Make us your home page

Two Henrys Brewing is off and pouring at Keel and Curley Winery

PLANT CITY — The craft beer scene now has a stop in Plant City, and judging by the grand opening of Two Henrys Brewing, plenty of people will be making the trip.

The debut Saturday of Clay Keel's creation drew thousands of enthusiasts to Keel and Curley Winery. The same place that just celebrated its 10th anniversary of serving up wine is now pouring — and producing — its own beer.

Clay Keel, son of owner Joe and previously the winery's marketing director, is now a brewmaster. Though Clay admitted to a bit of nervousness as the public got its first opportunity try his beer, all was well received.

"I felt really good about the IPA. It's definitely a good product," said Clay, referring to the 7 Mile Bridge India Pale Ale, which is the first to hit the taps at the winery.

The beer bar, just across the room from where folks have long saddled up to sample wine, is open seven days a week. Within the next month, all five creations — including a pilsner, pale ale, black IPA and chocolate stout — are expected to fill out the inaugural Two Henrys lineup.

Keel handed out samples of everything at Saturday's grand opening, which contained a lot more pomp and circumstance (and bounce houses and cornhole tournaments) than what will be the more laid-back vibe at the winery.

"It went well," said Joe Keel, Clay's father and winery owner. "I was working the parking lots most of the day, and so you get to hear people as they walk back to their cars. They were all saying, 'Oh, we liked it,' and they were taking home growlers."

For the uninitiated, a growler is simply a genius method to take home draft beer either in a 32-ounce or gallon size. Plenty of 7 Mile growlers have been filled.

The Two Henrys refers to Florida pioneers Henry B. Plant and Henry Flagler. A year ago, Clay Keel knew that he liked drinking beer and had no concept of brewing it, but he does know his Florida history.

The 7 Mile Bridge was Flagler's famous overseas railway, for example. Rough Around the Edges is the name of the pale ale and refers to the "Rough Riders" who stayed at Plant's hotel in Tampa en route to the Spanish-American War.

In a perfect world all five of Clay's cleverly named creations would already be available. But things don't always go smoothly for a craft brewery, much less a startup.

The IPA was first called the 8th Wonder, but turns out there is an 8th Wonder Brewery in Houston that wasn't so crazy about the choice. Then there was the issue of not having enough power to adequately run Clay's seven-barrel system, though after some quick cooperation from TECO, that has been fixed. The high-tech system is 10 days or so from having its next big batch ready to pour.

Fortunately Cigar City Brewing, whose incredible growth provided the landmark for breweries in Tampa Bay, lent its facilities to the Keels, who have learned just how cooperative the beer community is.

"It really is like a fraternity. We help each other," Joe said.

Likewise Keel and Curley actually has been producing Cigar City's cider (more a wine than a beer) for the past year. Try walking by the Sour Apple Cider vat and not have your mouth water.

More invaluable help has come from Jay Martin, the president of beer distributor J.J. Taylor's craft department, who met with Clay and brother Ryan when the Keels were still unsure about getting into the beer business.

"It's not all about making money, that's for sure. You don't start out to be Budweiser II. It really is an art form," Joe said.

But the Keels have good insight. Debbie Barker, former head of the Stroh's brewery in Tampa (now Yuengling), is a family friend and constantly lends her expertise.

Darek Sharp can be reached at

. If you go

Two Henrys Brewing and Keel and Curley Winery

5210 W Thonotosassa Road, Plant City. (813) 752-3892;

The Two Henrys tasting room is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. Live music is provided from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the large, scenic outdoor area, and the bar stays open until midnight.

Two Henrys Brewing is off and pouring at Keel and Curley Winery 10/23/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 5:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trigaux: Tampa Bay household income tops $50,000 but still makes us look poor

    Personal Finance

    The good news is Tampa Bay's median household income finally crawled above $50,000 last year. The bad news is that figure — officially $51,115 by new U.S. Census Bureau data — still puts the Tampa Bay region as the poorest of the nation's 25 largest metro areas.

    Tampa Bay still has the lowest median household income among the 25 most populous metro areas, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
  2. Make-A-Wish Foundation aims to help more kids in Tampa Bay


    The Make-A-Wish Foundation is on the lookout for sick children in the Tampa Bay area who need a once-in-a-lifetime pick-me-up.

    Grace Savage, a 10-year-old girl with a chromosomal disorder made a trek to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium last year, courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The foundation intends to beef up its presence in the Tampa Bay area after a reorganization. The region is now the responsibility of the foundation's Southern Florida chapter, one of the most active in the country, with more than 11,000 wishes granted so far. [JIM DAMASKE   |   Times ]
  3. Florida hides details in nursing home reports. Federal agencies don't.


    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott widened his offensive Thursday against the Broward nursing home he blames for the deaths of 10 residents by setting up a tip line for information, but when it comes to access to the inspection reports of all nursing homes, the governor's administration has heavily censored what the …

    In the foreground is a document detailing the findings of a Feb. 2016 inspection at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills obtained from a federal agency, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Behind it is the state?€™s version of the same document, from the Agency for Health Care Administration, showing how it has been redacted before being released to the public. [Miami Herald]
  4. 'Toxic' times: How repeal of Florida's tax on services reverberates, 30 years later

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Long before Hurricane Irma attacked Florida, the state faced a troubled fiscal future that the storm will only make worse.

    Robertson says the tax debate is now “toxic.”
  5. Fewer Tampa Bay homeowners are underwater on their mortgages

    Real Estate

    The percentage of Tampa Bay homeowners underwater on their mortgages continues to drop. In the second quarter of this year, 10.2 percent of borrowers had negative equity compared to nearly 15 percent in the same period a year ago, CoreLogic reported Thursday. Nationally, 5.4 percent of all mortgaged homes were …

    The percentage of Tampa Bay homeowners underwater on their mortgages  continues to drop. [Times file photo]