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

Advertisements

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/

 

TBBW: Brewery Battle of the Bands – 3/7

Coppertail BrewingTampa Bay Brewing Company81Bay Brewing Co.Dunedin Brewery, and Cigar City Brewing will go head to head in a Brewery Battle of the Bands at Crowbar Ybor (1812 N. 17th St., Ybor City, FL 33605) on Wednesday, March 7th, 2018 from 7PM to 1AM for Tampa Bay Beer Week 2018!

Judges include John Palumbo of Replay Guitar ExchangeJosh Jensen from 98ROCK, Skip Sampson from 1603 Tattoo Collective, and Ray Roa from Creative Loafing Tampa!

$5 cover.

All proceeds from this event benefit Instruments Of Change, a charity that provides instruments to underprivileged youth in the Tampa Bay Area.

Replay Guitar Exchange is supplying prizes for winners and $1000 donation to Instruments Of Change.

Brewer’s Ball 2018 Winners + Recap

The Brewer’s Ball 2018 presented by Best Florida Beer was quite the beer affair. The weather that day was perfect and there were a number of incredible entries that day at the event by breweries both near and far.

I have to say that my favorite beers that day came from Arkane Aleworks. I was a big fan of Gimme Swelter Mango Habanero Florida Weisse and Mezkin Blackbird Blackberry Sage Gose.

Here are the winners in different categories at the event:

Best Brewpub In Florida: Big Blue Brewing, Cape Coral, FL

Best Cider/Mead In Florida: Can’t You Hear The Thunder, Garagiste Meadery, Tampa, FL

Best Small Brewery In Florida: Arkane Aleworks, Largo, FL

Best Large Brewery In Florida: Infinite Ale Works, Ocala, FL

Second Runner Up Best Small Batch Beer In Florida: Yarmouth, Arkane Aleworks, Largo, FL

Runner Up Best Small Batch Beer In Florida: The Passionate Mango, Wicked Barley Brewing Company, Jacksonville, FL

Best Small Batch Beer In Florida: (Presented by Country Malt Group & Brewcraft USA) Chocolate Stout, Fort Myers Brewing Company, Fort Myers, FL

Second Runner Up Best Beer In Florida: Guayabera, Cigar City Brewing, Tampa, FL

Runner Up Best Beer In Florida: West Floridian, Infinite Ale Works, Ocala FL

Best Beer In Florida: (presented by Brewer’s Supply Group) Lightest Thing Ya Got, Big Blue Brewing, Cape Coral, FL

Full competition results page: http://bestfloridabeer.org/2018-medal-winners/

TBBW Beer Dinner at The Restorative (Dunedin) – 3/10

Local gourmet and fine-dining restaurant, The Restorative, will have their first craft beer during Tampa Bay Beer Week 2018 with Dunedin Brewery on Saturday, March 10th, 2018.

Dunedin Brewing is the oldest microbrewery in Florida. Tickets are $100 per person and are now on-sale. The Restorative won the Critic’s Choice for Creative Loafing Best of the Bay in 2017.

Address: 420 Patricia Avenue Dunedin, FL 34698

Email restorativerestaurant@gmail.com to purchase your tickets today.

Here is the menu:

Tampa Bay Beer Week 2018 Guide

Tampa Bay Beer Week 2018 is going to be one for the books. There are tons of events lined up to enjoy for the celebration of Tampa’s growing craft beer scene.

Per the website “The inaugural Tampa Bay Beer Week was established in 2012, and has since hosted thousands of events ranging from large-scale festivals to beer tastings, beer dinners and more”.

“The success of TBBW has been a major factor in the continuing growth of the Tampa Bay area craft beer community. Tampa Bay Beer Week begins on the first Saturday of March and ends 8 days later. It has become the premier Beer Week destination in the Southeast”.

beer-2166004_640

This is my guide to the events going on and my recommendations:

Visit them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TampaBayBeerWeek/

Review: Coppertail Brewing S & V Kitchen a great place to eat and drink

Full disclosure: I was invited to Coppertail Brewing for a complimentary menu tasting in exchange for my opinion of their menu. Opinions are my own and do not reflect Coppertail Brewing.

Coppertail Brewing located in Ybor City has been serving food from the Stein & Vine Kitchen (known as S & V Kitchen for some time now). I visited recently to give the menu a taste. What I found was plenty of great food that paired well with their beer. How about that?

