Saturday, December 16, 2017
Restaurant News

Restaurants, breweries collaborate to offer signature beers

Every restaurant worth its salt these days offers a selection of craft beers, often drilling down to showcase local and regional options. And now restaurants are taking it one step further, brewing their own beers or partnering with local breweries to develop signature suds. • These "bespoke beers" are one of the year's biggest national trends, and in the Tampa Bay area a number of these collaborations are available for local diners to sample. • Not surprisingly, Tampa's Cigar City, the grandfather of Florida craft brewing, was early to explore collaborations with restaurants. They have done two beers exclusively for Bern's Steak House, one in 2013 called Legacy One, a rich, dark barley wine-style beer made in a Four Roses single-barrel bourbon barrel, and one this year called Legacy Two, a Belgian dubbel made in a Mount Gay rum barrel.

"Dean Hurst from Bern's gave me a call one day and said he'd like to offer something special and exclusive for their guests," said Cigar City vice president Justin Clark. "Beer has a place at the table as well, and they were able to source a barrel."

Hurst agrees that the whiskey barrel prompted the creative spark.

"We had just bought the barrel. I was at an event and bumped into Joey (Redner) and Justin. We tasted the whiskey together, and they came up the idea for a rich, dark, giant beer."

Hurst gave Cigar City carte blanche in the creative process.

"I have a philosophy: They do award-winning beer. Why would I tell them what to do?"

The result, Legacy One, was a limited release, only 53 gallons (about 17 cases of 750-milliliter bottles) total, offered on a reserve list to special customers as more of an after-dinner quaff. Brewmaster Wayne Wambles' notions for the second beer, also a small release, included dates and mission figs and coconut palm sugar — more in a tropical vein.

"We created a label for the first one using one of the (sculpted) busts from Bern's," Hurst said. "For the second one we had a label designed by local artist Dean Arscott. He does a lot of tiki-inspired stuff, and I thought it would be perfect with the rum to do a tiki-inspired label."

A signature beer gives a restaurant a certain cachet. But what's in it for the brewery?

"It was great to have a collaboration with such a great Tampa institution," said Clark, "somebody that we really respect in the area. And it's fun to work with people who are as geeked out with what they do as we are about our beer."

Mark Heimann, executive chef at the Vinoy, and Ty Weaver, brewmaster at 3 Daughters Brewing in St. Petersburg, didn't use the words "geeked out," but it was implied.

"Mark and Ty bonded and decided to build a beer around a specific menu that Mark would develop," remembers 3 Daughters owner Mike Harting. "They were just kindred spirits."

Heimann and other Vinoy staffers toured the brewery, Weaver walking them through the brewing process.

"I spent an hour and half going through the whole process with Mark," Weaver remembers. "It was cool because I used to be a chef myself. He seemed interested, and at the end when we were all there they said they wanted to make a beer and said something about the orange groves that used to be (at the site of the Vinoy), and they wanted something light because it's Florida. And so we settled on a white wheat, because they are normally made with orange peel and coriander."

The result is Paul's Landing, which debuted this summer on tap at the Vinoy. The fruity wheat beer is named for William Paul, who helped pioneer the orange groves in the area in 1854. To pair with it, Heimann has developed a short menu of dishes, things like scallops crusted with coriander and crushed chilies, pan-seared and served with salsa verde with a little bit of fresh strawberries and grilled onion, or a 12-hour-brined pork shank slow braised and roasted with brown sugar glaze and served with Gruyère grits and pickled red onions and arugula.

"I love beer but I'm not a brewer, so it was a good learning experience," Heimann reflected. "Microbrews have been a huge trend over the past few years, and once St. Pete started getting going, this just came about. The Vinoy was late to craft beer, but now it's a must-have."

Weaver summarizes the allure of these signature beers like so: "It's kind of cool to have a beer that only you have."

Doug Dozark, brewer-owner of St. Petersburg's Cycle Brewing, had different motivation for brewing a signature beer for Ducky's in Tampa.

"Personally, it was fun to meet Evan Longoria (who is a part owner of Ducky's) and make a beer for him."

But it wasn't easy.

"They called and asked if I wanted to make a beer for Evan Longoria and I said sure. … Right before baseball season started last year … I filled a bunch of little growlers for him to try. We talked about some broad concepts, then things went quiet for the entirety of baseball season."

As the restaurant got closer to opening, Dozark called to nudge, reminding them that it takes a month or more to make a beer and have it ready. Dozark was texted a list of Longoria's favorite foods: pizza, steak, "any style Latin food," ice cream and cheese. And then a list of the ballplayer's favorite beers: Hoegaarden, Stella Artois, Dos Equis amber, Pilsner Urquell and Bud Light. Not exactly cutting-edge lists on either count.

"It was a very entertaining list," Dozark said with a laugh. "But Pilsner Urquell is a well-made beer, so I put together a recipe for Ducky's Pils, a traditional Bohemian pilsner."

