With over 70 events across Tampa Bay during Tampa Bay Beer Week, it would be impossible for even the most serious beer lover to hit them all. Here are a few choices that should prove to be extraordinary. This list is by no means exhaustive, as there will be many truly excellent events on both sides of the Bay. See tampabaybeerweek.com for a complete schedule.
Sat., March 3: Florida Brewers Guild Beerfest 2012 at Centro Ybor
This will be the kick-off for Beer Week, with samples of over 100 Florida-brewed craft beers as well as visiting breweries, live music, food, raffles, and lots of fun. Tickets are $35 in advance, $40 on the day of the event, but don’t wait — this event sells out every year. Centro Ybor, Ybor City, 2-6 p.m., floridabrewersguild.org.
Sun., March 4: Eggs & Kegs with Ballast Point at Cigar City Brewing
Join the Cigar City gang in the tasting room and welcome the crew from Ballast Point Brewing in San Diego for a brunch like no other. Tasting Tampa will be sending a food truck or two with brunch foods, and the tasting room will feature Ballast Point’s special releases alongside favorites from CCB. No charge for the event, just pay for your beers and food. 3924 W. Spruce St., Tampa, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., cigarcitybrewing.com.
Mon., March 5: Beer Fun with Seventh Sun Brewing at The
The Independent in Seminole Heights not only features one of the area’s best beer selections; it’s also a damn good place to eat. Go for the Seventh Sun, but stay for the food. No charge for the event, just pay for your beers and food. 5016 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, IndependentTampa.com.
Tues., March 6: Tampa Bay Brewing Company and Cigar City
Brewing Dinner at TBBC
This is one of several truly excellent beer dinner options. A six-course event featuring beer from both breweries, expertly paired with a mouth-watering offering of food choices from around the world. Seating is limited, and tickets are $85. Tampa Bay Brewing Company, 1600 E. 8th Ave. (in Centro Ybor), 6:30 p.m., tampabaybrewingcompany.com.
Wed., March 7: Beers, Bites, and Brushes at CL Space
“Fresh From Florida” brews, food and art from around the state. Innovative culinary creations by Chef Josh Bonanno of Bonanno Brothers catering, made and paired with some of the best local brews, plus paintings, sculptures, photography and live “inspirations” by local artists. All proceeds go to Preserve Tampa, a nonprofit organization that helps keep and restore our local history. 1911 N. 13th St. (enter from Ninth Ave., above Spaghetti Warehouse), Ybor City, 7:30-10 p.m., $50, tastingtampa.com.
Thurs., March 8: Firkins & Food Trucks at Barley Mow Brewing Company
Fifteen firkins (kegs of cask-conditioned ale) from around the state, plus four of the Bay area’s best food trucks and much more. The entry fee is $30, which includes a souvenir sampling glass, access to rare and delicious firkins, live music and treats from Lush Confections. 518 West Bay Drive, Largo, 6-10 p.m., barleymowbrewingco.com.
Fri., March 9: G.O.O.D (and RARE!) Barrel-Aged Beer Day at Peg’s Cantina
All day Friday, Peg’s Cantina & Brew Pub will be pouring its barrel-aged beers. They’ll be tapping the barrels at noon and 7 p.m., in hopes that everyone will be able to try at least one if not all five of the different barrel-aged beers. No charge for the event, just pay for your beers and food. 3038 Beach Blvd. S, Gulfport, Noon-11 p.m., pegscantina.com.
Sat., March 10: Hunahpu’s Release Day at Cigar City
This is the official closing event of Tampa Bay Beer Week, and it doesn’t get much bigger than this. There will be a wide variety of beers from Cigar City, as well as a host of other breweries. There will be several options for food. There will be music. And of course, the release of the world-renowned, prize-winning Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout. Wristbands will be required, as will cash. There is no charge to get into the event, but the line will be long early, so plan accordingly. This is an event no one should miss. 3924 W. Spruce St., Tampa, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.. www.HunahpusDay.com.
For a full schedule of events, check tampabaybeerweek.com, the official Facebook page, and follow on Twitter @tampabaybeerweek.