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Coppertail Brewing

Big-a** brew day for Big-a** brew fest

Brewers from around Tampa Bay collaborate on beer for the Bad Ass Brew Fest

Recently Southern Brewing & Winemaking (Southern) hosted a collaboration brew day in honor of the Bad A** Beerfest put on by Tampa Bay Brewing Company.

Tampa Bay Brewing Company (TBBC) teamed up with Southern, Cigar City Brewpub, Barley Mow, Coppertail, Green Bench, and Big Storm to brew six recipes that will be released at the Bad A** Beerfest on June 28th. All six brews will be on tap together under one tent at the festival.

The actual brewing took place at Southern on Friday, June 6th. Craft beer fans wee invited to come hang out in the Southern biergarten and watch the brewing process. Southern was chosen as the brewday location due to the brewery’s unique small batch set-up that allows for six batches to be brewed at the same time.

The six collaborations brewed for the festival include:

TBBC and Cigar City Brewpub: Weizenbock
TBBC and Barley Mow: Big IPA
TBBC and Coppertail: Saison
TBBC and Green Bench: Belgian Dubbel
TBBC and Big Storm: Smoked Scotch Ale

For the final brew, TBBC, CCB Brewpub, Barley Mow, Coppertail, Greenbench, Big Storm, and Southern all independently chose some malt and hops and threw them together for a unique and surprising amalgam brew.

Southern was involved with all of brews that day, so one keg of each of the beers brewed for the festival will also be available on tap in the Southern taproom later this month.

About Bad A** Beerfest
Tampa Bay Brewing Company (TBBC) of Ybor City will hold the first annual Bad A** Beerfest on June 28, 2014, on the site of their new brewery and restaurant in the Westchase area of Tampa, FL at 13937 Monroe’s Business Park. The craft beer festival is a celebration of the groundbreaking of the TBBC Westchase location and will showcase at least 20 local breweries, TBBC food, live music, and other entertainment. Proceeds of the event will benefit the Wounded Warriors of Tampa and South Florida.

About Southern Brewing & Winemaking
Located in Seminole Heights, Southern Brewing & Winemaking is a small, local craft brewery that makes and serves beers, ciders, meads, and sodas on site. The taproom has 24 taps and is located inside the conjoined homebrewing and winemaking supply shop.

Southern Brewing & Winemaking brings in weekly food trucks and musicians, offers monthly classes on home brewing, and hosts events throughout the year in their newly redesigned biergarten.

Coppertail Brewing photo gallery

Coppertail Brewing Logo on Wood

Guest Post: Thanksgiving Traditions, Grub, and Brews with Robb from Coppertail

Coppertail Brewing Logo on WoodIn the olden days back in Minnesota, before I was officially “of drinking age,” we used to celebrate the poultry centric holiday with a few glasses of “Franzia Blush”…out of a box. But hey it sure beat Michelob Golden Light out of a can, Blatz, and this other tableside staple referred to in our family as “Morgan Davis” (Mogen David wine.) Try asking for “Morgan Davis” at a liquor store and let the ridicule begin, I know firsthand.

Thankfully, I discovered the joy of craft beer (then called microbrew) around the time Nirvana’s “Smells like teen spirit” started blaring out of my maroon Dodge 600’s windows. After the light-bulb went on a six pack or three of Summit Brewing’s finest would be hidden away in the basement refrigerator of my parent’s home. A few brave relatives would even ask for a pull (or a whole bottle), usually after a few glasses of liquid courage poured out of a box. Strangely this event occurred each year around the time John Madden and Pat Summerall dug into the turducken.

Twenty some years and 1500 miles later our Thanksgiving traditions have changed. Being down in Florida with my longtime sweetheart Lisa, and with her sister and family in close proximity, our large family gatherings are now much smaller. Gone are the lefse (which is a tasty Norwegian potato flatbread), and thank goodness- the pickled herring and the odiferous lutefisk are no longer with us. Vino still makes an appearance but it comes in the form of a decent and user friendly red.

