Monthly Archives: January 2014

Fruit In The Room, January 28, 2014

2014 Fruit in the Room Preview

Fruit In The Room, January 28, 2014

I got a chance to talk to Tim Ogden earlier today at Cigar City Brewpub about the upcoming event on January 28th. We sat down at the bar amidst some renovations; an opening up of the brewpub to accommodate additional 3 barrel fermenters that will increase production and flow thought the restaurant. Tim expressed his interest at hosting Fruit in the Room annually as it was the first two years after its conception. It’s been difficult to lock in until recently, what with the brewery’s expansion and the opening of the new tasting room. Now that the brewpub is settled in the chance has finally arrived. Fruit in the Room is but three days away and with but a fifth of the tickets for the event remaining, excitement builds. The tap list has been finalized for all scheduled breweries but Tim makes a point to say that there might be some last minute breweries arriving for the big day.

The taplist has some very attractive beers from a number of breweries. On the top of my list however is a treatment of the 2014 Hunahpu on Mixed Berries, Tim’s own Cherry Creek Wheat Wine, Life is Like, and 7venth Sun’s Mango FYA.

As posted in the Facebook event page, this is the final taplist:

– CCB Mixed Berry Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout (2014)
– CCB Life is Like…Chocolate Cherry Bourbon Barrel-aged Imperial Stout
– CCB Rum White Oak Pineapple IPA
– CCB Strawberry Lemon Florida Weisse
– CCB Strawberry Muffin Brown Ale
– CCB Sour Lemon IPA
– CCB Imperial Right Side Up Pineapple Cake
– CCB Habanero Mango IPA
– CCB Guanabana Guava Sour
– CCB Passionfruit Guava Sour
– CCB Watermelon Florida Weisse
– CCB Rum French Oak Vanilla Cherry American Porter
– CCBrewpub Cherry Creek Wheat Wine (also available in cans to go!)
– CCBrewpub Carrolwood Cougar
– CCBrewpub Strawberry Mango White IPA on cask
– 7venth Sun Barrel-aged Red D’or (brewed with raspberries and aged in barrels)
– 7venth Sun Mango FYA
– Angry Chair Spread the Jam Tart Raspberry Ale
– B. Nektar Meadery Necromangocon (mead with mango and black pepper)
– The Brew Bus Detour Series Lemon IPA
– The Brew Bus Detour Series Blood Orange IPA
– Swamp Head Blueberry Cottonmouth Wit
– Rivertowne Hala Kahiki Pineapple Beer

As with the previous Fruit in the Room events, the brewpub will be hosting some amazing fruits from three local farms; Kumquat Growers from Dade City,Tomazin Farm from Samsula, and King Family Farm from Myakka. This was a personal favorite of mine at events past. It introduces some to fruits they haven’t experienced before and others to the high quality fruits we grew up on from some remarkable local growers. The fruit also provides an excellent pallet cleanse and a very nice accent to the ways that the different fruits ferment.

After we finished talking about Fruit in the Room, Tim mentioned some of the awesome beers the brewpub will be presenting at Hunahpu’s day. Included is a treatment of Leon’s Grandson’s It’s My Birthday Barley Wine in a Four Roses Barrel. I for one can’t wait. And for anyone who doesn’t have a Hunahpu’s day ticket yet, there are tickets reserved for purchase for all those attending Fruit in the Room.

Wild Rover Shepherds Pie Throwdown to Benefit Wounded Warrior Foundation

Beef and Lamb Shepherd's Pie with Guinness

Keystone brewpub Wild Rover hosts its first annual Shepherd’s Pie Throwdown this Sunday February 9th at 1:00pm. They’re expecting at least 8 different home-made entries from local Anglophiles. Winners receive a prize (to be determined), a trophy, and the everlasting glory of their name behind the bar. There is no charge to enter your pie.

Judges – and who wouldn’t want to be a judge here, I mean Shepherds Pie and fresh beer!  must pay the $10 judging fee, all of which is donated to the Wounded Warrior project. Judges get to sample the pies and vote for the winner. Beer is not included in the event, but is available at the bar.

Exciting Times: Tampa Bay Brew News takes over @BeerTampa Twitter Account

A fantastic opportunity came across my desk today to further expand the mission of Tampa Bay Brew News. Jeff from @HopCloth, long time maintainer of the @BeerTampa Twitter account, has decided to move on from blogging about the local Tampa Bay beer scene and focus on his business making awesome beer t-shirts. He saw enough promise in the TBBN mission and the things happening here to see fit to transfer that account to Tampa Bay Brew News.

That being said, here’s the plan: I am going to transition to the @BeerTampa twitter account. All of you who currently follow @TBBrewNews – move over! I’d like to make the switch complete before Beer Week.

