The mark of a good beer town is the ability to perform a serious pub crawl by exclusively visiting breweries. Fortunately, the Tampa Bay area is full of good beer towns. These hops certainly aren’t the only options, but each features some of my favorites.
A great place to start is Brew Bus, there’s a Local Loop that travels between breweries and other beer destinations throughout Seminole Heights, Ybor City and Downtown Tampa. On Sundays, tickets to ride are only $10 and you can get on and off at any stops, all day long. Start at Southern Brewing to try 40 taps of unique small-batch brews, including several quirky fruit treatments. Hop on the bus and get off next at Angry Chair, a small but extremely popular tasting room known for its decadent stouts and fruited Berliners. Wrap it up at Coppertail’s spacious tasting room to try its fruited Berliners, as well as IPAs that rival some of Cycle’s better output.
Angry Chair Brewing
Angry Chair is Seminole Heights' beer festival darling, constantly drawing rave reviews for its dessert-style darker beers and trend-defining sours.
6401 N Florida Ave., Tampa
Brew Bus Terminal & Brewery
The hub for all of Brew Bus' tours now has a home in Seminole Heights. Hop on a local loop or cross-bay tour, or hang out in the ’70s-inspired tasting room.
4101 N Florida Ave., Tampa
Coppertail Brewing Co.
This mayonnaise-factory-turned-brewery sits on the edge of Ybor City. Coppertail offers deep flavors on opposite ends of the beer spectrum, ranging from Florida weisses, wheats and IPAs to porters and stouts. There's a new kitchen addition, with food prepared by the Stein and Vine — the 2015 tbt* Ultimate Bar.
2601 E Second Ave., Tampa
If you’re still thirsty after Coppertail, it’s not out of the question to suggest a modest hike over to Tampa Bay Brewing Company, a decades-running Ybor standby that features weekly cask ale releases, as well as flagships like the excellent Reef Donkey pale ale, served in its sunny Centro Ybor courtyard. A few blocks down the strip is Cigar City Cider & Mead, which serves a variety of novel flavor treatments for its line of ciders, meads, melomels, metheglins and so on. Across the street is Rock Brothers Brewing, known for its brewing collabs with musical artists ranging from locals Have Gun, Will Travel to 311 and Darius Rucker. If you time it right, you can even catch a concert at Rock Brothers’ intimate upstairs venue, The Attic.
Cigar City Cider and Mead
Cigar City's expansion in Ybor City is Tampa Bay's mecca for specialty ciders and mead on tap. The tasting room has a variety of flavors with spicy takes on the established dry and sweet flavors of ciders.
1812 N 15th St., Ybor City
Rock Brothers Brewing
Ybor City's newest brewery works with different bands to create a variety of beers themed from their music. Hootie and the Blowfish's Hootie's Homegrown Ale and 311's Amber Ale are two of the most popular brews.
1901 N 15th St., Tampa
Tampa Bay Brewing Co.
Featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, this brewery focuses on pub fare and classic beer styles. The Ybor City location is a restaurant with an outside bar, the perfect stop for craft brews after a movie or before a night out.
1600 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City
The brewery scene has been especially active in Dunedin as of late, and all of its breweries are within easy walking distance. 7venth Sun is a good starting point, featuring a variety of styles, with an emphasis on wild and farmhouse ales. Take a short 5-minute walk up the road and you’ll be at Dunedin Brewery, Florida’s oldest craft brewery, which serves many new and experimental brews alongside its time-tested flagships. Just down the block is Woodwright Brewing Company, which specializes in faithfully rendered classic European beer styles served in the converted showroom of a woodworking shop, with a spacious, trees-shaded patio out front.
7venth Sun Brewery
This award-winning brewery might be small, but packs a punch with an assortment of styles and flavors that changes often.
1012 Broadway, Dunedin
Florida's oldest microbrewery sits in the "highlands" of Dunedin and pours a wide selection of flavors and styles, brewed in small batches. The large space also offers a menu of pub fare, live music and theme nights.
937 Douglas Ave., Dunedin
Woodwright Brewing Co.
Built in a former woodworking shop, Woodwright Brewing Co. has a rustic tasting room spanning over two floors. A couple of their more popular pours are the German Alt and Irish Red.
