Brace Yourself…

There is a lot going on in the craft beer world these days. From a record number of breweries in the country to states getting on board with the movement as more than a fad. In Florida, things seem to be moving at breakneck speed. It seems like every week I hear about a new brewery or craft beer bar in the Tampa Bay area, and now growlers are being filled at retail outlets! This is madness! And I mean that in the best way possible. In our legislature, the fight is still on to strip away the anti-small-business growler restrictions (as well as block the equally anti-small business tasting room guest tap restrictions). I think the big guys see the writing on the wall, and while some are rushing to embrace it and be part of it, others will continue to fight to maintain their increasingly tenuous grasp on total control. But I like our chances this year…

We are also moving close and closer to the Big Event… Tampa Bay Beer Week. In its third year now, I think we are going to see the game stepped up yet again. More breweries, more events, more participation. And a few other very cool additions that I can’t reveal just yet… but stay tuned. I will have all of the details. You can already see some of your choices listed on the Events page for the week. I recommend planning ahead, and getting tickets to your favorites early. These events will sell out, I have no doubt.

But while you are plotting and planning for March, there are some other things before that to look at, too.

February 1 – Localtopia

Okay, so it is not a beer event, per se, but it certainly embodies the craft beer ethos.  This is a free, outdoor celebration of “all things local.” Live music, art, crafts, food, and – yes – a beer garden with local craft beers.  They posted this just a few days ago:

The craft beer supporter/superstar that is Brett Andress of The Ale and the Witch will be helping us finalize the tap list this afternoon. *Beer lovers are going to drool over the offerings from the 15 breweries from St. Pete and around Florida you’ll find on the Drink Like A Local draft beer truck!*

We’ve partnered with Tampa Bay Beer Week, that takes place a month after our event and will feature several events in St. Pete. Their volunteers will make up the majority of those pouring beer. They’ll help answer questions about the brews and we’ll also have info sheets available on each one.

The fantastic folks at The Brew Bus – Tampa Bay are providing a special Localtopia shuttle for our Tampa friends with round trip services from Cigar City Brewing – – $10 gets you safe transportation and a craft beer from Brew Bus Brewing on board.

February 6 – Ale & the Witch Turns 3
The Ale & the Witch

St. Pete’s premier American craft beer bar is having her third anniversary! Nearly 8000 kegs later, over 1200 musical performances (all free), and creating one of the most vibrant spots in all of Downtown St. Pete, the Witch has every right to celebrate.  Here’s the low-down:

In celebration of this date all of our 32 taps are just $3 each from 3pm (open) to Midnight (close)…. yep come enjoy a fine American Craft brew with us this day & so terrific to see so many local breweries which have opened in our area since we opened back in 2011.  Live music will be from 8-11pm with UNRB providing the fun.

February 16 – Eggs & Kegs #9: I Love Barrel Aged Beer

Cigar City teams up with LOKO Cuisine again for another fantastic culinary event.  You need to check out this menu!

This indulgent brunch includes 4-courses cooked with CCB’s barrel aged beers, 1 CCB pint (no snifters or guest taps), cider, or Beermosa, and some chocolate surprises. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at or CCB tasting room.

February 22 – 13th Annual Stogies & Stouts
Dunedin Brewery

Hands down one of my favorite events of the year. Ridiculous beers, great people, and always fun, talented musicians. I am especially excited to see that Ultraviolet Hippopotamus will be playing again this year. I also just like saying Ultraviolet Hippopotamus. 🙂 The event goes from 7pm until 11pm (or thereabouts) at is $35 for a ticket, or $45 if you want a food plate. Either way, you get a commemorative glass, a free cigar, and a truly impressive assortment of the Dark Side of beer.  Here is just a hint of what is to come…

  • Dunedin Brewery – 2013 Mundofolbick Imperial Stout
  • Dunedin Brewery/UV Hippo Collab – Stout for the Reaper – chocolate cherry milk stout
  • The Bruery – Tart of Darkness
  • Founders – Breakfast Stout
  • Cigar City – Rum Barrel Aged Marshal Zhukov
  • Hopping Frog / Fanø –  Natasha Røcks

and much, much more… But do not wait to get your tickets. This event sells out every year, and they will NOT let you in if you do not have a ticket. So go now. Buy your ticket. And if you don’t, you cannot say you were not warned! Click here now.

The is a lot to be excited about in the craft beer world, especially if you live in Florida. I look forward to the increased growth and expansion of the craft beer scene here!


~ by Sean Nordquist on January 29, 2014.

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