Tampa Bay area recommendations (2020)

Discussion in 'US - South' started by The_FishermanJay, Dec 31, 2019.

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  1. The_FishermanJay

    The_FishermanJay (489) May 16, 2010 Florida
    Society Trader

    1. There is a separate thread for for Orlando curated by advocates who live over there.
    2. BA rules dictate annual (vs. quarterly/semi-annual) editions of these types of threads so I’m posting this now before a thrice-yearly visitor decides to do so.

    A preamble of sorts: This is designed to be a resource for travelers to the Tampa/St. Pete area (to avoid endless, oft-repetitive thread posts requesting locals' recommendations). These are the places folks most talk about and generally reflect currently preferred styles.

    Locals, the point of the thread is this: Which handful of the SCORES of Tampa Bay-area breweries would you want to hit up if you were here from out of town for a night or two? Listing every brewery is pointless.

    Visitors, this thread is a great start for planning a trip to the Tampa Bay area. It's not designed to answer every.single.question you have about every.single.thing going on around here. Most breweries now have at least decent internet and social-media presence (including Untappd); check them out for what is pouring at this exact moment, the beer in their to-go coolers or for upcoming events. You’re an adult (and you found this site); look it up yourself. Seriously.

    Tampa Bay Area
    (broadly includes Tampa, St. Petersburg and around Clearwater)

    The Big Kahunas
    Cigar City Brewery (Tampa; brewpub as of "early January 2020")
    Coppertail Brewing (Tampa; brewpub)
    Angry Chair Brewing (Tampa)
    7venth Sun Brewing (Dunedin and Tampa)
    Hidden Springs Ale Works (Tampa)
    Green Bench Brewing (St. Petersburg; also making cider and mead)
    Arkane Aleworks (Largo)
    Cycle Brewing (St. Petersburg)

    Highly Recommended Breweries
    Late Start Brewing (inside Pour House at Grand Central; Tampa)
    Tampa Bay Brewing (two locations in Tampa; both are brewpubs)
    Rapp Brewing (Seminole)
    Garagiste Meadery (Tampa)

    Highly Recommended Beer Bars
    Willard's (Largo)
    The Independent (Tampa and St. Pete)
    Hops and Props (St. Pete)
    The Ale and the Witch (St. Pete)

    Highly Recommended Bottle Shops
    Hawthorne Bottle Shop (St. Pete)
    Jug & Bottle Dept. (Tampa)
    Luekens (various locations)
    Total Wine (various locations)

    (A Few) Beer-centric Restaurants
    Stein & Vine (Brandon)
    Mr. Dunderbaks (Tampa; also making its own German-centric beers)
    Cajun Cafe on Bayou (Pinellas Park)
    Datz (Tampa)

    The Brewery Bay is a cool resource that allows users to sort breweries in creative ways (e.g., growlers, kid friendly, food).

    Tampa Bay Brew Bus does tours if you'd like someone to curate your local brewery experience. They also have a hop-on/hop-off brewery loop in Tampa on Sundays.
  2. The_FishermanJay

    The_FishermanJay (489) May 16, 2010 Florida
    Society Trader

    Here are some further notes/answers:

    1. It’s St. Pete. No one here says St. Petes.
    1a. Dunedin: duh-KNEE-done (not DOON-din).

    2. For foodies, the Tampa Bay Times' Top 50 Restaurants is a good guide (but if you wanna rely on AngryDrunk rants via Yelp and what-not, have at it).
    2a. Visitors tend to ask where to get Cuban food and particularly the eponymous sandwich. Popular suggestions include La Teresita and West Tampa Sandwich Shop (Tampa) and Bodega (the OG in St. Pete; now also one in Tampa not too far down Florida Avenue from Angry Chair).
    2b. Mazzaro’s. Just go. (Pro tip: Call in your sandwich order. Save your line-waiting for the bakery. Or the cheese section. Or coffee ...)
    2c. There are two food halls — Hall on Franklin and Armature Works — within walking distance of each other (as well as Hidden Springs and Garagiste) just north of downtown Tampa. Additionally, a third — called Sparkman’s Wharf — is in downtown’s Channelside district (between the Florida Aquarium and Amalie Arena).

    3. The Tampa Bay area is spread out and traffic often sucks. You'll leave more happy and less stressed if you package your stops in a smaller area (e.g., Tampa or Largo/Dunedin or downtown St. Petersburg) rather than try to hit everything in an afternoon.
    3a. Dunedin offers the highest density of walkable breweries (seven or eight) and it’s a cool little town anyway.
    3b. Cycle to Green Bench isn’t a long walk but it can be a HOT walk depending on the temps. However, you can now hit two really solid breweries (Inoculum/Aggregate Brewing Collective and Overflow, both along First Avenue North) between them to break up the “hike.”

