Tampa Bay Beer Week – Brewer’s Ball
Day two of Tampa Bay Beer Week was another smashing success, as the best of the best in Florida were represented at the Brewer’s Ball at Skipper’s Smokehouse in Tampa. The Best Florida Beer Championship is a “not for profit organization founded by craft beer lovers, homebrewers, and commercial brewers in the Tampa Bay area. Our goal is to promote the celebration and consumption of locally made craft-brewed beer in the state of Florida.” Every year, they hold two competitions: one for the best commercial beer in the state and the other for best homebrew. The competitions culminate at the Brewer’s Ball, a free-pouring, live music playing, celebration of all that is good about Florida beer.
This year, the following breweries were represented:
- A1A Ale Works – St. Augustine
- Alligator Brewing Company – Gainesville
- Charlie & Jake’s Brewery Grille – Melbourne
- Cigar City Brewing – Tampa
- Orlando Brewing – Orlando
- Pensacola Bay Brewery – Pensacola
- Saint Somewhere Brewing Company – Tarpon Springs
- Seventh Sun Brewing Company – Dunedin
- Shipyard Emporium – Winter Park
- Swamp Head Brewery – Gainesville
- Tampa Bay Brewing Company – Tampa
- Yuengling Brewery – Tampa
Thirty different gold-medal winning beers flows from the taps, and we were treated to a great show by the Damon Fowler Band. A lunch of chicken or fish and beans and rice and coleslaw was a nice addition.
In addition to the medals that the breweries received, there is also a “best in show” competition where the top three commercial beers, the top homebrewer, and the homebrew club with the most points get trophies. This year, the commercial winners were:
- First Place – Shipyard Emporium Wee Heavy, a peated Scotch ale.
- Second Place – Pensacola Brewing Light House Porter, a robust porter.
- Third Place – Cigar City Brewing Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout, an imperial stout
In addition to these amazing beers, some of the standouts (that I had never had before) for me were:
- Swamp Head Scieanhops, an imperial red
- Tampa Bay Brewing Company Smokin Mullet, a smoked IPA
- Charlie & Jake’s Harbor City Gold Lager, an American lager
This is one of those events you do not want to miss if you can help it. The people are great, the beers are fantastic, and the atmosphere is second to none. Kudos to all the brewers who were there, and a special congratulations to the winners of the Best Florida Beer Championships!