Prison Pals Wins Top Spot at World Beer Cup Competition

Prison Pals Brewing Company brewmaster Diego Setti doesn't consider himself a "hop head" — a person who enjoys drinking, or even brewing, hop-forward beers like India Pale Ales.

Prison Pals Wins Top Spot at World Beer Cup Competition
Food & Drink

The head brewer at the two-year-old Doral-based brewery enjoys brewing lagers and traditional beer styles, the type of beers that Prison Pals has built its core lineup around.

This makes the brewer's recent achievement of earning a bronze medal in one of the world's most challenging craft beer competitions for one of its most competitive categories — the "hazy IPA" — even more impressive.

"I still can't believe it," Setti tells New Times. "Having just reached our two-year anniversary, it's quite amazing. Winning a medal at the World Beer Cup is a significant achievement."

Earlier this month, Prison Pals received third place in the 2023 World Beer Cup, often referred to as "the Olympics of beer," for its "Nelson Hazy IPA." Held annually in conjunction with the Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America, it stands as one of the world's largest competitions in the craft beer industry.

First brewed in July 2021, Nelson was the second hazy IPA Setti brewed for Prison Pals after relocating to the U.S. to join the brewery's opening team.  Setti says he spent months researching various methods for creating his rendition of the India Pale Ale known for its opaque "hazy" body and smooth hop finish, brewing the now seasonal "Hop Abduction," which used Galaxy hops.

"When the hops became hard to find, we changed them. We knew we had a diamond — we just needed to keep polishing it," he adds.

The award-winning Nelson Hazy IPA is made using a mix of Citra cryo and Nelson Sauvin hops that lend flavor without a harsh hop bitterness thanks to a double dry hop finish, explains Setti. With seven pounds of hops per barrel, the beer is built on a generous grain build of barley, oats, and wheat that pours a cloudy straw yellow and offers a smooth, cloudy mouthfeel.

Prison Pals was founded in 2019 by Argentinian-born Juan Pipkin and his friends, including operations director Matias Moroni, general manager Gabriel Sarasqueta, and Setti as head brewer. In its few years in business, the brewery has become known for both its experimental and traditional approach to beer making.

Since the World Beer Cup win, Setti notes a growing interest in Prison Pals' IPA lineup, which includes the double IPA version of Nelson dubbed "Double Nelson," the East Coast-style "Queen" IPA, and the seasonal "Mega Hazy."

The brewery also offers a year-round flagship lineup that includes true-to-style lagers, an American pale ale, a blonde ale, and a "smoothie series" of fruit-infused sour ales.

For those interested in sampling one of the world's best beers, the Nelson Hazy IPA is available year-round at both Prison Pal taprooms in Doral and Oakland Park. The beer is sold on draft for $8 a pint and $25 for a four pack of 16-ounce cans.