A few blocks beyond South Beach’s gaudily stylish trendiness lies inconspicuous closet-sized bar, THE ABBEY. A tremendous find, this cramped hole-in-the-wall has exclusive agreement with Melbourne-based Indian River Brewery to craft Raymond Rigazio’s excellent exclusive beers that compete favorably with 20-plus microbrews-imports available on tap. Two stain-glass Abbey mural insignias at right side bar oppose five pews filled with cigarette-smoking college age drinkers.

My wife quaffed Lost Coast Apricot Wheat as I sampled three house beers at cozy coffin corner near glass frontage during crowded Friday night, January ‘08. Superbly rounded Immaculate IPA placed intricate red-orange fruiting across resinous floral-hopped grapefruit swell and wintry evergreen scour. Brother Aaron’s Quadrupel propelled lush rosé, brandy, and sherry notes atop caramelized raisin-plum profundity. Equally fine, Father Theodore’s Imperial Stout brought black chocolate-y sweetness to dried red cherry radiance overriding tertiary port, molasses, toffee, anise, liqueur, and raisin illusions.

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