Craft beer now dominates our Thanksgiving hooch bounty for a couple of different reasons. We really enjoy it for one and quality suds pair extraordinarily well with food. Also homebrew is poured through more taps than I’m willing to admit and somebody has to pretend like they enjoy it.

According to legend, one of the main reasons those thirsty pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock was because they ran out of ale. So we’re actually celebrating the spirit of the holiday when we crack open another frosty cold one. That excuse is usually recited later in the evening.

Anyway on to the food and beer

Smoked turkey breast is the protein du jour. Two or three boneless breasts grace the table and one is injected with apple juice and at least one is injected with Frank’s Red Hot sauce-the original buffalo wing sauce. Liberally dry-rubbed, they are smoked over apple wood.

Delicate with fruit overtones and moderately smoky, they do best with a brew doesn’t overpower. Belgian (and American) wits and strong ales both pair perfectly, the fruity esters (from the yeast) really compliment the meat. Allagash White, and Florida Brewing Co.’s Key West Sunset Wheat are solid selections as is Delirium Tremens.

Many flavors are contained within the plethora of side dishes. Sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberries, and stuffing all surround the good bird. Food friendly and versatile ambers, reds, pale ales, and brown ales work well. New Belgium’s Fat Tire, Cigar City’s Maduro Brown, and Summit Brewing Co.’s Extra Pale Ale fit the bill.

Rich deserts, usually in the form of Pecan and Pumpkin pie, complete the caloric odyssey and a special brew is required to help wash down all that decadence. Pumpkin beers make wonderful choices, as do winter warmers, chocolate beers, fruit beers, and Wee Heavies. Stouts and porters do the trick too. Tampa Bay Brewing Co.’s Gourds Gone Wild, Pensacola Bay’s Lighthouse Porter, Great Divide’s Claymore Scotch Ale, Rogue’s Chocolate Stout, and of course Cigar City’s Hunahpu Stout do those pies proud. To counteract that tryptophan and stay away for that second NFL game pick up a growler of Dunedin Brewery’s Biere’ de Café.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving and cheers!

Robb Larson

Coppertail is an up and coming Tampa Bay brewery that should be opening in March 2014. You can follow their progress on their brewery blog or here on TBBN! We wrote about them back in May of 2013.


Coppertail Brewing Company logo

Coppertail Brewing

Coppertail Brewing Pilot Brewhouse

Coppertail Brewing Pilot Brewhouse

I wasn’t prepared for this. I was expecting two guys in a part of a run-down warehouse, not two guys trying to fill an entire run-down warehouse. Also, I’m nervous. It’s my first interview with an honest to goodness brewery.

I showed up on a lazy Monday afternoon at Coppertail’s new-to-them digs just on the North side of Adamo drive near IKEA. I almost missed the place. Kent’s instructions to “just park on 26th” led me to believe that there would be street parking, or maybe a parking lot. But there wasn’t. Once I hit 2nd avenue, I knew I had missed it. As I reversed back down 26th towards Adamo into one of the half-a-dozen spots in a covered parking area, I saw it: the sign on the door. In letters barely 2 inches tall: “Coppertail Brewing Company”. That is the only small thing in this place.

Robb arrived at the highly secured front door and showed me into the offices, which felt as if they had only been renovated yesterday. In reality it wasn’t yesterday, but a few months ago. Think grey and neutral colors. This doesn’t feel like a brewery. It feels like a tech startup. There’s very little furniture. There are boxes from office supply stores and Grainger on the floor. Plans on conference room tables. On a windowsill in the conference room (they have a massive conference room!) is the only sign of beer: a design comp for a label, and a bottle with said comp realized and printed onto it.

Kent walks in and invites me and Robb to join him for his afternoon beer break. And this is how it begins: insight into the minds of two guys on a mission to put it all on the line and make their living doing what they love. It’s not cliché because it’s real: these guys are doing it. After a few handshakes and introductions, we’re on our way.

