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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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/

 

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: 81Bay Brewing Co. and American Social Beer Dinner – 3/7

Join 81Bay Brewing Co. and American Social Tampa for a special craft beer dinner this Wednesday, March 7th, 2018 at 7:30PM for Tampa Bay Beer Week 2018.

Tickets cost $50 and includes 4 courses of food and 5 craft beers as well as hors d’oeuvres paired by American Social Chef Jay Jones and 81Bay Head Brewer Hayley Brown. Enjoy dining on the waterfront of Tampa Bay at this event.

Buy tickets: www.eventliveus.com/purchase/event/752422

TBBW: Sons of CANarchy Pub Crawl – 3/7

Ready to drink your way around Ybor City? Head out for the Sons of CANarchy Pub Crawl on Wednesday, March 7th, 2018 for Tampa Bay Beer Week 2018. 11 breweries, both national and local brands, will participate and serve 11 beers at 5 different bars around Ybor City. The event is FREE to attend.

The events kick off at 6PM at The Bricks of Ybor. The schedule is as follows:

6PM: The Bricks (1327 East 7th Ave., Tampa, FL 33706): Brew Hub, Sierra Nevada

7PM: Reservoir Bar (1518 East 7th Ave., Tampa, FL 33605): Bell’s Brewery, Two Henry’s Brewing Co.

8PM: The Brass Tap (1600 East 7th Ave. E-113, Tampa, FL 33605): Dogfish Head Brewery, Crooked Thumb

9PM: Boneyard (1823 East 7th Ave., Tampa, FL 33605): New Belgium Brewing, Brew Bus Brewing

10PM: The Dirty Shame (1929 East 7th Ave., Tampa, FL 33605): Terrapin Beer Co., Cigar City Brewing, Lagunitas Brewing

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”.

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

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

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.

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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.

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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.

The Ultimate Brewer 3 This Friday

Tampa Bay Beer Week officially kicks off this weekend with The Ultimate Brewer 3, a competition that will get our taste buds ready for what is to come at Brew Bus Brewing in Seminole Heights.

The event will happen Friday, March 2nd, 2018 from 7PM-10PM. There are currently over 50 local breweries in Tampa Bay making craft beer daily, 25 will be competing at the event.

Tickets cost $25 in advance and $35 at the door. There is no VIP  sales for this event.

Buy tickets: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3320638

“Pairs of unusual ingredients were randomly drawn and 25 participating breweries chose the beer style that best demonstrates those ingredients. Garlic, Wasabi, or Hazelnut might test a brewer’s creativity, but combine one of those with pineapple, coriander, or chives and now you have quite the challenge. These ingredients are kept secret and the beers are tasted blind on March 2nd 7PM-10PM”.

“The winner will be chosen between a balance of two votes:

  • Consumer Choice as chosen by you’
  • Pro Panel chosen by the participating brewers.

“The brewery with the most votes wins The Ultimate Brewer 2018, will have their name etched on the trophy, and will be presented with the opportunity to brew the official beer of TBBW 2019. The trophy currently resides at Brew Bus Brewing, two-time champion and brewer of this year’s official beer of TBBW 2018″. 

Brew Bus Brewing is located at 4101 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33603.

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Participating breweries:

CL Meet the Brewers this Saturday, February 17th!

The annual Creative Loafing Meet the Brewers craft beer event is this Saturday, February 17th at Brandon Harley-Davidson (9841 East Adamo Drive, Tampa, FL 33619) from 1PM to 4PM.

GA Tickets cost $30 in advance and $40 at the door. General Admission includes unlimited beer while you mix and mingle with local brewers. A portion of proceeds will benefit Ybor City Museum Society.

VIP costs $75 in advance and $85 at the door and includes an hour of early admission to the event and food provided by Mini Doughnut Factory, The Mill Brandon, beer from Slim Pickens Cider & Mead, and more.

Buy tickets: http://www.xorbia.com/e/cltampa/brewers/

The event is sponsored by Brandon Harley-DavidsonSmashburgerMini Doughnut FactoryFlorida Brewers GuildTampa Bay Beer WeekTampa Bay Brew Tours by Thirsty PelicanYbor City Museum SocietyThe Mill BrandonRoundhouse CreativeLyft, and UNATION.

Brewery list:

  • 3 Daughters Brewing
  • 7venth Sun Brewing Co.
  • 81Bay Brewing Co.
  • Big Storm Brewing Co.
  • Big Top Brewing Co.
  • Cigar City Brewing
  • Cigar City Cider & Mead
  • Crooked Thumb Brewery
  • Darwin Brewing Co.
  • Dissent Craft Brewing Co.
  • Dunedin Brewery
  • Escape Brewing Co.
  • Flying Boat Brewing Co.
  • Hidden Springs Ale Works
  • JDub’s Brewing Co.
  • Marker 48 Brewing
  • Saint Somewhere Brewing Co.
  • Sea Dog Brewery
  • Tampa Bay Brewing Co.
  • Tampa Beer Works
  • The Wild Rover Brewery
  • Ulele Spring Brewery

Check out the beer list here: https://www.cltampa.com/brewers