Tampa Bay's Brewery Guide

#CLBeerFest 2015: Recap

This past Saturday night, I experienced my first ever Creative Loafing Beer Fest at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa.

On the days leading up to the event, I sort-of knew what to expect: three floors full of beer vendors — both local and not — and hundreds of beer-loving enthusiasts.

We arrived fashionably late and snaked our way through a full parking lot. We had to park on the curb (illegal? Maybe. Everyone was doing it.) We walked in, got our VIP wristbands and tasting glasses and headed in.

The museum was buzzing with excitement. It was considerably warm in the building, but that’s expected with that many people inside one space.

Perhaps one of the greatest parts of Beer Fest was the location. If the enormous dinosaur skeleton hanging from the ceiling wasn’t cool enough, there was a hurricane simulator (generating winds up to 78 MPH) and a tesla rod. Yes, I touched lightning. It was awesome.

Drunk people and science is a fascinating thing to watch.

What I tried

Beer was running out quickly, so we tried to make our rounds as quickly as possible. I tried some new ones, like Goose Island’s Urban Wheat Pale Ale and Blue Point’s Toasted Amber Lager.

I loved the New Belgium LOF Wild2 Dubbel and Three Palms High Five Floridaweiss. Both beers were very delicious and refreshing. Can you tell I like the lighter, wheat beers?

I decided to expand my horizons and try the Chai Spiced Imperial Stout from Stone Brewing Company. Let me tell you — it was every bit as chai as you’d want it to be (if you’re into chai.)

We also made our way outside to try one of the food trucks. We went with barbecue and weren’t disappointed.

What I missed

There simply wasn’t enough time to stand in line for every single pour, but there were a couple I really wanted to try and never got the chance.

  • Magic Hat’s Feast O Fools Raspberry Stout
  • Pair O’Dice‘s surprise pour
  • Rocky Mountain’s Pineapple Cider

In fact, the entire Cider Cafe was apparently a hot commodity, leaving much to be desired for the ones who didn’t make it in time before running out.

Overall, I thought it was a great event. Everyone around me looked happy (and a little drunk.) I thought all the local Tampa Bay breweries were represented nicely and were well received.

Special shoutout and thank you to Creative Loafing for the hookup. You guys put on a great event!