ON TAP: MORE BEER
Would it surprise you if dentists started offering hefeweizen-flavored mouth rinse and communion had an IPA-and-wafer option? Craft beer cannot be stopped in Tampa Bay. And who would want to curtail all the hoppiness? This week: It's festival time.
This year's Shelton Brothers Festival takes place in St. Petersburg on Friday and Saturday, a clear nod to the local craft beer boom. It's a "movable feast" festival, with more than 90 of the world's greatest and smallest artisanal beer, cider and mead makers schmoozing with festival attendees and sharing their stories and knowledge. The principals at these places, from Europe to Japan to New Zealand, will all be on hand personally to pour and educate. Admission to the festival at the Coliseum gets you a special-edition glass, plus the opportunity to sample and hobnob with some of the best beer and cider makers in the world. Locals will be properly represented: Green Bench, Cycle Brewing, Cigar City, 7venth Sun, Coppertail, Funky Buddha, St. Somewhere, Gravity Brewlab, Playalinda and Redlight Redlight will be in attendance. 6 to 10 p.m. Friday (VIP ticket-holders at 5 p.m.); noon to 4 p.m. and 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday. $65 per session, $175 for an all-weekend pass. 535 Fourth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. sheltonbrothers.com/festival.
And concurrently there's the Florida Aquarium's Brews By the Bay festival from 8 to 11 p.m. Friday. It's the craft beer and food festival's seventh year, with more than 100 brews poured for sampling, foods from more than 25 area restaurants, a sea of live entertainment and aquarium exhibits on display. The event benefits the aquarium's education, animal rescue and rehabilitation programs. $50 advance, $45 aquarium members, $60 day of, $75 VIP (which includes early admission, VIP Lounge, beer mug, exclusive beer and food samplings). Florida Aquarium, 701 Channelside Drive, Tampa; (813) 273-4000. flaquarium.org.
BITE-SIZED: DINING TIDBITS
Zach Feinstein, the new owner of Dunedin's Living Room, is debuting twice-monthly dueling piano nights. The first one is from 7 to 10 p.m. Wednesday. Guests put in requests, the piano players kibbitz back and forth and there is a marked tendency towards sing-alongs (if you're not quite ready for The Voice, just tip big). At the same time, Feinstein is debuting a new menu at the restaurant, with a "living wall" of greens that are clipped into salads. The Living Room is located at 487 Main St., Dunedin; (727) 736-5202. thelivingroomonmain.com.
Souzou recently added lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., with lunch items under $10. Head chef Viet Vo presides over a kitchen that sends out sophisticated sushi, noodle dishes and an array of pan-Asian dishes (love the meatballs). Another boon for downtown St. Pete workers: They have a huge parking lot. 435 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg; (727) 823-4050. souzoufusion.com.
In similar news, Bascetti's Italian Grille and Steak House has added lunch each day at 11:30, with dishes like fresh grilled octopus with lemon garlic aioli, or pan-roasted spicy sausage and mussels with garlic butter and fennel. Heads up: Owner Jimmy Stewart also offers happy hour deals starting at 11:30 and early-bird specials at 3 p.m. 1568 Main St., Dunedin. (727) 738-2808. bascettisitaliangrille.com.
Looking forward, Zack Gross from Z Grille and Chris Fernandez from Red Mesa are co-sponsoring a six-course dinner plus wine on Oct. 25. Dinner is $100, 50 seats only, and all proceeds go to the Seneker family. Held during Breast Cancer Awareness month, the dinner's funds are being raised by the Senekers for radiation treatments for a dear friend. To make reservations, call (727) 822-9600. Look for the evening's menu on Z Grille's Facebook page.
HALLOWEEN: DRESS WEIRD(ER)
For Halloween, Chipotle offers $3 burritos, bowls, salads, tacos or kids meals on Oct. 31 starting at 5 p.m. to customers dressed in costume, but participants must add an unnecessary element to their costume to get the deal. The "Boorito" fundraiser is all part of the chain's agenda to let customers know that unnecessary preservatives and additives found in fast food are super creepy, as well as a way to help raise $1 million for the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation. For costume guidance, go to chipotle.com/boorito.