    4. Cruise passengers: If you find yourself with some time on your hands, take the trolley north to the Port Authority station (or walk) and then head west a half-block to Pour House at Grand Central. Late Start Brewing is making a variety of killer beers there and you find a bunch of other locals on tap.

    5. Uber and Lyft are things here ... as is an extensive law-enforcement presence. Use the former to avoid the latter.
    5a. Viable public transportation is not a thing here; further, there is a dearth of parking at more than a few of the highly touted breweries.

    6. I try to avoid "mission creep" in this thread. That said ...
    6a. Calusa (Sarasota, about five minutes west of I-75) is killing it these days. I wouldn’t recommend it to a first-time Tampa visitor but it may make sense for old hands and those who are driving that way anyway.
    6b. I know a lot of folks visit this area to see relatives who live NORTH of the Tampa Bay area. Pasco County (the next one up) has two good breweries: Escape (toward the Gulf) and Zephyrhills Brewing (on the east side). Marker 48 is a cool place to hang out in Hernando County (the one above Pasco) and it’s not far from the Suncoast Parkway.
    Robyn, wxmanify, the_bavarian and 4 others like this.
  3. shand

    shand (789) Jul 13, 2010 Florida
    Society Trader

    I'd like to suggest the recently opened BarrieHaus in Ybor as a recommendation. I went last weekend and was extremely impressed by the quality of their lagers, especially for a brand new brewery. For sure the best lagers available locally.
    jbear68, Lare453 and Pereza987 like this.
  4. gatornation

    gatornation (2,080) Apr 18, 2007 Florida
    Society Trader

    I liked Arkane Aleworks a ton on my last visit, also was a fan of Mikes pizza and taphouse.
  5. adschal1

    adschal1 (0) Dec 7, 2018 Ohio

    I'm making a trip to Tampa/Clearwater next month. I sent Angry Chair a message, but they haven't responded. Will they crowler anything on tap or only those listed as "available to go"?

    I have 2 little kids so I won't have much time for onsite pours, so I'm really looking at cans/bottles that I can take back to our condo and/or bring home on my flight, either from Angry Chair or elsewhere.
  6. shand

    shand (789) Jul 13, 2010 Florida
    Society Trader

    They don't crowler everything, the to go section on their website and Untappd should be accurate.
  7. 1ofTheseKnights

    1ofTheseKnights (0) Dec 24, 2017 Florida

    They pretty much Crowler all their NEIPAs. They currently are doing a Lager as well.

    Every once in a while you’ll get lucky on timing for a Crowlered Sour or Stout, but it’s not a usual occurrence.
  8. adschal1

    adschal1 (0) Dec 7, 2018 Ohio

    Looks like the got a stout or 2 available now. Hoping it's still on in a couple weeks.

    Do you know approximate price points for their crowlers?
    1ofTheseKnights likes this.
  9. The_FishermanJay

    The_FishermanJay (489) May 16, 2010 Florida
    Society Trader

    ACB lists the prices on Untappd.
  10. adschal1

    adschal1 (0) Dec 7, 2018 Ohio

  11. GameFreac

    GameFreac (0) Apr 8, 2011 Georgia

    Anything cool going on this week? Will be in Tampa till Saturday morning.
    Thirst_trappist likes this.
  12. Grave252

    Grave252 (0) Mar 12, 2017 Minnesota

    I'll be down in the SW Florida area for a week and need recommendations on readily available beers I should be filling my beach cooler with. Limited to a Total Wine stop. IPA's of all varieties, pale ales, sours, etc. I have some familiarity with the SW Florida beer scene as far as breweries, but I am only down once a year so hoping for some help on brews you locals would recommend to an outsider. Thanks!
  13. hititback

    hititback (0) Dec 21, 2016 Florida

    Cycle sunshine city ipa is my go to for beach beer. Hits all of those good tropical fruit notes with a good bitterness. Some of the liquor stores occasionally get hidden springs Berliner’s, coppertail brewing usually has a Berliner or two in total wine as well.
  14. shand

    shand (789) Jul 13, 2010 Florida
    Society Trader

    Hidden Springs is dropping Equilibrium cans and a collab tomorrow at 6.
    GameFreac and adschal1 like this.
  15. The_FishermanJay

    The_FishermanJay (489) May 16, 2010 Florida
    Society Trader

    Green Bench makes Sunshine City, which is a terrific beer.
    hititback and HeartofMiami like this.
  16. hititback

    hititback (0) Dec 21, 2016 Florida

    You’re totally right! Somehow I messed that up.
  17. yeahnatenelson

    yeahnatenelson (0) Feb 8, 2010 Illinois

    Slightly off topic, but is there usually a Tampa Beer Week thread?
  18. The_FishermanJay

    The_FishermanJay (489) May 16, 2010 Florida
    Society Trader

    Yes. And TBBW has an events page that gets very robust as March approaches.
    HeartofMiami likes this.
  19. PA-Michigander

    PA-Michigander (0) Nov 10, 2013 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    I ask every (other?) year and always assume the answer is the same: anything new or worthwhile on Anna Maria Island?
  20. Pooles26

    Pooles26 (0) Nov 17, 2011 Connecticut

    How are Dissent, Cage and Unrefined? Any of them worth a visit during TBBW? Obviously Unrefined is a bit out of the way. This year will be my 4th TBBW, but I’ve still pretty much only been to the Big Kahunas on his list.
  21. Lare453

    Lare453 (0) Feb 1, 2012 Florida

    No... but there is stuff off the island.
    PA-Michigander likes this.
  22. PA-Michigander

    PA-Michigander (0) Nov 10, 2013 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    My parents only have one car while they’re down there and I don’t like taking it for a long time, essentially stranding them.

