As many of you are well aware, winters can be pretty rough in these parts. I am not a fan of winter sports or hunting, so most of the time I spend outside is walking my dog. Them winter blues got the better of me and I booked a flight to Florida a few weeks back. I thought I could see some friends I had need seen in a long time, enjoy the beach for a bit and explore the Gulf Coast beer scene. Here is a pint by pint recap of that trip.
My flight landed around 6pm and instead of having a pint of Cigar City in the terminal, my friend picked me up and we went to the taproom just a couple of blocks from the airport. I tried a taproom exclusive IPA brewed and dry-hopped exclusively with Southern Cross hops from South Africa. It was dry and had some wonderful white wine and tangerine notes. It paired well with the food truck mushroom Swiss burger I had.
7eventh Sun has two taprooms, so I decided to visit their new one in the Old Seminole Heights neighborhood of Tampa, which opened September of last year. It was a beautiful space reminiscent of a German Beer hall, with long wooden tables and a very nice selection of 23 beers on draft. I tried the Trapeze Jesus, a Brett IPA hopped with Mosaic, Amarillo & Citra which was wonderfully full flavored and followed that up wig a sample of their barrel-aged farmhouse ale which was slightly tart with a refreshing peppery finish. The last beer I had was, since it was still early in the day was a session IPA called Time Bomb. At 4.5%, it was easy drinking with with a nice tropical fruit finish from the combination of Citra and Nelson Sauvin hops. The next stop was at IKEA in Ybor City, since my friend needed to buy a new bedroom set. He promised we could have lunch at Coppertail brewery, close by, after we finished loading up. Established in 2013, Coppertail has really grown to be one of the premiere production breweries in Tampa. The taproom offered a view of the brewery including a brand new 200 barrel brite tank that was delivered just days before. I ended some wings and sweet potato taking with a delicious Berliner Weiss named BOMP, which stood for Blood Orange, Mango & Passionfruit. The bright and tart fruited beer paired well with the sun and good times. For dessert, I tried a short pour of their Bourbon barrel-aged Imperial Stout, Cryptoid. It was rich, decadent and very easy drinking for a 12% ale. The rest of the day/night involved taking apart an old bed and putting together a new one whilst drinking Coppertail’s Pilsner, The Independent.
Later start today after sleeping on newly built IKEA bed, our 1st trip out was for lunch at the Mellow Mushroom. This hippy inspired pizza chain/craft beer joint had some good pizza and I enjoyed a pint of Cycle Brewing Cream & Sugar. This Coffee Porter was brewed with lactose, and had a nice creamy mouthfeel and rich coffee flavor. Wednesday nights happen to be Trivia Night at Southern Brewery & Wine, so my buddy dragged me out and I was pleasantly surprised. With funny named brews like Funky Kolsch Medina, Jean Claude Van Porter, and Et tu Brettus they delivered on flavor. My favorite was a treatment of their Jean Claude Van Porter brewed with Oreos, and we finished in 2nd place! To celebrate, we went down the road to Angry Chair brewing for a nightcap. This simple taproom was pretty quiet and we were able to find a spot to sit and I eagerly ordered a glass of Woke, an Imperial Stout with coffee and Maple Syrup. It was so full bodied, a sip coated my entire mouth with wave after wave of toasty chocolate, coffee and maple. It was sweet, but not cloying and quickly emptied glass left me wanting more. I was fading and felt that the next beer would be my last for the evening. I chose a Blonde Barleywine brewed with coconut, marshmallow, and cocoa. It drank thick like syrup and had a wonderful layer of textures that just blew my mind. It was a pretty noble attempt at a blondie in a glass. I should mention that the bartender at Angry Chair use to live in Troy. It sure made me feel like home. Great brewery, great time had.
I think that is enough for now, so I will finish up the other half of the trip next time. With Tampa under my belt I explored St. Petersburg and the coast. Hope your Valentine’s Day was a good one, our Vegan Soul Food Beer Dinner sure was. Keep your eyes out for the next beer dinner coming this Spring. Cheers!