985 Douglas Ave., Dunedin
DOWNTOWN ST. PETE
You can do this one of two ways: walk the short Grand Central circuit between Cage Brewing, Pinellas Ale Works and 3 Daughters; or stretch out a little more and hit up Cycle, St. Pete Brewing and Green Bench. Start at Cycle, where you’ll find an array of the best IPAs in town, as well as one of the brewery’s infamous barrel-aged imperial stouts, if you’re lucky.
3 Daughters Brewing
Dubbed an "adult playground," St. Petersburg's largest brewery offers their renowned flagships and seasonal beers next to a huge warehouse, filled with tons of games and a stage for live music and events.
222 22nd St. S, St. Petersburg
Cage Brewing was built from the small brews that originated at R Bar on Treasure Island. The St. Pete version has more of R Bar's delicious beer with free-play arcade games, cornhole and a large lawn that's perfect for dogs and games.
2001 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg
Pinellas Ale Works
Part of the dense and walkable collection of breweries in St. Pete's Grand Central District, the aptly named P.A.W, offers doggy-themed beers, "Yappy Hours" and unique takes on traditional styles.
1962 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg
Cycle usually has a tap or two reserved for Orange Belt Brewing, a Cycle offshoot specializing in sour and wild ales. Next, head down to St. Pete Brewing for a nicely-varied selection of brews in a relaxed tasting room setting. Finish it off with a short trek up to Green Bench, where you’ll find many Belgian- and French-inspired ales, perfect for sipping in the brewery’s sprawling outdoor beer garden.
One of the most beloved breweries by craft beer die-hards, Cycle Brewing pours an expertly crafted collection of bicycle-themed brews. The modest taproom in St. Pete serves the Cycle flagship beers. Be patient; the lines often wrap around the block.
534 Central Ave., St. Petersburg
Green Bench Brewing
St. Pete's EDGE District brewery offers a big, roomy yard area with space for live music, film screenings, cornhole and large yoga classes. In addition to their standard beers, Green Bench also offers bottles of cider and mead.
1133 Baum Ave. N, St. Petersburg
St. Pete Brewing Co.
Milo's IPA and the St. Pete Orange Wheat are the two flagships at this downtown St. Pete taproom. Enjoy some nostalgia with old board games, or take a spin in Mario Kart on the Nintendo 64. The brewery also offers pizzas and other treats, like big soft pretzels.
544 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg
There’s no walking between these breweries, but if you live in Tampa, catch a Lyft to the Brew Bus Terminal and Brewery, where you can take the Pinellas version of the Full Pour Tour (visit brewbususa.com for schedules and tickets), a 4½ hour tour that includes two Brew Bus beers on board, as well as a pint and brewery tour at each stop. Stop one is Rapp Brewing, famous for making gose cool again — though the other 39 or so beers on tap (including a range of near-forgotten historic European styles) are all very well worth a look. Stop two is Big Storm, the second location of this production brewery, featuring extensive seasonal and limited release brews available only in the taproom. Stop three is Crooked Thumb, a young and excellent brewery focusing on clean, authentic versions of iconic styles like German pils and Belgian single. Don’t forget to spend some time at Brew Bus after the tour — its beers are also outstanding.
Crooked Thumb Brewery
Safety Harbor's first brewery, right off Main Street, offers solid takes on traditional styles. Locals are big fans of the Grandpa Jack's Pilsner and the highly palatable Blonde Ale.
555 10th Ave. S., Safety Harbor
Big Storm Brewing Co.
Big Storm's new Clearwater operation continues to grow in the year since its opening. The large tasting room offers more taps for their award-winning beers, craft cider and wine on nitro. One of the newest features is a permanent, gourmet food truck. The Clearwater taproom will start serving brunch on Aug. 27; grab tickets online.
12707 49th St. N, Largo
Rapp Brewing Co.
Known for their award-winning Gose and Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout, Rapp Brewing in Seminole offers flights of up to nine choices from the 40 beers they have on tapp. Aim to see how much of a beer gradient you can complete with their vast selection.
10930 Endeavour Way, Seminole