A Slice of Tampa Life: Brewin’ Up Trouble
July 13th, 2016
Known for its beaches and business, Tampa & Hillsborough County are becoming renowned for another reason (which also begins with B): Beer.
Tampa took the #3 spot in USA Today’s 10 Best Beer Scene across the United States, beating cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, and Atlanta. This ranking is of no small importance, as the Tampa Hillsborough EDC found craft brew scene is key in keeping 21 to 34-year-olds happy.
Whether you are coming to visit for the weekend or you have been here for years and are looking to shake up your usual Friday night, get to know some of the area’s breweries, listed from new to the most established.
81Bay Brewing opened its doors in May of 2016, after years of conversation between three FSU alumni and longtime friends. The enormous taproom owns the craft beer market on Gandy Boulevard near MacDill Air Force Base and has enough bar and board games to keep hundreds happy long into the night.
Hidden Springs Ale Works
Owners/Brewers Joshua Garman and Austin Good did their due diligence in picking a spot for Hidden Springs, which is actually quite easy to find at the nexus of Ybor, Downtown, and Tampa Heights neighborhoods. Swing by for college night every Wednesday, running club every Thursday, and a monthly yoga class.
The first stop on North Florida Avenue is Angry Chair, a perfect place to sip red ale while sitting on a signature tractor-seat barstool, which is actually quite comfortable and not at all angry. The brewery has strong bonds to other spots in the Seminole Heights neighborhood and supports watering holes like The Independent, Ella’s, and The Mermaid Tavern.
The second stop on North Florida Avenue is Brew Bus, which moved into the spot from nearby Lakeland after acquiring beer pioneer Florida Ave Brewing. Aside from the 20 rotating taps, the company offers tours on a private “brew bus,” which shuttles drinkers around the bay area from brewery to brewery.
Tampa Bay Brewing Company
Taking the cake as the first craft brewing operation in Tampa, the combination headquarters, brewery, bar, and restaurant is an Ybor City mainstay. The founding family, the Dobles, even run a foundation that provides resources to veterans and a scholarship to attend America’s oldest brewing school in Chicago.
One of the home runs of Tampa Bay beer culture, Coppertail was founded by business attorney, Sierra Club member, and public transit activist, Kent Bailey. The artistic bronze branding on the bottles depicting undersea scenes is immediately recognizable across the bay as it is one of the most widely distributed in the area.
Cigar City Brewing
The current heavyweight champion of beer in the bay, Cigar City is set to grow even more after its acquisition by Boston-based Fireman Capital Partners and seems to have lost none of its local flavor. Stop by the main tasting room on Spruce Street, the restaurant and brewpub in Carrollwood, or the newest concept of Cigar City Cider & Meade in Ybor City.