    Luckily we stopped at Corporate Ladder on the way home from the airport and they are absolutely killing it.

    I did take the car once to get to Calusa (good as always) and Brew Life (a bit of a let down).

    Maybe someone will open a decent craft beer bar closer by next year. I won’t hold my breath.
    jloomis likes this.
  23. Lare453

    Lare453 (0) Feb 1, 2012 Florida

  24. darkwing1

    darkwing1 (180) May 13, 2013 Illinois

    Motorworks isn't too far away and not a bad place to go and have a few beers in the beer garden
  25. pmilb

    pmilb (0) May 22, 2019 Florida

    Corporate Ladder makes some really good stuff, I was pleasantly surprised. We made a last minute stop there and it was well worth it.
  26. LADEDA

    LADEDA (0) Jul 29, 2014 Florida

    Anyone like New Belgium Starship? All NB BOGO at Publix. Starship $5.75/6pk. Canned 1/30. In an end cap display. Stores will vary, I suppose.
  27. Hamilax

    Hamilax (0) Feb 3, 2015 Florida

    I liked it especially for something I can get at Publix.
  28. Thirst_trappist

    Thirst_trappist (355) Jan 18, 2016 Florida

    Yeah corporate ladder definitely makes good stuff
    jloomis likes this.
  29. Lorddevn

    Lorddevn (0) Mar 10, 2019 Wisconsin

    Jug and bottle depot was a cool little shop, but they had a lot of Midwest beers, was cool seeing brewing projekt from Eau Claire whose doing awesome stuff, but a lot of stuff I can get locally and not a ton of local stuff
  30. LADEDA

    LADEDA (0) Jul 29, 2014 Florida

    Speaking of Publix, this bump is to say Sierra Nevada sixers are BOGO from today thru next Wednesday. I picked up 4 X 6 SNPA @$5.15 per 6. One month old. But the deal is for all sixers your local might carry.
    2_Beardz, 7clutch and jloomis like this.
  31. Beer_Baron87

    Beer_Baron87 (0) Feb 15, 2019 Florida

    Yep, grabbed some SNPA/Hazy little thing/Summerfest 6 packs for under a $1 a beer. May hit the sale up one more time before it ends
  32. Mikemcgrath4

    Mikemcgrath4 (0) Aug 16, 2014 North Carolina

    Last time I was in town, Bay Cannon Brewing impressed me, not far at all from Cigar city, so makes for a great brew stop as well.
    Thirst_trappist likes this.
  33. LADEDA

    LADEDA (0) Jul 29, 2014 Florida

    New Belgium sixers BOGO at Publix 10/29 - 11/4
  34. johnyb

    johnyb (920) Aug 11, 2012 Florida

    Add Magnanimous and Woven Waters as two very solid brewery options to the mix.
    Sabzi, buccsmf1 and Thirst_trappist like this.
  35. Sabzi

    Sabzi (105) Mar 15, 2018 Texas

    Will be in the area next week for 2 weeks. of the suggestions above, any spaces currently closed due to Covid?
  36. The_FishermanJay

    The_FishermanJay (489) May 16, 2010 Florida
    Society Trader

    I believe they're all open to some degree. Check social media ahead of going. (To wit: Many places have closed this afternoon due to TS Eta.)
    Sabzi and HeartofMiami like this.
  37. buccsmf1

    buccsmf1 (0) Aug 19, 2017 Florida

    everything is open. many are still requiring butts in seats, so a little decreased capacity. ive only had an issues once, trying to go to hidden springs on a saturday night and they were at capacity. other than that no issues
    Sabzi likes this.
  38. LADEDA

    LADEDA (0) Jul 29, 2014 Florida

    Dogfish Head BOGO at Publix thru 12/23. DH 90 14.99 for 2 sixers.
    johnyb likes this.
  39. johnyb

    johnyb (920) Aug 11, 2012 Florida

    The chicken finger sub is on sale too. :sunglasses:
    jloomis and LADEDA like this.
  40. LADEDA

    LADEDA (0) Jul 29, 2014 Florida

    Another cheapskate alert. Goose Island sixers BOGO at Publix Thurs 12/17 thru Thurs 12/24.
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