Be hoppy: Two Frogs Brewing to start pouring its own beer soon

Chad and Michael Croake's new brewery, a pun on their last name, is the third for Tarpon Springs.

click to enlarge Two Frogs Brewing Company head brewer Chad Croake. - Two Frogs Brewing Company
Two Frogs Brewing Company
Two Frogs Brewing Company head brewer Chad Croake.

A few months ago, the historic Greek community of Tarpon Springs gained a third craft brewery. Two Frogs Brewing Company, located at 151 E. Tarpon Ave., opened April 25 with other local beers on tap, but the newcomer expects to start pouring its own next month.

Chad Croake and his father Michael are the minds behind Two Frogs (in case their last name wasn't a dead giveaway). While the brewery isn't their first foray into a family business, it is in line with their family history.

"My great grandfather owned a brewery in pre-Prohibition times," Chad said.

As Chad tells it, the brewery tried to maintain operations throughout the era with nonalcoholic beer, but eventually closed, which took the family biz into a different direction — until Chad, Two Frogs' head brewer, found his own love for brewing two years ago.

He began, like many brewers who go pro do, with a homebrewing system, and later enrolled in the Brewing Arts Program offered at USF St. Petersburg. Through the program, he learned the history, science and business of brewing, all while creating the beer he's most proud of — Snowmass, a chocolate-coconut brown ale.

Since Two Frogs' opening, Croake has been eagerly awaiting the arrival of his equipment to get down to brewing, serving up area-made pints from breweries like Barley Mow and Escape in the meantime. With a three-barrel system finally in the house, Croake says the nanobrewery should have its beers on draft by late August.

The brewer, specializing in all-American clean ales, likes to focus on what's easy to drink — always keeping in mind that this is Florida, after all. In addition to Snowmass, Croake's excited to release offerings that include a wheat ale brewed with organic mandarins and whole vanilla beans, plus an imperial rye ale aged on white oak chips. He and Michael plan to dedicate eight of the brewery's 16 taps to their own recipes and continue to promote locals on the remaining eight.

The Two Frogs building dates back to 1906. It's housed both a brothel and a drug store. At 1,500 square feet, the space comfortably fits 48 beer enthusiasts while surrounding them in a saloon-like setting with bullhorns, cowboy boots and a friendly bartender.

"In about a year, we will have a dog-friendly covered beer garden with plenty of fun activities," Chad said.

A prime location in Tarpon Springs means patrons are able to order food from surrounding restaurants. Dining spots like BackDraughts will deliver pizza, and Currents has also agreed to bring its house burger right to the bar.

Chad hopes their brewery becomes a place that brings the community closer over a glass of good beer.

"I want to people to leave my bar as if they were guests in my home," he said. "Serving the best beer I can make, and creating the best atmosphere to enjoy it."

Two Frogs — whose grand opening, with local bands and beer trucks showcasing the brewery's beer, is scheduled for early September — operates 2 to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 2 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.

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