St. Pete Brewing brews a stout with Mayor Rick Kriseman

The St. Pete mayor made a special St. Patrick's Day stop Friday morning.

click to enlarge St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman holds a sample of St. Pete Brewing Co. Coconut Black Ale. - Ryan Ballogg
Ryan Ballogg
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman holds a sample of St. Pete Brewing Co. Coconut Black Ale.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman made a special St. Patrick’s Day stop Friday morning around the corner from his office.

Kriseman joined St. Pete Brewing Co. business manager Tom Williams and head brewer Jon McCracken in putting together a chocolate milk stout, which the downtown St. Pete brewery plans to release in time for its three-year anniversary on April 8.

The mayor took over the mash paddle as McCracken poured ingredients into the brew kettle, including flaked barley and high-grade cocoa powder.

“It’s kind of like making oatmeal,” Kriseman remarked.

“That’s funny, because I love making beer and I hate making oatmeal,” McCracken said.

The collaboration was a spontaneous idea of the St. Pete Brewing team, who knew Kriseman liked stouts from his visits to the brewery.

“We said, ‘we’re brewing a beer you really like, why don’t you come in?’” Williams said.

Their stout is yet to be named, but it will reference the mayor somehow.

According to Kriseman, who said St. Pete as a city wants to do everything it can to support craft brewers, and other entrepreneurs, he rarely drank beer when he was younger. But with the expansion of the brewing community in St. Pete, he’s come to appreciate the good ones especially stouts.

“It’s hard to drink a Budweiser now,” the mayor said.

After a good bout of stirring, Kriseman took a seat at the bar and sampled another one of the brewery’s dark beers, a coconut-infused black ale, which he gave a rating of “delicious.”

Williams explains that McCracken uses real ingredients in all of his beers, unlike some breweries that use extracts.

“On the business side I want things to move along quicker sometimes, but Jon says wait a little longer,” Williams said. “Brewers want to do things a certain way. They can be rigid, but that’s a good thing for the quality.”

Over beer samples, Kriseman and Williams chatted about breweries’ roles in St. Pete as places for people and families to gather, their favorite local pizza spots, and the possibility of having a bike-share rack installed near the brewery.

Then it was back to work.

After Williams and the mayor left, McCracken sanitized the fermenting tank that their stout will age in and prepared the brew for boiling.

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