One does not simply drink beer during beer week.
We are mere days away from the 5th Annual Tampa Bay Beer Week, and as every year, this one looks to top the last. There has been a confluence of awesome in the Tampa Bay area in recent years, from the sheer number of breweries opening (over 60 now, by some counts), to the appearance of new brands from around the world on our shelves, to the inclusion of excellent craft brews in local restaurants, working in tandem with an explosion of foodie culture, a desire for quality products, and good old fashion entrepreneurship. There has never been a better time to be a beer lover in Tampa Bay.
So the question I get asked every year is: what events should I go to?
And every year, I tell people to search within themselves. Only they can answer that question. Either that or go look at the Events list on the Tampa Bay Beer Week web page. There really is something for everyone, from tap takeovers and full blown festivals, to lavish beer dinners, and even bizarre events like circus freaks and sumo wrestling!
First things first, however, some shameless plugs for Beer Week itself. Once again, there is an official TBBW beer! The 2016 Beer Week beer was brewed by Coppertail Brewing, and is a Guava Passionfruit Florida Weisse. It will be draught only, and available throughout the Bay Area. We will be pouring it at several festivals ourselves, so come have a taste and say hello!
It will also be very helpful to know where everything is! To help with that, our friends at Brewery Bay have created a very handy map of all of the breweries in the Tampa Bay Area. You can find it here.
I also encourage you to visit and say thank you to our sponsors. These are the front line of the beer culture in Tampa Bay, who make, distribute, and sell it to the “fourth tier”… the consumer. Tampa Bay Beer Week is about beer and beer culture. While we have some incredible beer being brewed here, there are also some amazing things being done in other parts of the country and the rest of the world. Expand your horizons. Try something new. You might just discover your new favorite!
For the full list of events submitted to us, check out the official Events Page. There is a good chance more will be added, so keep checking back! Here are just a few that I am excited about coming in the next few days. I’ll add more later. I really wish I could be at every single one!
Friday, March 4th
The Ultimate Brewer – Rapp Brewing, Seminole
I have already primed you for this, but now it is here. This is THE official kick off party for Tampa Bay Beer Week, organized and put on and sponsored by the TBBW Board of Directors. The Ultimate Brewer is going to be a party like no other. Get your tickets now!
Saturday, March 5th
Florida Brewer’s Guild Fest – Cotahowbee Park, Tampa
The Florida Brewer’s Guild is a nonprofit trade association committed to preserving the rights and interests of all craft brewers throughout the state. The guild encourages all sectors of the industry to come together under the common principles of advocacy, education and good old fashioned brewing. This year is the 20th year of their festival, showcasing brewers from all around the state. It is always a great time, and an opportunity to try some great beers from the Sunshine State. One of the hallmarks of this event is that the beers are poured by the brewers or representatives of the brewery, not volunteers. This allows you to talk with someone about the beer in depth. It is truly a special event.
Sunday, March 6th
Best Florida Beer Championship Brewer’s Ball – Water Works, Tampa
Want to know what the best beer in Florida is? Find the finest of your favorite style? Discover a new favorite beer? Or taste what the best homebrewers in Florida are doing? This is the event for you! The Ball features live music and samples of the Gold Medal winning beers from the Best Florida Beer Championships commercial competition. Best of Show Awards are announced for the Homebrew and Commercial competitions. There will also be a homebrew keg competition and Awesome Beer Raffle.
Monday, March 7th
There are several great choices for this evening’s enjoyment; a little something for everyone.
Beer vs. Bourbon Dinner – The Mill, St. Petersburg
You are invited as The Mill presents Beer vs. Bourbon Dinner, featuring Barley Mow Brewing Company and Angels Envy bourbon! Executive Chef Ted Dorsey will create a one-of-a-kind dinner menu, to be paired with amazing beers and special bourbon cocktails designed by mix master, Ryan Pines. Dorsey and Pines, along with representatives from Barley Mow and Angels Envy will be on-hand to engage with guests. This is a limited ticket event, so reserve your spot now!
Bourbon not your thing? What about cheese?
Beer & Cheese Pairing – Six Ten Brewing, Tampa
Join Six Ten Brewing for the 2nd annual TBBW Beer & Cheese Pairing. This year they are teaming up with Jug & Bottle Dept. who will host the curd size of the pairing while owner/brewer Chris Johnson guides you through the brews. There will be two seatings this year at 5:30pm and 8:00pm. Tickets may be purchased at the brewery or by phone. Seating is limited, and they sold out last year, so you’d better get in while you can!
Tuesday, March 8th
Tampa Bay Brewing Company Beer Dinner – Tampa Bay Brewing Company, Ybor
I say it every year, and I still mean it. No beer week is complete without a beer-pairing dinner, and Tampa Bay Brewing Company does it right. I have attended every one of these since the first Beer Week, and they just get better every year. This is a six-course meal, each course paired with a select beer from TBBC’s lineup. Attendees can expect the brewers and chef to be on hand to discuss food and beer pairing, and this year two lucky people will receive lifetime mug club memberships!
I will post again in a few days to cover the rest of the week! I hope to see you out and about, enjoying this amazing week.
And if you happen to be watching television tomorrow (Wednesday, March 2nd) in the morning, look for me on Studio 10 Live (channel 10 here in Tampa Bay) talking about Beer Week and sampling some great beer with Stephanie Webb and a special guest host!