII “brick box” with 6 of these very rare brews.

Raffled items included Funky Buddha growlers filled with Raspberry Hefeweizen, home brewing equipment and non-local finds like the Lost Abbey/ New Belgium collaboration beer, “Mo’ Betta Bretta” (as won by yours truly).

What revolved around a sad event truly became an example of camaraderie and friendship in South Florida, another great sign of things to come in Miami’s growing beer community.

Summery beers were the treats of event. Here were a few tasting highlights:

M.I.A. Brewing Co., Helles Angel, Pale Lager: There’s nothing like coming in from 90 degree weather to be greeted by a helles lager. “Helles” meaning “bright” in German, this light colored lager was refreshing, clean with an overall balanced taste.

Fourth Age Brewing, One Night In Bangkok, Thai Tea Ale: Made with cream ale yeast and oolong tea, it’s a tasty novelty and interesting reference to Miami’s abundant Asian cuisine, falling second only to the “Pan con…” esanwiche varieties.

Fourth Age Brewing, Betrayal of Man, India Pale Ale: A light-bodied ale brewed with New Zealand hops, giving it bitter hoppy aroma, a very refreshing taste with grassy and citrus notes with a delightfully hoppy backlash.

Beer Snob Ales, IPA-HOLE, India Pale Ale: Excellently hopped with citrus and bitterness that’s on the money, leaving a very smooth, leafy taste. Beer Snobs also had a Brett IPA, which allowed the more biting hop qualities to be mellowed by the Brettanomyces yeast, which tends to give a bit of a funky barnyard thing to beer, but in this case created balance.

Sexy Llama Brewing, Saison Du Lama Ryebux, Saison: Slightly estery aroma gives way to effervescent, fresh, farmhouse taste that’s high on yeasty goodness. Nice surprise from another local upstart.

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