Busch Gardens Christmas Town happening now

Are you feeling the holiday spirit? It’s 67 degrees today in Tampa and I am already sipping on an eggnog latte. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay will bring back their annual Christmas Town series starting this Saturday, November 17th.

Christmas Town favorites will return including Santa’s House presented by Coca-Cola and Rudolph’s Winter Wonderland.

New for Christmas Town this year:

  • Brunch with Santa: Christmas-themed dining experience for the whole family. Some items on the menu include fried chicken and waffles with apple butter, butternut bisque with cinnamon cream, and chocolate cake with raspberry sauce. Santa Clause will make an appearance with a photo opportunity. Adults can enjoy unlimited mimosa and “Build-Your-Own-Bloody-Mary” upgrades. The event will occur on select dates at Serengeti Overlook Restaurant 
  • “Christmas Is…” holiday show at Dragon Fire Grill joining Christmas on Ice, Elmo’s Christmas Wish, the Holiday Hills Band, Carols of the Bells light show, and Christmas Town Sing-A-Long Train
  • Christmas Town Village will be located in a new location this year. Find it inside the Gwazi Pathway with holiday merchandise and treats for-sale. The Jingle Bell Express miniature train will be in town. Winter whiskey and wine tastings will be available for adults of age. 

My favorite part of Christmas Town is all the lights and of course the snow. The holiday train is also something I really enjoy. It really gets you in the mood for the holidays.

Here is the schedule for Christmas Town 2018:

 Find more information at ChristmasTown.com.

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Guide: Don’t miss these Election 2018 voting discounts

Early voting starts in Hillsborough County and Pinellas County on Monday, October 22nd and will go until Election Day 2018 on Tuesday, November 6th.

This Election Day is important with seats such as the race for Governor, House of Representatives, and Senate on the line as well as plenty of amendments and tax proposals.

Learn more about voting in Hillsborough County: http://www.votehillsborough.org/

Learn more about voting in Pinellas County: http://www.votepinellas.com/

Uber and Lyft are providing FREE rides to the polls on Election Day. No excuses.

Some great local businesses will offering perks to voters who show up with their “I Voted” stickers during early voting through Election Day. 

Here is a list of participating local businesses with discounts I rounded up:

  1. Ginger Beard Coffee – 10% OFF with “I Voted” sticker. 1208 E Kennedy Blvd #112, Tampa, FL 33606
  2. Ybor City Wine Bar – One FREE glass of select wine or bubbles. 
    1600 E 7th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605
  3. Rooster & the Till – Show your “I Voted” sticker and enjoy at 15-percent ‘Neighborhood Love’ discount. 6500 N. Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604
  4. Nebraska Mini Mart – Show your “I Voted” sticker and enjoy at 15-percent ‘Neighborhood Love’ discount. 4815 N. Nebraska Ave., Tampa, FL 33603
  5. Bullfrog Creek Brewing Co. – $1 OFF your craft beer.  3632 Lithia Pinecrest Rd, Valrico, FL 33596
  6. The Refinery – 10% OFF per person with “I Voted” sticker. 
    5910 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604
  7. Surf & Turf Cafe – FREE side of fries when you order a sandwich or salad bowl from the cafe with “I Voted” sticker. 101 N Franklin St., Tampa, FL 33602
  8. Angry Chair Brewing – BOGO beer with “I Voted” sticker. 
    6401 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604
  9. The Lab Coffee Tampa – $1 OFF any espresso beverage with “I Voted” sticker. 1703 W State St, Tampa, FL 33606
  10. Empamamas (Armature Works) – 10% OFF your order with “I Voted” sticker. 1910 N. Ola Ave., Tampa, FL 33602
  11. Mekenita Cantina – 10% OFF your entire order with “I Voted” sticker. 
    6707 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, FL 33604
  12. Independent Bar and Cafe, Tampa – 15% OFF with “I Voted” sticker. 
    5016 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33603
  13. Sulphur Springs Sandwich Shop – 10% OFF to whoever is wearing their “I Voted” sticker. 9000 N. Florida Ave. A, Tampa, FL 33604
  14. Jet City Espresso Seminole Heights – 10% discount off of all coffee/tea drinks with sticker.6601, 5803 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604
  15. Leaven Brewing – 10% OFF with “I Voted” sticker. 
    11238 Boyette Rd., Riverview, FL 33569
  16. Heights Pizza – 10% OFF to anyone who presents the “I Voted” sticker on pickup or delivery. 7504 N. Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604
  17. Snobachi – Buy 1, Get One 50% OFF from Tuesday to Thursday with “I Voted” sticker until Election Day. 2206 E. 7th Ave., Tampa, FL 33605, Tampa, FL 33605
  18. Cigar City Brewing – 10% OFF for “I Voted” Sticker on Election Day 2018 (Nov. 6). 3924 W. Spruce St., Tampa, FL 33607
  19. Brew Bus Brewing – FREE house beer to people with “I Voted” sticker (Election Day only). 
    4101 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33603
  20. Hemingway’s (Armature Works) – 15% OFF with your voting sticker from now until Election Day! 1910 N Ola Ave, Tampa, FL 33602
  21. Coppertail Brewing Co. – Come with your “I VOTED” sticker and get a FREE beer. We are honoring this during early voting through Election Day (one per person on the day you voted please). 2601 E. 2nd Ave., Tampa, FL 33605

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

SPONSORED: Valentine’s Day Brunch at Keel & Curley Winery – 2/11

Full disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Keel & Curley Winery. I have been compensated for this post.

Keel & Curley, Florida’s second largest winery, will celebrate Valentine’s Day early on Sunday, February 11th, 2018 from 11AM-3PM in a formal brunch. Reservations are required.

The Plant City winery, farm, and home to Two Henry’s Brewing Co. will offer a formal brunch atmosphere with live music and choices including Prime Rib, Shrimp Scampi, and Cordon Bleu as entrees. Sides include tossed salad, a roasted vegetable medley, baked potato, and rolls.

Brunch will include one bottle of wine per couple and may be substituted for 4 drink tickets for wine, beer, or cider. Individuals receive 2 drink tickets for wine, beer, or cider.

Tickets are now on-sale and cost $85 for couples and $45 for individuals.

To purchase tickets visit http://keelandcurleywinery.com/valentines-day-brunch-winery/ or call (813) 752-9100.

Keel & Curley Winery is located at 5210 Thonotosassa Road in Plant City located minutes off I-4 Exit 17 next to Dinosaur World. It is open 7 days a week from 11AM-9PM Sunday to Thursday and 10AM-11PM on Fridays and Saturdays.

Valentine’s Day 2018 at Del Frisco’s Grille Tampa

Some people are celebrating Valentine’s Day 2018 early and some are celebrating late due to it falling on a weekday. Del Frisco’s Grille has an option for these couples.

Del Frisco’s Grille Tampa will offer a special for 7 days for Valentine’s Day. Customers can enjoy a 12 oz. Wagyu Bone-In Steak topped with truffle butter for $58. The item will be available off-menu from Sunday, February 10th to Sunday, February 18th. The restaurant recommends pairing the dish with a Portillo Malbec or Aquinas Cabernet Sauvignon on the wine list.

Del Frisco’s Grille is located at 4138 West Boy Scout Boulevard, Tampa, FL 33607.

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