Tampa Bay's Brewery Guide

Staff Picks: Daryn

Being a St. Pete resident for only a little over a year now, I am still learning the lay of the land and becoming a true ‘Burg local. Coming from Ocala, where craft brewing is pretty much non-existent and having Bud Light on tap is somehow a selling point, the brewery scene in St. Pete has been extremely fulfilling.

Like Casey stated, anything beer-related when Chris is involved makes for a tough act to follow. Regardless, I simply consider myself a dude that enjoys unique environments, friends, beer that doesn’t suck and is also within close proximity to both work and home.

I’m A Creature of Habit

It’s true. When I find something I like—be it a restaurant or bar—I will go there over and over without fail. I have a pretty strong obsession with Bodega, for example. My favorite watering hole thus far has to be Cycle Brewery. Their selection is consistent and they are always changing things up to keep it fresh. If it comes around again, make sure to try the barrel-aged Rye Dos with Chilis (cue Keanu’s “woah”). Dark and smooth with some serious bite to it. Especially pleasing if you have an obsession for spicy things like myself. From there, my go-to beers are the Fixie IPA and Cream and Sugar Please when I want something sweet. If I happen to be at Peg’s Cantina in Gulfport, I’m almost always drinking the Ryerish Red to compliment whatever is on my plate (their burritos are awesome). The addition of rye makes for a unique flavor.

Let’s Shift Gears

When I’m not oogling over Cycle, I’m usually found at 3 Daughters Brewing. Despite being fairly new in town, the amount of care that they have put into their venue and brewing is unmatched and holds nothing back. Instead of putting a toe in the water to test things out, they made sure everyone wore their favorite outfits and then pushed them all off the dock. They’ve managed to put together a place (within walking distance of Big Sea Headquarters!) that mixes the rustic, intimate bar experience that I remember from places like Boston, with the backyard hangout touch. Pretty much half of their warehouse is an adult playground that also happens to be kid-friendly. When I’m looking for easy drinking while I’m playing darts (terribly), cornhole (kind of awesomely) or giant Jenga (I will lay waste to every opponent), the Beach Blonde Ale is where it’s at. It doesn’t try to reinvent anything but it’s an accessible choice that drinks smooth. If you’re looking for something darker and sweeter, the Summer Storm Stout is a good fallback. It goes down like silk and is accentuated with hints of chocolate and dark coffee.

If you need a place to drink good beer while bonding with colleagues or unwinding with friends (which is one in the same here at Big Sea), this is the place to do it. Ping pong tables, cornhole, darts, those curling table things, and—my personal favorite—giant Jenga.

Future Beer Endeavors

On the list of places I’d like to visit more often is St. Pete Brewing Company. They’ve got a great space that has a roll top entry similar to Cycle’s, and the beers I’ve tried were pretty good to boot. If you want something fresh that doesn’t try to reinvent itself, the St. Pete Orange Wheat is a solid choice. If you need a standby, there’s the Milo’s IPA; a beer that also has a nice background story to match (third item down).

Oh yeah, and they have a Nintendo 64 with Mario Kart and Turok which pretty much seals the deal since mine is still in storage. I will also say that my childhood kart skills have not carried over well into adulthood (ask Chris). If you want to make a little beer money, come race me in Mario Kart and place bets. Just kidding; I am not that stupid. If you’re not into video games, they also have Jenga, Battleship and Connect Four. Nods to my childhood everywhere I look and I get to drink beer while reminiscing? Sold.

Adventure Time

Although my spectrum right now is pretty limited, I’m eager to branch out and explore the expansive spread of breweries around the Bay. It’s a good thing I’ve got this here handy website to help me out with that and I hope all of you fellow beer drinkers and visitors find it as useful as we do. Cheers!