American Craft Beer Week 2018: 10 Great Local Craft Breweries in Tampa Bay

It’s American Craft Beer Week 2018. There are 6,000 breweries in the U.S.A. and 98% are small and independent craft brewers. Small and independent brewers also grew by 6% in 2016.

Tampa Bay has an awesome and growing craft beer scene with over 60 breweries. Here are 10 places that I recommend in the bay area.

Note: Just because I didn’t put a place on the list that doesn’t mean it isn’t great, I haven’t been to every brewery in town yet or tried everyone’s beer – these are some of my favorites though.

1. Arkane Aleworks: When I went to the Brewer’s Ball I fell in love with Arkane’s Gimme Swelter and Mezcal Blackbird. I finally visited the actually brewery this past week and loved almost everything I tried. The brewery isn’t too big, but can still handle some parties. Sour beer is my current favorite type and they have plenty of it. The Wry Ask Rye was excellent during my last visit. 2480 E Bay Dr #23, Largo, FL 33771. (727) 270-7117. http://www.arkanebeer.com/tap-list/

2. Coppertail Brewing Co.: Living in Brandon has always made Coppertail a convenient drive for me. The facility is beautiful and historic. True to its roots in Ybor. Coppertail always had a wide-range of beers and also great food as well from Stein & Vine. The Slam Piece Berliner Weissbier is my current favorite there but another fave is The BOMP. I love hanging out with a friend and chatting on the second floor of the brewery. 2601 E. 2nd Ave., Tampa, FL 33605. (813) 247-1500. http://coppertailbrewing.com/

3. Hidden Springs Ale Works: I randomly wandered into Hidden Springs one day during a Commune & Co. pop-up long before Tampa Heights was even a thing, but Hidden Springs has grown beautifully. I continue to be impressed with their new beers popping and especially their new cans. The bartenders are usually chill and they have their own parking lot, which is a luxury in Tampa Heights. The last great beer I had from them was their Riot Juice – a Berliner Weisse. 1631 N Franklin St, Tampa, FL 33602. (813) 226-2739. http://hiddenspringsaleworks.com/

4. Crooked Thumb Brewery: If I find myself over near Safety Harbor, Crooked Thumb has a beautiful tasting room and nice outdoor space, occasionally they also have food trucks there serving food. Their Grapefruit Gose is a solid beer. Their beers can get a little darker for those who like that as well. 3821, 555 10th Ave S, Safety Harbor, FL 34695. (727) 724-5953. http://crookedthumbbrew.com/

5. Leaven Brewing: Leaven Brewing has a special place in my heart as the first brewery in Riverview. They have so much passion and potential, I truly believe they will be one of the top breweries of the future. The owners and staff have also been really great to talk to. They are still growing so the tap list is a little limited, but the Is Good Kölsch is great. Show them love if you come out to the east side of town. 11238 Boyette Rd, Riverview, FL 33569. (813) 677-7023. https://www.leavenbrewing.com/

6. 81Bay Brewing Company: 81Bay is one of the few breweries that I haven’t been to that I can confidently recommend. I constantly see them out at events and participating in the community and their beer is excellent. They can take a beer type I wouldn’t normally drink and make me a fan. Their brewers and employees are also super cool and I have enjoyed meeting them on various occasions. I do plan to eventually make it to Gandy to visit them in the not too distant future, but either way that shouldn’t stop you! Their beer list is constantly rotating so check their website for more. 4465 W Gandy Blvd #600, Tampa, FL 33611. (813) 837-2739. http://81baybrewco.com/

7. Cycle Brewing: I visited Cycle Brewing one First Friday in Downtown St. Pete for a drink and became a fan. Their beers tend to be darker, but I like the vibe there. It captures that feeling of St. Petersburg, kinda grungy – but filled with soul. I like the Hazelnut Cream + Sugar coffee porter. It’s black like my soul. 534 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. (727) 320-7954.

