Ten years ago this list would have been much shorter. Fifteen years ago it would have been blank. Thankfully, we’re in 2013 and local breweries are plentiful.
7VENTH SUN BREWING 1012 Broadway, Dunedin, 727-733-3013, seventhsunbrewing.com. The Dunedin-based brewery opened in January and has already garnered a serious reputation for good beers, including the Stave Fly, a double porter aged in virgin American oak barrels, and the Special Brownie Belge Brune. Stop by and fill a growler on-site, or check 7venth Sun’s Facebook page (facebook.com/7venthsun) for updates on where to pick up a pint locally.
BARLEY MOW 518 W. Bay Drive, Largo, 727-584-7772, barleymowbrewingco.com. Jay Dingman and Colleen Huffman opened their Largo-based brewing company, Barley Mow, in the former O’Houston’s Irish Pub last October, and they’ve been very busy brewing ever since. Last year they won bronze for their English Style Barleywine at the Dunedin Walk the Line for Barleywine festival. Jay and Colleen brew fresh every day, then tear down brew gear and serve up pints all night.
BIG STORM BREWING COMPANY 2438 Merchant Ave. #103, Odessa, 727-807-7998, bigstormbrewery.com. Partners Clay Yarn and Mike Bishop put everything on the line to make their brewery come together. The homebrewers turned pro after Bishop studied under the local wisemen at Dunedin Brewery. Big Storm’s flagship Wavemaker Amber Ale is literally flying off the shelves. And they just opened a tasting room in Odessa.
CIGAR CITY BREWING 3924 W. Spruce St., Tampa, 813-348-6363, cigarcitybrewing.com. Joey Redner sure made a splash when he opened Cigar City Brewing in an industrial park on Spruce Street over four years ago. Since then, business is so good Redner is literally turning down out-of-state distributors because he can’t make enough beer. The brewery is expanding to meet new supply demands that have shown no sign of slowing down. Locals love CCB’s focus on history and good craft beer; beer snobs love their attention to detail and inventive brew concepts. Plus, the tasting room is so close to downtown offices that there's no excuse to refuse an invite for a cold pint.
CIGAR CITY BREWPUB 15491 N. Dale Mabry, Tampa, 813-348-6363. Cigar City’s Brewpub is slated to open just in time for Tampa Bay Beer Week. The north Tampa space is being managed by none other than bar and restaurant pro (and maker of a killer craft cocktail) Bob Wagner. An on-site brewpub will feature exclusive brews and a menu designed to fit every pint they serve.
COLD STORAGE CRAFT BREWERY 4101 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, 813-374-2101, coldstoragecraftbrewery.com. The little brewery on Florida Avenue is known for locale-namesake brews like the Florida Avenue wheat ale and Florida Avenue blueberry ale. They just opened their tasting room to the public last month. On the third Saturday of every month, get three beers and a pint glass to keep for just $10.
CYCLE BREWING AT PEG’S CANTINA 3038 Beach Blvd. S, Gulfport, 727-328-2720, pegscantina.com. Seated in the heart of Gulfport is a tiny brewpub that serves some seriously delicious Mexican-inclined cuisine. Brewer Doug Dozark spent three years learning the tricks of the trade at Cigar City Brewing before focusing on Cycle. Dozark (son of "Peg") has had three original beers win a medal at the Best Florida Beer championship, and Peg’s always has at least four taps of original brew available year round. The indoor/outdoor ambience couldn’t be more perfect.
DUNEDIN BREWERY 937 Douglas Ave., Dunedin, 727-736-0606, dunedinbrewery.com. Dunedin Brewery is the oldest microbrewery in Florida, having seen years of blood, sweat, tears and beers. Known for its Apricot Wheat and Dunedin Redhead beers, Dunedin Brewery has branched out over the years. Come see where the local beer scene got its roots and hear some great live music, too.
GREEN BENCH BREWING COMPANY 1134 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg, 727-214-4863, greenbenchbrewing.com. Partners Nathan Stonecipher (industrious significant other of Sarah Stonecipher at MISRED Outfitters in St. Petersburg) and Steven Duffy set out three years ago to open a brewery. Currently, the 1926 brick garage is under construction with plans for a massive outdoor beer garden, tasting room and production area. Brewery slated to open summer 2013.
LAGERHAUS BREWERY AND GRILL 3438 East Lake Business, Palm Harbor, 813- 343-2449, lagerhausbrewery.com. Opened in 2006, Lagerhaus has been quietly making incredible beers for the beer community. Stop by and get one of brewer Franz’s pints.
RAPP BREWING 10930 Endeavour Way Suite C, Seminole, 727-544-1752, rappbrewing.com. Rapp’s opened less than a month ago in Seminole, but the gospel of their beers is spreading fast. Try the Blonde Ale or the Chryssi Saison to beat the heat. Or sip on a Grätzer or a Rappweizer Hefeweizen. Look out for their grand opening sometime in late October.
SAINT SOMEWHERE BREWING 1441 Savannah Ave., Tarpon Springs, 813-503-6181, saintsomewherebrewing.com. Saint Somewhere is brewing traditional small-batch beers in the Belgian style. The brewery is just one of a precious few making farmhouse ales, like the Saison Athene-Saison Athene or the Lectio Divina.
SEA DOG BREWING COMPANY 26200 U.S. 19, Clearwater, 727-466-4916, seadogbrewing.com. The chain-support brewpub from Maine does indeed brew some good stuff on-site for customers. Swing through for some good eats and drinks.
ST. PETE BREWING COMPANY 2820 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg, 727-692-8809, stpetebrew.com. St. Pete Brewing Company is small but on the way to becoming mighty with its St. Pete Orange wheat ale and Pinellas pale ale.
TAMPA BAY BREWING COMPANY 1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa, 813-247-1422, tampabaybrewingcompany.com. Following shortly after Dunedin Brewery, Tampa Bay Brewing Company was one of the pioneers in local brewing years before many of the young pups came along. TBBC is still making great beers and keeping up with the quickly evolving industry. Stop by the Centro Ybor brewery and watch the magic happen on-site.
THREE PALMS BREWING 1509 Hobbs St., Tampa, 888-813-4856,[email protected] Based in Tampa, Three Palms Brewing is working steadily to bring great beer to Tampa Bay. Take a little sip of Queen of Wheat Hefeweizen and Ruby Pogo Hoppy Red Ale, two of the new signature ales.
YUENGLING BREWERY 11111 N. 30th St., Tampa, 813-972-8500, yuengling.com.w Back before Tampa even knew the words “craft beer,” Yuengling was already pumping out big batches of good, cheap beer. Stop by for a tour.