Meet Jesse Morris. He’s the Front of House Manager at the Social Hall, and probably one of the biggest (and nicest) beer enthusiasts you’ll ever meet. Because the Social Hall is still very much under construction, and we won’t be open to the public until the fall, we thought it was a good time for him to introduce himself.
What drew you to the opportunity to work for Concrete Beach?
Jesse: What wouldn’t?! I am a Florida native who has had a life long obsession with craft beer, and now I get to help build a new home for my passion in the heart of the one the coolest neighborhoods, in the coolest cities, of this very hot state. I have had my fair share of amazing opportunities in the beer industry- bar tending, to sales and marketing, to promotions, and even helping build a craft division of a wholesaler, but this is something new for me; a chance to use all my skills and build something from the ground up that will (hopefully) change the craft beer scene of my home state for the better. I couldn’t be more excited.
We heard you were a home brewer, what’s the craziest beer you’ve ever brewed?
Jesse: Oh man….I don’t know how to best answer this. First, let me say that yes I am an avid home brewer, and I highly recommend the hobby and habit to everyone. It really gives you a level of respect for what you’re drinking and all the hard work that goes into each serving of delicious beer. That said, I love experimenting and do some really wacky brews. The strangest sounding one (which is quite delicious, if I do say so myself) is probably my Thanksgiving Barleywine. It’s a sweet potato barley wine, aged on cranberries and marshmallow fluff, which I then added a home-made turkey extract to. I make it every year, and watch my family try to figure out what the hell they’re tasting, and why they like it!
As the manager of the Social Hall, what are you most excited about (aside from the obvious)?
Jesse: The thing that excites me most about this position is the chance to get to talk to people. I love meeting new people and getting them as excited about beer as I am. This city already has such a vibrant culture and I think once people start to see what’s possible with beer, the beverage will be woven into that fabric. I look forward to creating a welcoming environment for people from all walks of life and all levels of beer enthusiasm, and to really encourage people to come with questions or things they’re curious about. One of my favorite things is when people ask me questions I don’t know the answer to, because it means I get to learn something new!
What is the coolest place you’ve enjoyed a beer?
Jesse: Ok- this is going to start like any other beer geek story, but it will end very differently. I was in Colorado for the GABF (Great American Beer Festival) a few years ago, and I went to Falling Rock for an after party. This bar, for those of you who don’t know, is a craft beer Mecca. It’s insane. They have everything. I had a Pliny, on tap, and thought “This is it. This is as good as it gets.” And I was wrong. Later that night, I walked into the grungiest bar Ive seen in a long, long time. If fuzzy memory serves, it was called Bar Bar. I am a sucker for a dive-bar, and brother, this bar was king. Dogs running around without owners, people sitting on benches that looked like they’d been there before the bar existed — a floor that was slightly sticky, but so dark that you couldn’t tell what from — I was in heaven. I remember Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” playing on the jukebox as I walked to the bar and said “Gimme a beer.” It doesn’t even matter what it was; I started talking to people, and heard amazing stories about a guys time in prison, and someone’s time working on railcars. The woman who owned the bar took me around and showed me a faded portrait of her husband, who built the place and told me if she was younger, or I were older…well you get the point there. My friends and I stayed there for a good 3 hours just talking to people and drinking, and THAT is the coolest place I have ever enjoyed a beer.
If Paul “Bear” Vasquez (a.k.a The Double Rainbow Guy) came to visit Miami and you needed to show him around, what 3 spots would you take him to?
Jesse: He seems like a guy who appreciates beauty, so I would definitely start in Wynwood and walk him around to my favorite murals. Once we wiped away the tears from all the double-y beauty and tried to figure out what it all meant, we’d have to go to the Venetian Causeway so he could see the skyscrapers, all the way…across the sky. Finally, we’d grab a cold six pack and head to the beach for dusk, because after an intense day of staring at stuff, what better way to unwind than to put your toes in the sand, listen to the ocean, and enjoy a beer with a new friend?