8. Dunedin Brewing: One wild trip around Dunedin ended at Dunedin Brewing. The brewery is quaint. The staff kinda reminded me of being at a dive bar and the beer and food were both great (pro-tip: get the cheese curds). I liked the Apricot Peach Fruit Wheat Beer the most out of my flight. 937 Douglas Ave, Dunedin, FL 34698. (727) 736-0606. http://www.dunedinbrewery.com/

9. Brew Bus Brewing: I had tried Brew Bus beers and the accompanying Florida Ave. Brewing beers for years, but hadn’t made it over to the tasting room and brewery until a few weeks ago and I have been missing out. Besides the Brew Bus which can shuttle you around the city to different breweries (a place for a place with tight parking like Tampa), Brew Bus also has an Executive Chef and quite an extensive beer menu.

I liked both the Brew Bus beers and the sours that are heavily present on the Florida Ave. Brewing list. The Cucumber Berliner Weisse is completely refreshing in this sticky Florida weather. There is plenty to see at Brew Bus and they are certainly growing in the Seminole Heights area. 4101 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, FL 33603. (813) 990-7310. https://www.brewbususa.com/

10. Cigar City Brewing: You can’t really write a craft beer list in Tampa and exclude Cigar City. The biggest player in town that helped start a movement here in Tampa. Cigar City regularly offers tours that I highly recommend and all their events that I have attended have been great experiences. My favorite beer at Cigar City is the Florida Cracker Ale and the Guava Grove (I actually love everything guava..being a Hispanic).

Cigar City has great beer and a great brand and has helped to make Tampa a great place for beer that we can all enjoy. It’s also located minutes from the Tampa International Airport, making it convenient for any traveler to stop at. 3924 W Spruce St, Tampa, FL 33607. (813) 348-6363. http://cigarcitybrewing.com

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Hooch and Hive music-centric bar opens Thursday in West Riverfront Tampa

Last weekend the City of Tampa opened a new 25-acre park called Julian B. Lane Park to the public. The park has been called the “Central Park of Tampa Bay” and features plenty of green space, tennis courts, a soccer field, playground, boathouse, and more.

Just days later, Hooch and Hive bar and restaurant is opening its doors around the corner from Julian B. Lane Park on Thursday, May 17th, 2018 from 7PM-3AM to the public at 1001 West Cass Street.

The owners background includes Flytrap, Czar, Zoya, Vagabond Gita and Monday Night Moonlight Market.

“Hooch and Hive is a music-centric bar, with a heavy local art-influence, good AF sound system, inspired menus, and a deep desire to have a huge impact on Tampa’s creative scene. By focusing on the passions of the city’s fringe sub-cultures, Hooch offers an uncommon experience only found outside the mainstream”.

The bar sounds like the perfect place to launch art and culture in the new development on the west side of the Tampa Riverwalk called West Riverfront.

Chef Adam Polisei from Ocean Prime is featuring “dry-aged beef sliders, pulled-duck confit & waffles, and a metric-ton of vegetarian dishes”. Items will be “served in eco-friendly paper boats and priced between $3 and $4”. Jamison B Breadhouse Bakes will be used for the sliders and local products will be used when possible according to the owners.

Lunch will be available and there will be FREE Wi-Fi for workers and students as well as a full coffee bar.

Local Mixologist, Kamran Mir, developed the bar menu and will feature “pre-prohibition cocktails and modern classics, as well as a healthy dose of original boozy creations”. Local craft beer will be on the menu in addition to some “brown-bag staples” such as PBR and Miller High Life.

Exciting developments in Tampa these days.

Event Name: Hooch and Hive Grand Opening

Date & Time: Thursday, May 17th, 2018 from 7PM to 3AM

Address: 1001 West Cass St. Tampa, Florida

Phone Number: (813) 251-1234

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/hoochandhive/

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/hoochandhive/

Website: http://hoochandhive.com/

Tampa Bay Guide: Where to Eat, Drink, and Play

Wondering where to go in Tampa Bay? I have you covered. This guide is meant to be a way for you to navigate Tampa Bay and find great places to eat, drink, and play.

Tampa is filled with plenty of different types of businesses – but many of them are hard to find without someone telling you first.