The first stop on our tour is the storage facility, which currently houses the keezers keeping the pilot batches and secret ingredients ready for sampling. Kent explains that their first few years in operation will be dedicated to bottling, because it’s the most cost effective way for them to get started. This massive space – probably at least 5,000 square feet, and only a small fraction of the rest of the facility – will hold the bottles, cardboard, and eventually cans needed to keep them bottling at capacity. Also it’s a lot easier to add a canning line later than additional brewhouse capacity later. Something about adding more pipes, drains, and the like. More on that later.

Kent sneaks away to a second keezer and comes back with a silvery Mylar bag the size of a lap dog. It’s not labeled, and still sealed. Kent has a devilish look in his eye: “These are some hops Casey wants to experiment with.” He gently tears the bag open. Air fills the bag and I get the faint scent of citrus and grass: those are some incredible hop pellets. We all take huge drags off the bag, relishing the heady scent. I actually bite into a few. It’s a good time.

Casey Hughes, fresh off his job as head brewer at Flying Fish in New Jersey, is Coppertail’s head brewer. Kent and Robb can’t speak highly enough of him. Casey’s coming down this summer and while he’s known for his Belgian beers, that won’t be their focus here at Coppertail. Pilot batches are still fermenting, but there is talk of lagers, bocks, and amber ales, with some wild stuff thrown in to keep it fresh; but the word of the day is balance. They’re striving for balance in their lineup.

Balance is not something these guys inherently have. Seriously, I’m beginning to think they’re a little nuts. They’re going all in. They both love beer so much that they’re giving up their careers, personal lives, and fortunes to open this place. They have graduated from home brewing directly to regional brewing. They came up with the scratch to get into a 50 barrel brewhouse with plans to brew up to 15,000 barrels in the first year. That’s not a typo. It takes a lot of space to brew 15,000 barrels of beer. Coppertail has it.

The second part of our tour takes me to the home for the brewhouse. It’s more than 10,000 square feet of covered area. You could literally build two or three single family homes under this roof, it’s enormous. But people aren’t going to live under this roof, at least not for shelter, maybe for beer. This will be 10,000 square feet of just brewing and fermenting equipment. Kent’s a little disappointed that they weren’t able to place their order for the brewhouse until April; they had originally planned to order it in February, but just couldn’t make it happen then. With the delay on their side and all of the demand for brewhouses from craft breweries opening up around the country, Coppertail is facing a six-month lead time on theirs. In the mean time, they’ll keep brewing pilot batches, building a base, and honing their craft.

The space next to the brewhouse is even bigger: nearly 15,000 square feet. Robb and Kent have big plans for this space too: parking, huge windows into the brewhouse, and access to a rooftop biergarten. By my calculations, Cigar City at its birth could fit into this building alone twice: and there are three more buildings.

Cigar City, home to Tampa’s Patron Saint of Beer Joey Redner, isn’t looking at Coppertail as a competitor. As a matter of fact, Joey and Kent have been in touch. The unwritten pact: produce good beer and we’re going to get along just fine. Bring down the craft in this area, and we’ll have problems.

The craft for Coppertail begins with Robb Larson. Robb is your prototypical beer-geek. As a matter of fact, he is Taylor Eason’s beer blogger. This guy knows his beer. Every style you can think of: he has brewed it or thought about brewing it. Robb hails from Minnesota and his passion is beer, but his profession was personal trainer. That’s how he met Kent.

Kent Bailey is (or rather was) a business attorney. Kent faced an existential crisis, as many of us do as we reach that certain point in our lives. Kent found happiness while tailgating with Robb at the Trop, drinking a home brew. As the first pitch was thrown, so was Kent: he didn’t want to leave his beer behind. He found his passion and it wasn’t just drinking beer.

Ever the capitalist, Kent took the lead and began assembling resources: the building; the brewer; the plans and permits. Robb brings the beer experience and vision. Both gave it all up to start this brewery. And talk about stories: theirs is just beginning.

Coppertail Brewing plans to officially open before the end of 2013. Brewing starts in earnest this summer. Stay tuned to TBBN as we watch this fledgling brewery take shape.