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. Review / photos: Sunset Music Festival wraps up with Above and Beyond, more at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa


    The first numbers trickled in on Sunday, and they didn't look great.

    Louis the Child performed at the Sunset Music Festival at Raymond James Stadium on May 28, 2017.
  2. Philippines forces make gains in city under siege by ISIS-linked militants

    MARAWI, Philippines — Philippine forces say they now control most of a southern city where militants linked to the Islamic State group launched a bloody siege nearly a week ago.

  3. Rays exhausted but happy after 15-inning win over Twins (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Before the Rays eventually won Sunday's 6½-hour, 15-inning marathon against the Twins 8-6, they did plenty to lose it. And we need to get that out of the way first.

    The Rays’ Evan Longoria enjoys a laugh after scoring, barely, to tie it in the ninth on Steven Souza Jr.’s two-out single.
  4. Tom Jones' Two Cents: ABC's Indy 500 coverage is stellar again

    TV and Radio

    Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Takuma Sato left, celebrates after winning the Indianapolis 500 as Helio Castroneves is a little late passing him. ABC’s coverage of the race is stellar throughout, with plenty of extras but no fake drama.
  5. Takuma Sato surprise winner of wreck-filled Indy 500

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Takuma Sato, a journeyman driver, became the first Japanese winner of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday when he held off three-time champion Helio Castroneves in a 230-mph wheel-rubbing duel to the finish.

    Scott Dixon’s car goes over the top of Jay Howard, soaring so high that Helio Castroneves drove under it while it was airborne. Stunningly, there were no serious injuries.