The guide will be separated by neighborhood for travel purposes. Tampa Bay consists of Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and sometimes Sarasota is thrown in. I’ll leave Sarasota for another guide. Each major city is about 30-45 minutes away from the other depending on traffic so plan accordingly.

I live in Tampa so the majority of my recommendations will be based there. I will expand the list as I try new places. Also – the list is a work in progress.

Tampa

  • Apollo Beach
    • Circle’s Waterfront Dining
    • Marian’s Sub Shop
  •  Brandon/Riverview
    • Allegria Italiana
    • Bullfrog Creek Brewing Company
    • Chicago’s Best Burger
    • First Choice BBQ
    • La Villa River Hills.
    • Leaven Brewing Company
    • Revolution Ice Cream
    • Sarge’s Smokehouse BBQ (Food Truck)
  • Carrollwood
    • Bearss Sandwich Shop
    • Simply Pho & Grill
  • Downtown Tampa
    • Eat
      • Caffeine Roasters
      • Columbia Cafe
      • Eddie & Sam’s NY Style Pizza
      • Toma Spain Bar
    • Drink
      • Anise Global Gastrobar
      • Franklin Manor
      • Hotel Bar
      • The Gin Joint
    • Do
      • Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park
      • Pirate Water Taxi
      • Tampa Bay History Center
      • Tampa Museum of Art
      • Tampa Theatre
  • Gandy
    • 81 Bay Brewing Co.
  • New Tampa
    • Cafe Ole
    • Ciccio Cali
    • Full Circle Pizza
    • Oakley’s Grille
  • North Hyde Park
    • The Lab Coffee
    • Raw Smoothie Co.
  • Seminole Heights
    • Brew Bus Brewing
    • The Independent
    • The Refinery
    • Revolution Ice Cream
    • Spaddy’s Coffee Co.
    • Sulphur Springs Sandwich Shop
  • South Tampa
    • Bella’s Italian Cafe
    • The Blind Tiger Cafe – SOHO
    • Caffeine Roasters
    • Ciro’s Speakeasy & Supper Club
    • Cru Cellars
    • Datz
    • Japanese Kitchen Dosunco
    • Noble Rice
    • Oxford Exchange
    • Restaurant BT
    • Roux Tampa
    • Sushi Ninja
  • Tampa Heights
    • Armature Works
    • Foundation Coffee Co.
    • Hidden Springs Ale Works
  • Town N’ Country
    • Cuenelli’s Peruvian Style Rotisserie Chicken
    • Filipiana Philippine Cafe
    • Saigon Deli
    • Thinh An Kitchen & Tofu
    • Tostones Inc.
  • University
    • Felicitous
    • Kaleisia Tea Lounge
    • Mel’s Hot Dogs
    • Mr. Dunderbak’s
    • Prost
    • U Poke Spot
    • Wood Fired Pizza
  • West Tampa
    • Petit Piquant
    • Pupuseria Centroamericana
    • West Tampa Sandwich Shop
  • WestShore
    • Cigar City Brewing
    • Frankie’s Lobstah Trap
    • The Floridian
  • Ybor City
    • Eat
      • Al’s Finger Licking Good BBQ
      • Bernini
      • The Bunker
      • Due Amici
      • El Puerto Restaurant & Grill
      • James Joyce Irish Pub
    • Drink
      • The Brass Tap
      • The Bricks of Ybor
      • Cigar City Cider & Meadery
      • Coppertail Brewing Company
      • TBBC

St. Petersburg

  • Downtown St. Pete
    • Buya Ramen
    • Cassis Bakery
    • Cycle Brewing
    • FarmTable Cucina
    • Ichicoro ANE
    • The Lemongrass Sushi Thai Tapas
    • Mandarin Hyde
    • Overflow Brewing Company
  • Madeira Beach
    • Mad Beach Craft Brewing Company

