When I first moved down here to the Tampa Bay area in 2005, I was shocked and disappointed. I had moved here from the very fine beer environment of Philadelphia, only to find that my options for beer were basically Yuengling, Guiness, and a handful of random European beers. The beer scene was not only barren, it was non-existent. Well five years later, a number of great beer haunts have opened and/or expanded. Some of my favorites include: Mr Dunderbak's, New World Brewery, Datz Deli, Cigar City Brewery, the Independent, and Peg's Cantina. This area went from practically no beer, to having a bunch of great beers from around the country, as well as one of the best new breweries in the country in Cigar City.
I won't go into a specific beer review in this post, but I will share with you an idea of the kind of great brews I've had in the last couple weeks at a few of the above haunts.
New World Brewery: Victory Hop Devil on draught from up in my home-town area!
Cigar City Brewery: Winter Warmer Warmer Winter aged in Apple Brandy Casks (sweet, but yummy); Oatmeal Raisin Cookie - a brown ale that actually tastes like a fresh-baked cookie; Blueberry Maduro - light on the blueberry, but the Maduro is such a yummy brown ale that it doesn't matter. It's so great to be able to have a few one-off pints in the brewery.
Peg's Cantina: Gulfport Original On Draft (GOOD Beer) brewed by Doug, the assistant brewer at Cigar City in small stove-top batches. Berliner Witbier - a light abv sour wheat that got great reactions and sold out quick; Nut Brown Porter - smooth, nutty, and nice; Imperial Stout - it's definitely an imperial, and a highly drinkable one at that!
Datz Deli: the Bruery (out of California) Rugbrod - a really tasty rye brown ale; Left Hand Fade to Black - one of my favorite porters of the year, super smooth, with just a hint of that porter smoke at the back end; Dogfish Head 90 Minute - an old favorite from one of the best breweries in the country, and always nice to find on draught.
Mr Dunderbak's - a great German deli that has a ton of beers on tap. One night right after new years, I enjoyed an Avery Collaboration not Litigation, a Bell's Two Hearted Ale, a Clipper City Heavy Seas Winter Storm Imperial, and a Cigar City Jai Alai IPA. I love this place.
So there you have it - a little idea of what we're drinking down here. Besides the great beers and places I mentioned above, our bottled beer availability has grown tremendously as well, so I'll be sharing both what I drink in the bars as well as what I drink at home. I'll try to share some of my thoughts on the beers I'm drinking as well. Hopefully that will entice some of you to go find these beers out in your neck of the woods. I'll also conform to Kevin's format after this post so that there's some consistency here.