Tampa gets taste of what's to come from St. Pete's new Flying Boat Brewing

Southern Brewing & Winemaking held a special tap takeover for Flying Boat Thursday.

Thursday night, Bay area craft beer enthusiasts had the chance to sample Flying Boat Brewing Co.’s liquid magic a few months before the new St. Petersburg brewery officially takes off. The special tap takeover, hosted by Southern Brewing & Winemaking in Seminole Heights, also functioned as a soft opening for Southerns new bar.

Good Luck Goggles (an American pale ale), Whitted Wheat and Lantern IPA were a few of the aviation-inspired beers pouring at the pop-up event. They’ll be part of Flying Boat’s core lineup of brews when it launches this fall at 1776 11th Ave. N.

Named after aviator Tony Jannus’s biplane flown in the world’s first commercial flight, the brewery will be aviation-themed, with a multimedia museum aspect incorporated into its tasting room. Head brewer Tyler Singletary worked at Southern before being tapped to come brew for Flying Boat, so it was fitting to hold the tasting where he learned the tools of the trade.

The takeover allowed Tampa folks to get familiar with Flying Boat and also gave Singletary the opportunity to get some feedback on his work and make adjustments.

“It’s been overwhelmingly good,” he said of the crowd reception. “I’m getting a feel for how people like the beers and where we can go from here. I keep experimenting with my recipes.”

So far, he has more than 20. Singletary’s forte is hoppy beers, very apparent in the bold bite of Flying Boat’s Lantern IPA, but he also likes tinkering with interesting flavor combinations. A grapefruit and black tea treatment of Good Luck Goggles, redubbed “Drunk Goggles,” for example, was also featured on tap.

Flying Boat will offer 15 taps, with eight core beers, when its doors open. The rest will act as rotating taps for special releases and treatments.

Singletary said the brewery crew is excited to be a part of the ever-growing craft beer community in St. Pete, which has also been very supportive. Green Bench Brewing Co.’s head brewer Khris Johnson, who worked at Southern with Singletary, has fielded many questions and helped him avoid turbulence as Flying Boat gets off the ground.

USF PhD student Matt Hayes, whos frequented Southern for years, has witnessed Johnson and Singletary come into their own.

“It’s been impressive watching them branch out of the small brew industry in Tampa,” Hayes said.

Flying Boat’s soft opening is planned for some time after Thanksgiving. The owners hope everything lines up for a grand opening on Jan. 1 — the anniversary of the day that Jannus’s Flying Boat made its inaugural flight. Italian parade and marching band not guaranteed.

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