Clearwater

  • Clearwater Beach
    • Badfins Food + Brew
    • Caretta on the Gulf
  • Downtown Clearwater
    • La Fondita de Leo
  • Largo
    • Arkane Aleworks
  • Oldsmar
    • Faceless Samurai
  • Dunedin
    • Dunedin Brewery
  • Palm Harbor
    • Bunga Raya Malaysian Cuisine & Sushi Bar
    • Coolside Gelato Bar
    • Fireside Pizza Cafe
  • Safety Harbor
    • The Sandwich on Main

Food Trucks:

  • Craving Donuts
  • Empamama’s
  • I Wanna Wok
  • Soul Food Street Kitchen
  • The Twisted Iron
  • Vanchetta Food Truck
  • Wakamole Truly Mexican

Carlos Eats San Francisco Guide – Where to eat, drink, and play

Visiting San Francisco? I was born there and have a history with the city. I’ve been visiting frequently since 2014 and have noticed a major shift in the city as Silicon Valley has pushed into the Bay Area.

There are great quality food destinations to visit, but it takes more work than before to find quality businesses so I thought I would share some of my favorites with you.

Hopefully this guide helps you when you are in San Francisco. I separated the businesses by neighborhood because San Francisco is really broken up by neighborhoods and there is an obvious change between each one.

I believe San Francisco is one of the most beautiful cities on Earth and I hope you enjoy it.

  • Bernal Heights
    • Barebottle Brewing Co.
    • Bolompie Cafe No 3
    • Mitchell’s Ice Cream
  • Castro
    • I’a Poke’
    • Kitchen Story
  •  Chinatown
    • Boba Guys
  • Dogpatch
    • Harmonic Brewing
    • Triple Voodoo Brewery
  • Excelsior
    • Los Planes de Renderos Pupuseria
  • Financial District (FiDi)
    • 111 Minna
    • Cafe Madeleine
    • Tropisueno SF
    • Workshop Cafe
  • Fisherman’s Wharf
    • Alioto’s:
    • Surisan
  • Hayes Valley
    • Smuggler’s Cove
    • Whitechapel
  • Inner Sunset
    • Japanese Tea Garden
    • The Taco Shop at Underdog’s
  • Japantown
    • Kuchi Tsuru
  • Marina
    • The Brick Yard
  • Mission District
    • El Farolito
  • Outer Richmond
    • Ton Kiang
  • Russian Hill
    • Buster’s Cheesesteak
  • SoMa
    • Trademark & Copyright

Pop-Ups:

  • Eats By E

Food Trucks:

  • Senor Sisig

Suburbs & Surrounding Cities:

  • Daly City
    • Fil-Am Cuisine 2
  • Napa Valley
    • Back Room Wines
  • Oakland
    • Oriental B.B.Q. Chicken Town
  • San Mateo
    • Nini’s

Sponsored: National Dance Like a Chicken Day this Monday 5/14 at Pollo Tropical

Full disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Pollo Tropical. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the sponsor.

 

FREE FOOD ALERT! Celebrate National ‘Dance Like a Chicken Day’ on Monday, May 14th at Pollo Tropical®.

Fun fact: The Chicken Dance was my favorite Dance as a kid. I remember auditioning to perform it in elementary school.

pollotropical

“The unique restaurant brand, famous for its no-antibiotics-ever chicken that’s citrus-marinated for 24 hours, is offering anyone that does the “Chicken Dance” at Pollo Tropical between 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Monday, May 14 a FREE 1/4 Chicken with Rice & Beans meal!

Simply by dancing their juiciest chicken rendition in homage to the brand’s famous marinade, guests can earn a free Pollo Tropical® 1/4 Chicken with Rice & Beans!

The offer is valid on Monday, May 14 from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., only in the dining room (not valid in the drive-thru).

This offer also isn’t valid in combination with any other offers or promotions.”

National Dance Like a Chicken Day is an annual holiday, listed on the National Day Calendar and taking place every year on the same day – May 14th.

4th Annual Peach Festival this Saturday at Keel & Curley

Full disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Keel & Curley Winery located in Plant City. I have been compensated for my time.

