Halfway There is back from hiatus. The Tampa Bay Beer Week fundraising festival, which didn't pan out as expected in 2016, returns to St. Petersburg’s Coliseum with one-off craft beers — plus old favorites — from a mix of local, regional and national breweries starting at 3 p.m. Saturday.
“It’s what the people want, and it works,” said TBBW board member Briant Mertz in an email to CL. “Last year we had hopes of each brewery partnering with a local restaurant/chef to showcase the culinary and craft talent in Tampa Bay. While it was a good idea in theory, it didn’t work in that scale. We’d love to try something similar with fewer breweries. We made the decision to bring Halfway There back to what it should be and focus on the beer.”
That being said, a couple of new highlights are planned. In addition to their general admission pours, nearly half of the 55-plus participating breweries are showcasing bottled offerings as part of a curated VIP bottle share on the venue’s balcony.
“We incorporated this aspect to continue growing Halfway There. The festival is still young. We have room to grow and enhance the experience for beer lovers and showcase our area’s talent,” Mertz said.
Transportation partners Brew Bus and Thirsty Pelican Tours provide another fresh element to the event. Hop aboard either service — Thirsty Pelican hits both Mad Beach Craft Brewing Company and Mastry's Brewing Co. on the beach, while Brew Bus acts as a launch point from Dunedin’s Clear Sky Draught Haus — for a shuttle to and from the beer-drinking festivities.
Raising funds for Hurricane Irma relief is an important part of Halfway There this year, too. TBBW will join its industry compatriots in donating $5 to Feeding Florida for every ticket that’s sold — no matter which route festgoers decide to go (VIP access is $75; general admission costs $50). Supplies are also being collected during the event to assist in feeding impacted Sunshine State residents.
Here are some of the brews to expect from this midway celebration to TBBW, which takes place annually in March:
81Bay Brewing Co. — Oktoberfest Marzen, Imperial Stout
Bone Hook Brewing Co. — Gluten-Reduced Citra Pale Ale, Passion Fruit Solarium Kettle Sour
Brew Hub — Rome City IPA, Ubii Black Kolsch
Calusa Brewing — Focus IPA, Unknown Road Mixed Fermentation Saison
Cigar City Brewing — Guayabera Citra Pale Ale, Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout
Crooked Thumb Brewery — Tropic Tang IPA, Florida Grapefruit Gose
Cycle Brewing — Drops of Juniper DIPA, Workin’ On It IPA
Darwin Brewing Co. — Cranberry Lemon Wit, Llama Mama Milk Stout
de Bine Brewing Co. — I'll Have That IPA, Margoserita
Escape Brewing Company — Toir IPA, Passion Fruit Gose
Florida Avenue Brewing Co. — Passion of the Heights Pale Wheat Ale, Cuke Berliner
Flying Boat Brewing Co. — Green’s Lantern IPA, Across the Bay It Gose
Green Bench Mead & Cider — I Am Brut! Cider, Farmhouse Blend #2 Cider
Hidden Springs Ale Works — Deja Moo Milk Stout, Raspberry Lemon Gose
Hourglass Brewing — Shark-Fu IPA, Florida Saison (Saint Somewhere Brewing Company collaboration)
Inoculum Ale Works — Ginger Lime Gose, Kuebiko Soured Ale
JDub's Brewing Company — Dill Pickle Gose, Atocha Rum Barrel-Aged Stout
Mad Beach Craft Brewing Company — Kalypso Key Lime Cider, Hurricane Season Cabernet Sauvignon Saison
Marker 48 Brewing — High Thai'd Coconut-Mango Wheat, Barrel-Aged Bayport Belgian Strong
Mastry’s Brewing Co. — Jefe Blanco, Gin Soaked IPA
Moonlight Meadery — Them Little Apples Cider, Mangoberry Mead
Motorworks Brewing — Midnight Espresso Porter, Bizarre Gardening Accident Grapefruit Berliner
Pair O’ Dice Brewing Company — The Stickman DIPA, Oogie Boogie Pumpkin Stout
Rapp Brewing Company — Blood Orange Gose, Caribbean Ginger Beer
Sierra Nevada — Ovila Abbey White, Tropical Torpedo IPA
Six Ten Brewing — Tent Beer, Pumpkin Berliner
Slim Pickens Cider & Mead — Ananas Pineapple Cider, Yo! Blueberry Cider
St. Pete Brewing Co. — Toasted Coconut Black Ale, Passion Fruit Gose
Stilt House Brewery — Jeriko Turnpike Pale Ale, Kentucky Common with Grits
Tampa Beer Works — Joosy Fruit IPA, Sour Northeast IPA with Hibiscus
Tomoka Brewing Company — Tom Yum Thai Gose, Peter the Great Russian Imperial Stout
Victory/Southern Tier Brewing — White Monkey White Wine Barrel-Aged Belgian Tripel, Salted Caramel Stout