Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Brew lovers bond at 97X Craft Beer Experience

ST. PETERSBURG — The brewer stood near the kegs, arms crossed, watching people drain 3-ounce glasses. He waited for smiles, nods, cringes.

"I'm extremely nervous," said Ty Weaver, 41, who concocts craft libations for 3 Daughters Brewing, slated to open in November on 22nd Street S. "It's the first time people have tried the beers beyond friends and family. It's our first chance to hear real criticism."

About 1,400 thirsty revelers crowded the Mahaffey Theater on Saturday evening for the second annual, sold-out 97X Craft Beer Experience. National and local vendors, including Tampa Bay Brewing Co. and Largo's Rapp Brewing Co., offered more than 100 beers, brand new and fan favorites, for patrons to sample. A limousine company advertised free rides home.

Weaver, who attended culinary school in Louisiana before moving to St. Petersburg, created the citrus-infused Beach Blonde Ale — among the 3 Daughters' dunkelweizen, stout and porter — for Floridians to enjoy on hot afternoons, toes in the sand. "Drink it on the beach," he said, "where you can legally drink on the beach."

Chris Lewis, a manager at Largo's Great Bay Distributors, which helped organize the event, said sipping local beer brings people together. It can be a highly personal experience, he said, especially in the bay area.

"You can walk into a Tampa brewery, hang out with the employees and tell someone, 'I'd like to see this or this in a beer,' " he said. "Four or five months later, you can see that in something new."

Andrew Heeren, a 24-year-old mechanical engineer who lives in St. Petersburg, waited in lines Saturday with his dad, Theo, who brews his own ales at home in Seminole. The pair wore matching pretzel necklaces.

"We made these in the car on the way over," Heeren said. "We've got a lot of beers to try."

His favorite so far? "A barrel-aged porter."

Flanked by two girlfriends, 22-year-old Carey Mears of St. Petersburg arrived with a budgetary mission.

"I really only drink craft beer, and that gets expensive," she said. "I'm going to try a lot here today so I know which six-packs to buy for $10 in the grocery store."

Jared Dech, 25, of Largo joked with four friends, his "wolf pack," between samples. They came for a good time, he said, raising a plastic glass.

"If you don't like beer, you're un-American."

Dech took a swig of Weaver's Beach Blonde Ale.

"Yeah," he said, eyes closed. "It's good."

Brew lovers bond at 97X Craft Beer Experience 08/17/13 [Last modified: Saturday, August 17, 2013 9:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.
  2. Trump fallout: Bucs' DeSean Jackson to make 'statement' Sunday


    Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson said Saturday that he will make a "statement" before today's game against the Vikings in response to President Donald Trump's comment that owners should "fire" players who kneel in protest during the national anthem.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson (11) makes a catch during the first half of an NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017.
  3. Kriseman invites Steph Curry to St. Pete on Twitter


    Mayor Rick Kriseman is no stranger to tweaking President Donald Trump on social media.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman took to Twitter Saturday evening to wade into President Donald Trump's latest social media scuffle
  4. Death toll, humanitarian crisis grow in Puerto Rico


    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A humanitarian crisis grew Saturday in Puerto Rico as towns were left without fresh water, fuel, power or phone service following Hurricane Maria's devastating passage across the island.

    Crew members assess electrical lines in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria on Friday in Puerto Rico. Mobile communications systems are being flown in but “it’s going to take a while.”
  5. N. Korea says strike against U.S. mainland is 'inevitable'


    North Korea's foreign minister warned Saturday that a strike against the U.S. mainland is "inevitable" because President Donald Trump mocked leader Kim Jong Un with the belittling nickname "little rocketman."