This Saturday, May 12th is the 4th Annual Peach Festival at Keel & Curley Winery in Plant City located at 5210 Thonotosassa Road.

The event has FREE admission. It event will run from 8AM-6PM and feature U-Pick Peaches & Blueberries, Food & Craft Vendors, Peach Cider, Peach Wine and Blueberry Wine Bottle Specials for $10, Live Music, and more.

Some of the vendors include:

  • Stanford’s Jerky
  • Ben’s Soft Pretzels
  • Jessi’s Flaming Fruit Sauce
  • Lobster Maine-iacs
  • Alessi Bakery
  • Cotton Kraze
  • Aunt Neci’s
  • The Tea Jug
  • The Best Thai Food
  • & More

Parking costs $5.

Facebook RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/events/552397481827222/

 

SPONSORED: Blinker app innovates car sales, connects buyers and sellers directly

Full disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Blinker. I have been compensated for my time. All opinions expressed are my own and do not reflect Blinker. 

Are you in the market to buy or sell a car? Blinker is an app that can help you buy, sell, and search for cars. The app just launched in Florida and buyers are saving an average of $3,000 per transaction.

Most Americans despise shopping for cars. In fact, I was recently in the car market and it was very unpleasant overall dealing with car sales reps and managers trying to take you for a ride for every dollar bill. The worst is when the sales rep try to rush you into a major purchase decision.

Blinker aims to solve these issues by cutting out the middleman and directly connecting buyers and sellers in the car market.

Blinker has handled the car sales transactions for over $57 million in their first 12 months of operations.

The app introduces financing options for buyers and sellers to help them avoid having to use a dealership to cut the deal.

Buying and selling cars with Blinker is supported in Colorado, Texas, California, and Florida right now.

Refinancing is supported in Colorado, Texas, California, Florida, and Georgia.

Blinker does not charge a fee to sell or buy your car. It is FREE to sell and buy your car with Blinker.

Click to download Blinker for iOS or Android: http://goo.gl/7Nbmgv

For a limited time, when you download Blinker, enter my code CARLOSEATS and list your car for sale, you’ll earn $200 when it sells.

Here are some things sellers will need to sell:

  • Proof of ownership
  • Bank account to link
  • Expectations of scheduling a test drive
  • Expectations to prepare paperwork for sale

Sellers will be paid directly to their bank account.

Buyers must be pre-approved for credit before they can make negotiations with sellers. Blinker runs a soft credit check to see if a buyer can be approved for a loan. Blinker is a state-approved lender for transactions as well through their finance arm. The seller is paid in-full and the buyer makes payments to Blinker, if financing is needed.

Blinker verifies the identities of both buyers and sellers, provides complimentary CARFAX documents, and has a 17-point fraud check as well.

There are plenty of reasons to check out Blinker today.

Download Blinker for iOS or Android: http://goo.gl/7Nbmgv

Cinco de Mayo: The Tacos and Tequila Party + Social at The Ritz Ybor

Looking for some plans for Cinco de Mayo in Tampa? The Ritz Ybor is hosting a Tacos and Tequila Party + Social on Saturday, May 5th, 2018. Tickets range from $10 to $45 per person.

Taste your way through ten street taco stations & Tequila Cazadores stations. Sip on signature margaritas and cerverzas. Enjoy a 93.3 FLZ Live Broadcast w/ Rose from The KANE Show.

General Admission includes one tasting at any taco & tequila station. Foodie Admission includes three tastings at any taco & tequila station. Super Foodie Admission includes tastings at all ten taco & tequila stations.

Additional taco & tequila tasting tickets will be available for purchase at the event.

This event is for ages 21+ only. Please drink and drive responsibly.

Event name: The Tacos and Tequila Party + Social

Venue: The Ritz Ybor

Address: 1503 East 7th Avenue, Tampa, FL 33605

Date & Time: Saturday, May 5th, 2018, 7PM-10PM

Cost: $10-$45

Buy tickets: http://tacostequilatampa2018.eventbrite.com/

Parking: The Centro Ybor parking garage is conveniently located directly behind The RITZ Ybor, while a 717 Parking Lot is conveniently located across the 15th Street from the venue. The Broadway parking lot is located diagonally from The RITZ Ybor with its entrance on 8th Avenue between 14th & 15th.

