In honor of this year's Ultimate Bar Guide, tbt* asked its resident expert, Joey Redner, to pick the places for the true-brew believer. Here's what he found on tap.
1. Oldsmar Tap House There are no TVs to distract, music plays softly in the background, and the bar and table seating are arranged in such a way as to draw patrons into conversation. Mix in regular cask-ale offerings and one of the best beer selections in Tampa Bay and you have a winner. 300 State St. E No. 107, Oldsmar. (813) 855-9181, oldsmartaphouse.com.
2. Mr. Dunderbaks' Great German food and beer alongside some of the best craft-beer selections you can find anywhere. The staff is very beer-savvy and ready with suggestions. It hosts monthly meetings of the Tampa home brewing club BEERS (Brewing Enthusiasts Enjoying Real Suds) and features regular cask-ale offerings. 2222b University Square Mall, Tampa. (813) 977-4104, dunderbaks.com.
3. Tampa Bay Brewing Company The lineup is a little limited, but when you brew beers as excellent as TBBC does, it's not a real drawback. The food is top-notch and showcases the beer to good effect. TBBC is easily the best brewpub in the state and a great place to grab a pint. Cask ales vary. 1600 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. (813) 247-1422, tampabaybrewingcompany.com.
4. Dunedin Brewery The brewery reflects the sleepy beach-hamlet feel of Dunedin. The open layout showcases the brewing equipment. New brewer Madison Roane has greatly expanded the beer lineup and the small kitchen cranks out incredibly tasty and affordable pub grub. The Dunedin Nitro Stout is a thing of beauty! 937 Douglas Ave. Dunedin. (727) 736-0606, dunedinbrewery.com.
5. New World Brewery This mainstay sports an eclectic beer lineup, a killer jukebox and an outdoor patio area that demands to be lingered upon. The bar is cash only, and the only food available is pizza, but they sling some damn tasty pies, so don't hesitate to order one. 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. (813) 248-4969.
6. The Mellow Mushroom This place is the anti-chain, and its beer lineup is a testament to the sort of independent spirit that's made the franchise so successful. Fresh, quality food ingredients and the aforementioned killer beer lineup makes Mellow my pick for the best chain restaurant to enjoy a craft beer. 11955 Sheldon Road, Tampa, (813) 926-3600; 10959 Causeway Blvd., Brandon, (813) 685-1122. mellowmushroom.com.
7. World of Beer This Westchase bar sports a huge, though oddly random, selection of beer. Both a bar and a package store, you can buy rare beer to go. It doesn't serve food, but is within walking distance of several quality eateries. WoB gets packed, especially on weekends, so it can be difficult to order a beer or hold a conversation. The staff could be more beer-savvy. 9524 W Linebaugh Ave., Tampa. (813) 852-BEER, worldofbeerusa.com.
8. Tank's Tap Room This Carollwood multi-tap bar has seen many permutations, but its current stint is its best from a quality-beer standpoint. There are a staggering 51 beers on tap. One tower is dedicated exclusively to Belgian ales. The food is creative Pittsburgh-inspired pub grub. If you're feeling peckish, try a Tankenstein — a 1-pound burger topped with fries, shredded beef, cheese, crushed cherry peppers, cole slaw, blue cheese dressing and a fried egg. 13150 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. (813) 961-BEER, tankstaproom.com.
9. The Independent The modern, artistic decor and Belgian-beer-café feel are a welcome addition to downtown St. Pete. The beer lineup leans heavily to European offerings with a focus on Belgian and German beers. No food, but there are many local eateries within walking distance. It's a great place to grab a beer before a Jannus Landing show. 29 Third St. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 820-9514.
10. BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse The name is a bit misleading, as the beers for BJ's are brewed at Saint Arnold's Brewery in Texas and shipped. BJ's is a restaurant first and a brewpub/beer bar second. But quality brews and tasty food make it worth a visit. If you like dark, bold beers, the Tatonka Stout and PM Porter will never steer you wrong. 8002 Citrus Park Town Center, Tampa, (813) 852-1910; 3800 Park Blvd., Pinellas Park, (727) 525-4640. bjsrestaurants.com.
— Joey Redner is a Tampa resident and world beer traveler.