There is nothing like a warm sunny day that features palm trees being eloquently swayed by a cool oceanic breeze, and of course all of this accompanied by deliciously crafted brews. This past week I had the privilege of visiting Saint Petersburg, Florida where a freshly thriving craft beer scene is on the rise. With eleven breweries and three more planned this year, of which ten of them are all within a mile stretch of each other.
Along the path of the ten breweries, there are beautifully crafted murals painted on several building walls that features anything from a large dog and girl lying down together to almost hallucigenic designs that can only be described properly by visually seeing it for yourself. Not only do murals occupy the brewery path, but several small, local restaurants are spread about to help curb the beer munchies and enhance the overall Saint Petersburg visit.
During my one day visit I wasn’t able to tour all the breweries, but managed to stop by seven of the ten. The first brewery I began at is located in the middle of the stretch, Avid Brew Company. An industrial inspired brewery with a brick interior along with a small overhead apartment that is entered through a twirling staircase giving off a vibe that you traveled back into the post World War Two era.
They work off a smaller brewing system that is set up inside the taproom which houses several smaller fermentation tanks and boiler. Some of their brews include a black IPA, imperial stout, and a Belgian wheat beer. A brew shop is attached to the brewery that sells home brewing essentials and hydroponic growing equipment.
From there, my wife and I headed to one of the first breweries in St. Petersburg, Green Bench Brewing Company. A red brick exterior building and an industrial themed design interior with pipeline-styled overhead lights and a giant glass window that gives you a glimpse into their spectacular brewing operation. Unlike the previously mentioned breweries that operation off small batch systems, this operation is rather large with several fermentation tanks that hold more than enough beer to quench the thirst of the greater St. Petersburg area.
Some of their numerous brews include a golden pilsner, a honey saison, a farmhouse ale, and several smoked beers. I personally love smoked beers, so as soon as we got there I grabbed their smoked lager that presented plenty of smoky characters along with light malt and citrus notes. Not only do they provide plenty of deliciously craft brews in their tap house, but they also have an awesome cellar room next door that features various sour beers that are fermented in a foeder as well as a number of barrel-aged brews.
From Green Bench Brewing, my wife and I made our way over to 3 Daughters Brewing. Another one of the first breweries in Saint Petersburg, this brewery houses the largest brewing operation in Saint Petersburg with several spectacularly large fermentation tanks in two separate building, some of which are the largest in the state of Florida. And even though 3 Daughters has only been opened for a little over six years, their market reach is on an international scale with countries that include France, England, Brazil, and the Caribbean’s.
Their tap room consists of two different bar areas with plenty on tap and a large stage that host local bands along with several table, each of which are etched and printed with various board games. Another piece of entertainment is a large game room inside the tap room that houses several old school pinball machines and arcade games to help enhance your beer drinking experience.Inside their main tap room area is their brewing lab where all their products are tested by a biologist for quality control as they seek to produce the best quality products possible.
Inside their main tap room area is their brewing lab where all their products are tested by a biologist for quality control as they seek to produce the best quality products possible. They brew up various styles and flavors, including a strawberry cream ale, a hefeweizen, and several barrel-aged beers, and yet their most popular brew is their Beach Blonde Ale.
From there, we went to a cool little homey brewery called If I Brewed The World. I really enjoy visiting small breweries and this one was literally two rooms big with a garage where they housed a unique one tank brewing set up that is hidden away behind a secret bookshelf door, and although they only have one tank, they still always tend to have at least seven or more brews on tap. Some of their concoctions include a grapefruit hazy IPA, a session brown ale and a Captain Crunch Berry inspired wheat beer.
Right around the corner from, If I Brewed The World lies a brewery that is tailor made for craft beer lovers and game enthusiasts alike, that is Right Around The Corner Brewing. Here is where the love of games and beer come together in perfect harmony with several delicious brews that include a watermelon wheat beer, an American red ale, and a coffee stout, all of which are poured out of Nintendo inspired tap handles. Several arcade games are spread throughout along with a giant screen set up in the middle of it all where you can play all your favorite old system games.
After challenging my wife at Mario Cart and sipping on a delicious IPA from Right Around The Corner, we journeyed two blocks over to Cage Brewing Company. This brewery has a spacious tap room with a double set of taps located on opposite sides of the same wall and beer garden that houses a large stage where, at the time of my visit, there was a local artist singing various songs that included one from Bob Marley. They house a small brewing system where they brew up various IPAs as well as a light lager and American porter.
Once we were finished listening to a local musician and drinking good beer at Cage Brewing, we left and walked down a little ways to Aggregate Brewing Collective. This brewery is small and cozy, featuring comfortable coaches and a packed to the max bookshelf. Fairly new to the scene with only a few months in operation and seeking to reach out to a much broader audience with a list of brews that are more tailored to your average craft beer drinker, some of their brews include a hard seltzer, an IPA, and a milk stout along with various local beers.
Leaving Aggregate Brewing Collective and only a hop and skip eastward is St Pete’s Brewing Company. This brewery is a sailing delight with a cool ship themed design that includes two ores and a lit up anchor positioned front and center of the taproom. This is another small batch brewing operation, and yet that doesn’t slow them from brewing up an array of different styles and flavors that include a west coast IPA, a wheat beer, and a Mexican lager.
We had an absolute amazing voyage and looking forward to the next one. Until then, I hope you craft beer voyages are just as enlightening, and remember to sip,savor and enjoy. Cheers!