Tampa Bay's Brewery Guide

Staff Picks: Chris

I am a huge fan of the craft beer scene here in the Tampa Bay area. At least once a month I try to visit a brewery, whether it is new-to-me or one of the many new breweries opening all the time. I also tend to buy flights when I go to these breweries; I try a large variety in a short amount of time, which doesn’t make it easy for me to pick any favorites! But I’ll give it a shot (no pun intended). In no particular order:

The “Dunedin Pub Crawl”

It is very hard for me to list Dunedin Brewery (website) without also including 7venth Sun (website), and vice versa. Both of these breweries are located in downtown Dunedin, walking distance from each other. Whenever I’m at one, I almost always make an effort to also swing by the other to see what’s on tap.

Dunedin Brewery is right across the street from a large public parking lot. This makes them a great start (or end) to any time in Dunedin. They offer a wide variety of “standard” beers, made for any palette, as well as a diverse collection of limited brews that are regularly rotating. Combine this with guest taps in their “annex” towards the front of the building, great pub fair (good tacos, too!), live music, and a nice outdoor patio… it’s always a “go to” for me.

I prefer their Red Ale (a medium-bodied Amber, that is not too hoppy and goes down nice). Another great choice (if you like coffee, at least) is the Bière de Café, a brown ale made with coffee and chocolate; smooth, easy, with a nice kick.

After visiting Dunedin Brewery for dinner, I usually walk over to 7venth Sun. They have a smaller variety, typically specializing in Belgian and sour beers, and a wide variety of their beers on tap tend to be aged in barrels. I usually swing by to see what’s new, but also hope to see some of my favorites on tap, which include IPAs like Mangrove IPA and Intergalactic, as well as my all time favorite from them, a Hazelnut Brune that I haven’t seen in quite a while.

Combine both of those with an end-cap at the Dunedin House of Beer (927 Broadway, Dunedin), and you have a trifecta of a great night out.

Then Off to Ybor

Heading East away from Dunedin, on the opposite side of Tampa Bay in a little section of town called Ybor, lies the Tampa Bay Brewing Company (website). This brewery is an absolute staple on my trips over to Ybor. They are definitely a restaurant and have that atmosphere – but have a great selection of beers too, including guest taps. A wide variety of their menu items are cooked with their beer as well, and it’s all delicious.

Barleywines are among my top styles, and TBBC has Moose Killer, which is among my favorites, though be warned because it’s quite strong, clocking in at 12% ABV. Another mainstay for me (if I’m out with friends and want to have more than one beer) is the Red Eye Amber Ale. The Red Eye is hoppy, so if you’re not a big fan of hoppy beers, I don’t suggest it. I might direct you towards the True Blonde, or the Wild Warthog HefeWeizen, which should be more to your liking.

However, having to drive all the way to Ybor for TBBC is usually accompanied with other plans, but they recently announced a new location on Race Track Road in Westchase, which is in my own backyard. So I’ll be frequenting Tampa Bay Brewing Company far more often once this new one opens up!

And Now for Something Completely Different

I’ve only been to Rapp Brewing (website) once, but my time there was spent being blown away at the wide variety of beers they had on tap. They brew small batches, but they have about 20 different beers on tap, many styles of which I can almost guarantee you have never heard of! They delve deep into the history of Eastern Europe to pull styles out, and they do them well.

My one time there involved a flight of 5 different beers, but they offer flights of various size to entice you to try everything they offer. Everything I tried was just great, and I’m certainly looking forward to going again. Unfortunately I can’t remember which beers I tried to offer a particular beer of choice, but believe me when I say this: get a flight and try them all!

Last, but not least, is another place I’ve unfortunately only visited once. The Wild Rover Pub and Brewery (website) in Keystone is definitely going to become a regular place of mine. From my impression they generally brew British styles of beer. Focusing on milds, ESBs, and cask conditioned brews, they are definitely easy to drink, and if you’re not used to the English style (do you like beers like Hobgoblin or Newcastle?), you may not be a fan. But there is a decent selection and you’ll find something you like.

The Wild Rover had a food truck visiting while I was there, and we grabbed some food to go with our flights. My personal favorites were the Mild Rover, a very mild brew that was exactly what I needed that night, and “Rye-ders on the Storm”, a Rye Ale. I absolutely love the Rye Ale style, but again, it’s not necessarily for everyone, as it packs quite a punch!

As I explore more and more breweries, I’m sure I’ll have some more favorites that I’ll mention in the future. I’ve only visited probably about 50% of the breweries here in Tampa, and some of them I haven’t had a real chance to explore the diversity of what they have to offer. I’m looking forward to trying more brews, starting with this weekend!