The Bay Area, especially Saint Petersburg, is getting more and more attention from the craft brewing world. Just a few weeks ago, the Tampa Bay edition of Creative Loafing had a multi-page spread, introducing the brewers at several local breweries. In July, “The Pour Fool” website (they describe themselves as “What To Drink From The Northwest and The World”) named Tampa Bay as the number one emerging beer town in the country. Most of the breweries mentioned in both articles are located in Pinellas County, and a number of those are all in downtown St. Pete. These are a few of the locals that are not to be missed!
Green Bench Brewing
The first thing you’ll notice upon entering this brewery is how strikingly well designed it is. Green Bench has a fantastic space, and they use it very well. Large windows take up most of the front wall of the tasting room, which is filled with hand crafted details down to the light fixtures and wall paintings. They have a beautiful outdoor area that is regularly filled with bon fires, live music, projected movies and sports, cornhole matches, pretty much anything you can think of. Florida natives and Saint Petersburg enthusiasts will enjoy their nods to local traditions and history, both in décor and in the names of the beers themselves. The Surrealist Sour IPA and Skyway Wheat are both great choices, and almost always available on tap here.
Cycle moved to downtown St. Pete after its start at Peg’s Mexican Cantina in Gulfport. Their space has an industrial feel, and it is a bit more intimate than some of the other breweries in the area. Bicycle parts and sculptures fill the walls, taps, and themes of the beers. Their Fixie session IPA (a lower-alcohol IPA) has become a staple in local restaurants, with good reason. It’s a perfect everyday drinkable Florida beer. Doug Dozark, the brewer, was quoted in the Creative Loafing article about it, saying, “if there is a flagship beer, that’s it.” With a flagship like the Fixie, they’re certain to have a successful ‘ride.’ Make a stop at an ATM prior to visiting, though, they only accept cash.
3 Daughters Brewing
3 Daughters is the largest of the downtown St. Pete breweries. Their open floorplan allows you to enjoy a beer while watching the brewers work in the warehouse. The brewery has ample room for games like table-top shuffle board and jenga, a stage space for live music, and even an 18-hole putt-putt course. Favorite beers at 3 Daughters include their Beach Blonde Ale, the Brown Pelican Dunkelweizen, and recently released Channel Marker Red. 3 Daughters also offers a selection of guest taps from other St. Pete and Tampa breweries, in addition to their own beers.
St Pete Brewing Company
One of the newest of the downtown Saint Petersburg breweries, St. Pete Brewing, is quickly putting itself on the beer map in the area. Their Milo’s IPA gets better (and hoppier) with every batch, and Jon, the brewer, is regularly releasing seasonal varieties and collaborative brews. Their newest seasonal, the Drop Dead Gourd-eous pumpkin beer, is brewing now, and will be available soon. The bar is open and light, and features some beautiful, locally crafted woodwork and details, down to the skate board-chalk board beer list (the space used to house a skate board shop). Once a month, they host a cupcake night, featuring one of their beers incorporated in the cupcakes. Next time you’re at a Rays game, ask for their St. Pete Orange Wheat, and you’ll get to try a new beer and support a local business!