Chef Michael Schwartz Makes Florida-Grown Beer

Michael’s Genuine Home Brew, made by the James Beard winner, uses local brown rice and sugarcane

The mascot for Michael Schwartz's Genuine Homebrew? Awesome.

What do you do after you've won the most prestigious culinary prize, the James Beard award? Take on beer, naturally. Michael Schwartz, the Miami-based chef who won the 2010 Best Chef in the South from the James Beard Foundation, has released his own homebrew made with Floridian ingredients. 

Michael’s Genuine Home Brew is the flagship beer for Schwartz, who recently let members of a beer distribution company try out the brew. Schwartz worked with Alabama’s Back Forty Beer Co. and World Beer Cup-winning brewmaster Jamie Ray to make the brew, reports

What's notable about the brew is that it uses not just any Floridian ingredient: it uses local Sem-Chi brown rice and sugarcane. Sem chi rice is often used as a rotation crop to clear out sugarcane fields, which might explain the unique flavor of the beer. Said co-founder of Back Forty Beer Co. Jason Wilson to, “We ran with Michael’s rice idea. It was important to use the whole kernel brown rice in order to stay true to the root of what the beer is about — no preservatives, no adjuncts, no pasteurization. It’s all about a short shelf life, and keeping up with the commitment to local and fresh ingredients." 

So what does the chef's beer taste like? The sessionable beer is a "light-bodied ale with a citrusy sweetness, hint of floral hops and dry finish," reads the description. And it's — shocker — "food friendly." You can try it at Miami's Harry’s Pizzeria and Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink in the next month (better get it before it runs out). Miami's already got a growing presence in the craft beer scene — and we think Schwartz might have solidified it.