Hurst of Bern's is working on another collaboration, with JDub's Brewing Company in Sarasota. Working with a George Dickel whiskey barrel, the brewery is doing a smoked imperial porter for Bern's, which debuted Saturday at the Epicurean Hotel.

"If you want to be relevant in this age you have to have a nod to craft beer," Hurst says. "It says we're paying attention to our consumer."

Contact Laura Reiley at [email protected] or (727) 892-2293. Follow @lreiley.

   
Comments
Ranking America’s top 10 chain restaurants. How does your favorite stack up

Ranking America’s top 10 chain restaurants. How does your favorite stack up

People love to pick on chain restaurants. Like used car salesmen, the mass feeders are easy targets. Their uniformity and ubiquity seem to go against a culture increasingly bent on personal customization. Indeed, it has been a rough past few years f...
Published: 12/15/17
Hotly anticipated Ichicoro Ane is now open in St. Petersburg

Hotly anticipated Ichicoro Ane is now open in St. Petersburg

Noel Cruz seemed remarkably chill. As did his partner Kerem Koca. All around them in the Station House building in St. Petersburg, workers pounded the last nails, bartenders unpacked boxes of glassware and jewel-toned bottles of Amari, and the kitche...
Published: 12/12/17
Restaurant review: Let the food and outstanding cocktails at CW’s Gin Joint transport you back to the 1920s

Restaurant review: Let the food and outstanding cocktails at CW’s Gin Joint transport you back to the 1920s

TAMPAMaybe it’s the twinkling chandeliers. All skajillion of them. Or maybe it is the rhythmic syncopation of ice cubes in shiny shakers. It could be the old-timey metal dessert cart with its silver cloches and chafing dishes, or else the chummy-but-...
Published: 12/11/17
Restaurant review: 1895 Kitchen Bar Market needs to do a lot more to stand out in downtown Tampa

Restaurant review: 1895 Kitchen Bar Market needs to do a lot more to stand out in downtown Tampa

TAMPA Just a block away from CW’s Gin Joint, the folks at Urban Juice Co. have retooled, taking the historic Franklin building, one of the city’s oldest, erected in 1895, and re-envisioning it in September as 1895 Kitchen-Bar-Market, a "...
Published: 12/11/17
A vegan soul food eatery is opening in St. Petersburg

A vegan soul food eatery is opening in St. Petersburg

SOUL FOOD: VEGAN STYLERay Milton is a boxing instructor and former pastry chef and proprietor of Sugar Ray’s Bakery in St. Petersburg. In the past couple of years he has branched out with something entirely different. He runs a food truck that sells ...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/13/17
Food news: Byblos reopens in South Tampa, Arab food festival this weekend

Food news: Byblos reopens in South Tampa, Arab food festival this weekend

REOPENING: BYBLOSYou know that hour before people show up for a dinner party where you think, "Holy smokes, I’ll never be ready in time. What was I thinking?" Nearly every restaurant opening, or reopening, is like that. I scooted by Byblos, a long-st...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/08/17
These Tampa Bay restaurants took honors in the Golden Spoon Awards

These Tampa Bay restaurants took honors in the Golden Spoon Awards

Florida Trend’s annual Golden Spoon awards were announced last week, honoring Florida’s best restaurants. Although Florida Trend serves the state’s business community, the Golden Spoons are a valuable consumer tool. Because Florida restaurants seldom...
Published: 12/04/17
Updated: 12/05/17
Free iced coffee Monday as Dunkin’ Donuts offers #CupOfThanksFlorida

Free iced coffee Monday as Dunkin’ Donuts offers #CupOfThanksFlorida

Dunkin’ Donuts is giving thanks to Floridians with a free small iced coffee on Monday.The #CupOfThanksFlorida promotion is aimed at thanking customers for weathering Hurricane Irma as some locations had to close or change their hours, according to br...
Published: 12/04/17
Restaurant review: Clear Sky on Cleveland Global Bistro tries to cover every food on the planet

Restaurant review: Clear Sky on Cleveland Global Bistro tries to cover every food on the planet

CLEARWATERAll three of the Clear Sky restaurants read like the work of someone who’s been paying attention to what folks want.Co-owner Dan Shouvlin has got the proper curriculum vitae (a background in TGI Friday’s, Chi Chi’s, Olive Garden and then a ...
Published: 11/30/17
Updated: 12/04/17
This week’s food news: Clearwater Beach Uncorked, happy 25th birthday to Guppy’s

This week’s food news: Clearwater Beach Uncorked, happy 25th birthday to Guppy’s

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: GUPPY’STwenty-five years for a restaurant is a stupendous achievement in an industry with a two-thirds failure rate. So let’s bake a cake for Guppy’s on the Beach, or at least go there and eat cake. It opened its doors at 1701 Gulf Bl...
Updated one month ago