The Sunshine City’s blazed a new trail—specifically, a 2-mile stretch of downtown that’s gained five breweries since August.
By Mark DeNote
Green Bench Brewing
Khris Johnson pushes the envelope with beers like a Surrealist Sour IPA, the überhoppy Skyway Wheat, and the roast-and-cocoa Stay Dry Stout, not to mention the wood-aged stuff fermenting in a custom-built oak foeder (try Saison de Banc Vert). The tasting room bleeds into a beer garden that hosts pets and movie nights.
Pair O’Dice Brewing
Inspired by the beer scene in Austin, Texas, Ken and Julia Rosenthal opened their own brewing paradise in nearby Clearwater. Their first beers, Hop Bet Red, Parlay Pale Ale and Little Joe Oatmeal Stout, pour by the pint in their sleek, wood-dressed tasting room and on draft around Tampa Bay.
Here, Peg’s Cantina brewer Doug Dozark (see left) focuses on bikes and session beers like the 4.9% Fixie IPA and the 4.7% Freewheel Pale Ale, though he adds bold barrel-aged releases like Rare D.O.S. (a bourbon stout) for good measure. All manner of locals rack their rides outside and wander into Cycle’s eclectic drugstore-tiled tasting room for a pint.
Saint Petersburg Brewing
The pub opened in January—you’ll know it by the hop mural on the façade—but the city’s eponymous brewery has a deep following thanks to its Saint Pete Orange Wheat, contract-brewed in Maryland since 2011. Now, the wheat, its pale ale sibling and brewer Jon McCracken have a home downtown.
3 Daughters Brewing
At the city’s largest brewery, chef-turned-brewer Ty Weaver crafts accessible but expertly constructed beers like a nitro porter, a fruity dunkelweizen and the velvety Summer Storm Oatmeal Stout; try them in his tasting room and bars around town. Soon, the brewery will host an on-site lab where homebrewers can have beer analyzed.
PLUS: Sip a rainbow of Florida weisses at the Brewer’s Tasting Room, a St. Pete showroom for pre-release pours.