Yes, I'm talking about a gas station. Yes, I'm talking about the gas station in a beer blog. Yes, the gas station sells beer you can't find in most other stores and has 16 tap lines for growler fills. Lastly, yes, they have a paleo section and make healthy and delicious juices, smoothies, sandwiches, and bowls for you to eat at their counter or take away. Can you get over the fact that we're talking about a gas station yet?
This place really is something. Its clean, organized, inviting, and most of all they carry some seriously good beer in bottles and on tap for growlers! Run by Andrew Mendez, the Mendez Fuel beer section is shockingly good, considering they carry beers from Cantillon (for an hour at a time), Mikkeller, Cigar City Brewing, Prairie Ales, Pretty Things, and locals like Funky Buddha and Wynwood Brewing on tap - all in a, yes, that's right, a gas station. What's best is that they have really reasonable prices and Andrew loves answering your questions about their selection and turning your attention to new things.
The reasonable prices, access to breweries you normally don't see, and the ability to get special release beer in growlers has business going strong for the Mendez brothers. Yet, although of course he understands he has a business to build, and he is doing a good job of getting it to grow, Andrew isn't completely focused on the money. He says what he likes best about the growth he's seen in the business is the new people he gets to meet and share his passion with and the ability to turn people on to new ideas and tastes they may never have tried before. Usually when you hear somebody say that you think: "yea sure, I believe that...", but with Andrew for some reason you seem to believe it wholeheartedly. It just makes you want to support them and help them push the craft beer scene in South Florida forward.
Michael Mendez, older brother to Andrew and owner of Mendez Fuel, is more proud of the health food and juice options available at Mendez, and trust me after having a few different things, I have a feeling I'll be grabbing my lunches from Mendez Fuel more often. Try the smoothies for a snack or meal replacement. Grab a bowl or a sandwich if you're more hungry. It's only fitting that they serve healthy food items alongside the beer. Hey if you eat something healthy, you can drink one more beer, right?!
Here's the valuable nugget of this story: we need to support local businesses like Mendez Fuel, who are working hard to get us better quality products (especially when it comes to beer), hiring local, and investing in the local economy! Go say hi to Andrew and let him know Craft Commander sent you! You might even consider filling your car with gas while you're there.
Mendez fuel is located at: 3201 Coral Way, Miami, FL