The Beer Issue 2017: Through the drinking glass

Going down Tampa Bay's craft beer rabbit hole for a look at the scene's present and future.

It’s a great time to be a beer drinker in Tampa Bay. It could even be said the region has become something of a wonderland (get it?) when it comes to craft brews — a world of varied perspectives and fresh experiences, with new opportunities presenting themselves seemingly every day.

You might think you know everything about Tampa Bay beer, or at least everything you need to know to navigate it. It’s been a few years since craft beer became the big local thing, after all; those who’ve been traveling in these circles since the beginning, and those who’ve found a comfortable existence bouncing between the four or five or dozen breweries in their immediate vicinity, could be tempted to complacency.

But there’s always something new, and always something coming.

What about the rapid-fire proliferation of breweries in Dunedin, with more on the way? And what about those breweries that are popping up in comparatively out-of-the-way locations, away from the downtowns and districts? And what’s on tap for the next seasonal change? Summer’s coming; what new, satisfying beers are coming along with it? How has the local craft beer explosion affected the success and business model of a specific brewery — in this case, St. Pete’s Cycle Brewing — and a new-ish regional tradition, like Tampa Bay Beer Week’s Ultimate Brewer challenge, now in its second year?

We cover all of that and more in this year’s Beer Issue. We hope it’ll inspire you to explore Tampa Bay’s unique and varied craft beer scene in a different way, and discover something you didn’t know was here, or didn’t know was just over the horizon.

—Scott Harrell

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