Thanks again to Jeff and HopCloth. You’ll always have a place to blog at Tampa Bay Brew News.


The Brass Tap logo

Tampa Bay Brass Tap Locations to offer Growler Fills

The Brass Tap logoStarting this week, Tampa Bay locations of the Brass Tap will offer growler fills of from all of their taps with limited exceptions. Prices for standard 32 ounce growler fills will be between $7 and $16. They will only fill their own labeled growlers – so you can’t re-use a brewery’s growler. Brass Tap growlers will be available for $7. No news yet on 128 ounce growlers.

The locations offering growler fills include: Wiregrass, Brandon, Lakeland, Downtown St. Pete, Carollwood, and Trinity.

Brass Tap’s entry into this market is a big deal – the location in Brandon alone has – and I kid you not, I lost count at 30 – more than 30 taps. The variety of beer now available in a growler to the Tampa Bay beer drinking public is immense. Among those 30 are a number of local breweries and some international beers.

Brass Tap joins ABC Liquors which started filling growlers last year.

The Wild Rover

The Wild Rover Brewhouse

The place was empty when I walked in. It was quiet – the AFC playoffs were on the TV in the background, but other than that: nothing. Maybe it was closed. Maybe I was intruding on this guy’s private time. The proprietor – Derrick – stood at the end of the bar, messing with his iPad. I thought they would be open – he just posted on his Facebook page that he recently tapped their RIS Czarina Czarina. I was looking forward to trying that. But then I saw it – the bar – the half-dozen or so taps were okay, but beyond that – the four casks – and three of them were pouring. It was my lucky day.

I took my seat at the bar and struck up a conversation with the barman. Business was great – Friday night was packed, not a seat in the house. Yep, they keep the casks fresh. Yep, they have a food menu. Oh, the food menu. Honest-to-goodness pasties. I looked up, then around. I felt like I was in a British pub. Wainscoting? Check. Casks? Check. Fireplace? Check. British beer advertisements? Check. Industrial park? NOPE. This place was not in an industrial park, but rather a strip mall in way northern Hillsborough county. Keystone to be exact. Not England. And Derek – a transplant from Sussex. That’s in England y’all.

Derek then introduced me to Ricky, brewmaster and son of the owner. Ricky looks the part of a brewer: big belly, big beard. Just like me. Ricky’s kind of an island here – he’s not a member of any local homebrew clubs. He’s self-taught. When I asked him where he learned how to brew, he quietly replied “the garage.”

I chatted with them both while I devoured my chicken tikka masala pasty and “John’s Coffin” cask ale – the cask version of “John Barleywine Must Die”. Fitting names. Chicken Tikka Masala Pasty and John's Coffin Cask Ale

I was too excited to take pictures of the rest of the place, but let me tell you this: Derek hand built it all, including the fireplace (his father was a mason), and it is beautiful. It’s smallish but definitely a neat place. While I was there, we saw a bunch of people come and go – couples, people in the industry coming from other brewpubs to wind down after work, and a few just “curious” folks.

And casks – did I mention they have FOUR of them? While I was there, three were live. The other taps were filled with a wide variety of pub-style brews including Saison and ESB varieties. There was an IPA on draught, but if you’re looking for a bunch of hoppy beers, you may be disappointed.

One of the best things about this place is the character. Loads of it. From the pictures on the wall signed by the last surviving WWII Spitfire pilots to the subtle music references in the beer names – this place has depth.

It may be out of your way, but if you’re looking for what I think is the most authentic British pub experience in Tampa Bay, this is it.


Southern Brewing and Wine Expands Growler Program

Growlers from Southern Brewing and Winemaking

Growlers from Southern Brewing and Winemaking

I’ve written about Southern a few times before – no secret they’re one of my favorite places to go get stuff for my HH (homebrew habit). I seldom make time to stop in for a beer, even though I know they make great stuff. Well, that’s not a problem any longer – seems like they now offer growler fills for all their beers. That’s right, kids, even seasonals, sodas, and limited releases will be offered in growlers. Now when I’m shopping for grains and stuff I be able to fill up a growler for my brew-day consumption. Good times.

For more information about what’s on tap, you’ll have to call the taproom on 813-237-7800; or better yet – just stop by.



Tampa Airport Named #6 Best Airport for Beer Snobs


A woman pours a drink in mourning of the incredible loss TIA faced in December 2013. Image from the Thrillist.

Tampa International Airport was ROBBED last month when the title of #1 best airport for beer snobs was given to San Diego International Airport. Robbed, I tell you. We have the ONLY AIRPORT IN THE COUNTRY with an active brewery within it. How could we not win? I mean, there is no fresher beer out there than beer brewed in the same place it is intended to be consumed!

Next year – I say we gun for #1. Maybe that means we need another brewery on premises?