11th Annual Blueberry Festival wraps up this weekend

Full disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Keel & Curley Winery in Plant City. I have been compensated for my work. Any opinions expressed are my own and do not reflect Keel & Curley Winery.

Keel & Curley Winery’s 11th Annual Blueberry Festival will wrap up this weekend on Saturday, April 21st and Sunday, April 22nd. Last weekend drew thousands to the blueberry farm in Plant City.

Families and friends spent the day out on the farm picking blueberries and drinking blueberry wine and beer as well as food from trucks and vendors. Vendors were selling blueberry butter, blueberry jam, blueberry hot sauce, blueberry grilled cheese sandwiches…to name a few.

Keel & Curley is Florida’s second largest winery and makes over 20,000 case of wine a year. It is essentially Florida’s wine country located just over Interstate 4 on Exit 17 near Dinosaur World.

Joey Fatone from *NSYNC showed up last Saturday at the event and wowed visitors as he cooked up some hot dogs and Brooklyn food aboard his food truck Fat One’s Hot Dogs and Italian Ice. He was friendly and took plenty of pictures with fans and guests alike. The food truck will be back this weekend to wrap up the festival.

Guests can enjoy:

  • FREE ADMISSION
  • U-Pick Blueberries (8AM-4PM)
  • Live Music
  • $10 Blueberry Wine
  • Two Henry’s Brewing Co. Blueberry Beer & Cider
  • Limited-Edition Strawberry Shortcake Wine
  • Food & Craft Vendors
  • Kids’ Activities
  • & more

Event Name: 11th Annual Blueberry Festival

Venue: Keel & Curley Winery

Address: 5210 Thonotosassa Rd., Plant City, FL 33565

Dates & Time: Saturday, April 21st, 8AM-6PM, Sunday, April 22nd, 8AM-4PM

Ages: All ages welcome

Cost: FREE to attend, $10 parking

Facebook RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/events/896744867165660/

Leaven Brewing Co. opening March 30th in Riverview

Riverview’s first brewery, Leaven Brewing Co., will have its Grand Opening on Friday, March 30th, 2018. The project has been years in the making and represents the next step for the Brandon/Riverview area.

Participants can enjoy a ribbon cutting from 5PM-6PM and local food trucks from 6PM-9PM. CLE Eats, Up North Doggs, and The Revolution Ice Cream Co. will be serving up the good eats. Live music can be enjoyed starting at 7:30PM by BABYL.

The owners have vigilantly updated their Instagram and social media channels to keep the community updated as they prepared for their journey and it is finally going to pay off with the opening.

Their history with craft beer goes back to Fort Myers Brewing Co. where head brewer and owner KJ Lynch had his start. KJ was originally a photographer for a media event and then started volunteering at the brewery until he was eventually hired full-time and worked his way up to head brewer.

He then started working at Brew Hub in Lakeland where he brewed for 17 different breweries and brewed up to 98,000 barrels of beer in his final year working there before KJ and his wife Jillian decided to open their own brewery: Leaven Brewing Co. in Riverview.

The two are big craft beer supporters and were married at Coppertail Brewing Co. in Ybor City.

Riverview reminds the couple of suburban Fort Myers and helped them to decide on their location with some luck from a friend.

They plan to book live music on the weekends and have plenty of fun planned for the residents of Riverview and visitors coming in for some local craft beer.

The craft brewery will be located at 11238 Boyette Road Riverview, FL 33569 just off US 301.

Don’t miss it.

Event name: Grand Opening / Ribbon Cutting

Neighborhood: Riverview

Venue: Leaven Brewing Co.

Address: 11238 Boyette Rd., Riverview, FL 33569

Date & Time: Friday, March 30th, 2018, 5PM-10PM

Phone Number: (813) 677-7023

Facebook RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/events/1309507465821876/