Apollo Beach will get its first craft brewery and taproom sometime in August when Four Stacks Brewing Company, which has been in the works for a year under the name Monument Brewing Co., opens its headquarters at 5469 N. U.S. Highway 41.
Instead of fighting to maintain its identity as Monument — there’s a similarly named spot operating in Maryland as Monument City Brewing Company — brewmaster Nathan Hangen says he and co-owner Shawn Christenson wanted to put money into their beer instead of legal fees.
The new name speaks to the brewery’s roots, and it’s something people can identify with, Hangen tells CL. When motorists make their way down Interstate 75 near Apollo Beach, they see the four tall smokestacks of TECO Energy’s Big Bend Power Station, which manatees started flocking to in 1986. The power station’s discharge canal, a state and federally designated sanctuary for the marine mammals, is now a part of the neighboring Manatee Viewing Center.
“We haven’t done the full name change yet, but people love it,” he says.
Two years ago, Hangen and Christenson, beer enthusiasts who have been running a software company together for four years or so, got serious about launching Four Stacks during one of their regular trips to San Diego. Hangen, a Ruskin resident, says the duo wanted to open a brewery outside of Tampa, and a place where the Apollo Beach community would feel at home.
In its 2,500-square-foot space, Four Stacks, which plans to offer a couple signature beers, will debut as a nanobrewery with the capacity of a barrel and a half. “West Coast style,” as Hangen puts it, will be incorporated into the tasting room’s intimate setting — table service, seating for about 80 to 90 people and natural decor elements alongside industrial features like steel — as well as the beer.
Since dry, flavorful brews won’t be all that’s produced, the brewery’s looking to experiment with the community in addition to creating offerings such as session IPAs and English pale ales. Like other beer makers around the region, Four Stacks wants to be accessible to everyone, craft beer-drinking newcomers as well as the more seasoned sipper.
“We want to make the taproom an experience,” Hangen says. “We want to make it approachable.”
The brewery, family-friendly with grassy areas outdoors, is currently seeking food truck vendors, and also hopes to establish a shuttle service to and from the two large residential developments nearby. Until its official launch, Four Stacks beer will be showcased at local events, including Tampa Bay Brewing Company’s second annual BadAss Beerfest Friday, July 31, and MiraBay-thrown gatherings over the next couple months.