The Brutalist and its taproom counterpart the Temple of Beer will soft open on March 10 in St. Petersburg, during the very first King State Lagerfest—a new Tampa Bay Beer Week heavy hitter that will be the first opportunity to taste Brutalist’s first beers.
Flying Boat Brewery will host its last day at 1776 11th Ave. N on Jan. 30—just a few weeks after announcing news of its sale—before the somewhat seamless transition into The Brutalist begins.
Although the back-to-back Brutalist and Lagerfest announcements seem like a mark of exponential growth for the Tampa-based roaster, brewery, and brick-and-mortar cafe Young and McTague tell Creative Loafing Tampa Bay that it all feels like a homecoming in a sense since brewer Aric Parker already made King State beers on site at Flying Boat.
“We have King State beer in Flying Boat’s tanks now, and come Feb. 1, they will just become our tanks,” Young says.
“Flying Boat is where we were able to grow into the brand we are now,” Young states. “The Brutalist will be able to brew as much KS beer as we need, but the goal long term is to add enough tank space to provide a full service to other breweries, in the same way we’ve been helped by others.”
Parker has been brewing at Flying Boat for almost three years now, and was recently joined by Vinny Giusto, who’s known for his brewing work at Tampa Heights-based Hidden Springs Ale Works. The dynamic duo will “touch every drop of beer coming out of Brutalist,” according to Young and McTague.
Although the Brutalist will be associated with King State itself—with KS beer in the tanks and its coffee roastery making the move to the new St. Pete headquarters—the multifaceted contract brewing facility will serve a niche need in the Tampa Bay boutique beer community, completely separate from the KS brand. A full counter-pressure canning line will be installed in May, an aspect that both owners think will set Brutalist apart from its counterparts in the Bay area.
“You can it here, you can store it here, you can brew it here—you can do it all,” McTague tells CL in a phone call. “We can really be an incubator or expansion model for anyone who really fits the mold.”
Alongside King State’s in-house brews and the beer of its yet-to-be determined tenants, a Brutalist branded beer will also be made at the new facility.
“The idea of stripping everything down to the very raw elements will be the methodology for the brewing side of the Brutalist," McTague shares with CL. "It’ll be straightforward single ho and single malt beer that doesn't necessarily fit the KS brand.”
While expansion and build out happens on the backend of the brewing facility—with over 90 new barrels already installed—the customer-facing tap room will also experience a facelift, again inspired by the Brutalist era of design. The Temple of Beer’s aesthetic will be simple, yet inviting, and definitely won't distract customers from the star of the entire Brutalist model—really great beer.
In-house beer from the Brutalist, King State, Flying Boat and other contract brewers will occupy the rotating 20 beer tap list at the Temple of Beer. And although there will be some sort of food element, the taproom itself won’t have a kitchen, and the Flying Boat tradition of having semi-permanent food trucks might start again someday soon.
Although The Brutalist and the Temple of Beer are slated to soft open during King State’s Lagerfest in early March, the duo understands that not all of the details will be hammered out by then. After Lagerfest, the Brutalist will have an official grand opening event that will be announced via Instagram (@thebrutalist.beer) in a few months.
And in terms of the highly-anticipated King State Lagerfest, it won’t be the over-the-top debut you may be expecting. The exclusive beers showcased will be affordable and straightforward.
“A lot of Beer Week events have live entertainment and food trucks, and we are going to do a little bit of that,” Young shares. “But Lagerfest will really be a return to the Brutalist ethos—with a focus on the brewers and their killer beer.”
Alongside exclusive merchandise, Lagerfest will feature many collaborations with other small-batch breweries. The KS owners teamed up with beer event veteran Kris Marino, known for his Miami beer fest “Free the Whales,” to create the unique celebration that is Lagerfest.
“Every day the Lagerfest lineup is getting cooler and cooler,” McTague says. “There are breweries that we’ve looked up to since the beginning who are part of it.”
Neither Young nor McTague could divulge which beers will be on the Temple of Beer tap list or showcased at the first Lagerfest in March, but they do have a slew of exciting collaborations that will be announced within the next few weeks leading up to Tampa Bay Beer Week. A new Instagram for King State’s Lagerfest just popped up, so expect the latest updates and a ticket link from @kslagerfest sometime next week.
The only information listed on the Tampa Bay Beer Week website is the time that King State Lagerfest will be taking place—from noon-4 p.m. on March 10—but tickets will be available for purchase on Jan. 28 via kslagerfest.com.
Although patrons of Flying Boat Brewery will miss its 11th Ave. N location, Young and McTague want to reassure the surrounding St. Pete community that the neighborhood-feel isn't going anywhere. While their loyal customers can still sip on their brews at the Temple of Beer, Flying Boat is working on opening another brick-and-mortar somewhere else in the greater Tampa Bay area.
“We like that Brutalist is in a neighborhood in the same way that King State is in a neighborhood—that’s what we love about it,” McTague says. “We hope the community values us as much as we value them. It’s honestly going to be just an easy transition.”
And speaking of easy transitions, Young and McTague—who also play in popular hard-rock bands, Anberlin and Underoath,respectively—are just as surprised as perhaps their patrons are, that the King State brand has exponentially expanded since the debut of its cafe in 2019. Taking away the years that COVID-19 has imposed on us, King State is only about 9 months old. Even with this major delve into the world of production and facility management, the owners have not expanded their investor pool at all.
“At this point, we have all of our original investors, which are mostly our friends, family, and some people we know from the music industry,” McTague says. “We haven’t really needed to branch out beyond that. There's no major players or real estate money coming in.”
Both Young and McTague credit King State’s success to the strong relationships they’ve made with collaborators and loyal customer base.
“There's been a lot of ebbing and flowing and dodging and weaving, but our relationships have really led us here,” Young says. “It’s amazing to be in this spot and I really credit our entire team. It’s been a wild couple of years.”
“To be able to grow this much during a pandemic is really rare, but amazing,” McTague noted.
The King State train is truly on a roll, all the way to its new headquarters in St. Petersburg, which will open to the public during March’s Lagerfest.