The meal started off with the potstickers. Potstickers are one of the things that you’ll find on plenty of menus but are often ruined. Sometimes they are soggy or fried too much. These were perfect – and it went perfect with an assortment of beers ranging from sours to lighter beers. The dish is seasonal and rotates on and off the menu, but to me it was good enough to be a regular item.

Then came the Drunken Shrimp made with Coppertail Unholy Trippel. I was a little skeptical of this dish when I first saw it, but oh my god this was the best sauce ever. I wanted to put it on everything. This is simply the best menu item they have and I will definitely be ordering this one in the future. They could sell this sauce…it’s that good. Yum.

From this beer flight there was some German inspiration and some sours mixed in. The BOMP! was by far the winner and I just had to have a glass of that with my food. Coppertail always has an interesting mixture of beers on the menu, but that BOMP is something special.

HECK YES.

Back to the food.

Stein and Vine has always had an arrangement of spicy burgers. This one packs the heat and I’d recommend tuning down the sauce if you’re heat sensitive. However those who love the heat will love this Sriracha Bomb. Burgers and beer makes perfect sense especially with summer coming – I’m hoping to see some more burger ideas on the menu for that!

Then there was the Schnitzel Sandwich. My favorite of the two entrees I tried. Schnitzel and German beer is just perfect. The price was fair and the portion was great. I was dipping my tator tots in that drunken shrimp sauce because ITS DELICIOUS. I am a fan of this sandwich and I hope it eventually would make its way to the standard menu. German food and beer just makes me happy.

Overall, the options at S & V Kitchen are excellent for Coppertail Brewing. There is definitely some culinary genius going on here and I think the more they incorporate the beer in the process the better! I’m a fan and can’t wait to go back soon for more.

Restaurant Name: S & V Kitchen at Coppertail Brewing

Neighborhood: Ybor City

Address: 2601 East 2nd Ave, Tampa, FL 33605

Phone Number: (813) 247-1500

Website: http://coppertailbrewing.com/the-food-1/

Brewer’s Ball 2018 – 3/4

Craft beer fans should get excited for the 2018 Brewer’s Ball happening on Sunday, March 4th, 2018 from 12PM-5PM at Water Works Park (1710 North Highland Avenue, Tampa, FL 33602) during Tampa Bay Beer Week.

The event is presented by Best Florida Beer.

Guests can roam the park and drink and talk with the brewery owners and brewers during the event.

28423383_1361405377339324_4137610710543652281_o

The Brewer’s Ball festival is a celebration of the best beers in Florida. The top three beers in each category of beer, mead, and cider will be served up for your enjoyment. The Brewer’s Ball has been held for over 11 years celebrating the breweries, the brewers, and the beer they make right here in Florida.

This festival features over 100 of Florida’s Best Beers on tap. East Coast Catering will be on-site serving food from 12PM to 4PM.

Buy tickets: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/brewers-ball-2018-tickets-42330646102

The event is rain or shine. Lawnchairs are allowed. Service animals are permitted, but other canine friends should be left at home.

beer-2370783_1920

The purpose of Best Florida Beer is to aid in the development and promotion of both home and commercial Florida brewers, their craft beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts.

BFB accomplishes this by organizing fair and credible competitions that distinguish excellence in beer with qualified judges. In addition they increase awareness of commercial breweries through consumer education, marketing, events and competitions.

BFB strives to serve as a model of cooperation in its effort to unify the Florida brewing community by establishing partnerships and cultivating resources with like organizations statewide.

 

Florida Brewers Guild Craft Beer Festival – 03/03

This Saturday, March 3rd, 2018 is the Florida Brewers Guild Craft Beer Festival at Cotanchobee Park in Downtown Tampa (601 Old Water Street, Tampa, FL 33602) from 2PM-5PM. The event will kick off Tampa Bay Beer Week 2018.

Guests will be able to sample more than 200 beers from 60+ Florida craft breweries while raising money for the Florida Brewers Guild, the nonprofit trade association committed to preserving the rights of craft brewers throughout the state.

Tickets are now on-sale and range from $45 for General Admission to $65 for VIP. VIP ticket holders will get one-hour early access (1PM).

Buy tickets: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/fbg-2018-craft-beer-festival-presented-by-boston-capital-leasing-tickets-41214061367

Guests must be 21 years or older to attend. All attendees will receive unlimited samples and a commemorative tasting glass.

Participating breweries:

The event is sponsored by Boston Leasing Capital, Visit Tallahassee, Gas South, Willamette Valley Hops.