Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Bars & Spirits

Bar review: Barley Mow's Raven Brewery and Eatery in Largo

I was recently in Largo, celebrating the one-year anniversary of the city's newest brewery, Arkane Aleworks. It only made sense to also enjoy some brews from the city's oldest, Barley Mow Brewing, which has its five-year anniversary later this month.

But I didn't drive the few blocks down the road to Barley Mow's tasting room — instead, I crossed the street and went to the Raven, Barley Mow's newly relaunched restaurant and bar. The Raven opened in 2016 but went for a second take in June with the addition of new chef Michael Webb and a revamped menu to match.

Where Barley Mow's brewery and tasting room retained the Irish pub feel of the bar that preceded it, with a patio featuring weekly live music and typical brewery accoutrements like a cornhole set, the Raven is a wide-open, family-friendly kind of spot, with a spacious dining area bordered by a full bar and an exposed kitchen. In the daytime, it has a sunny, modern diner kind of feel.

The concept is gastropub-style food at affordable prices, which is accomplished reasonably well, the most expensive options topping out at $16 for a large pizza. Many of the dishes incorporate Barley Mow brews into the finished product — in marinades, vinaigrettes and sauces, and as a steaming base.

The beer menu at the Raven closely mirrors that of its parent brewery, with the addition of a few guest taps from other local operations, such as Tampa's Cigar City Brewing and Palm Harbor's de Bine Brewing Co. There are 18 taps rotating with seasonal options and new releases, like Barley Mow's latest canned beer release, I Am Ocean. That one was a pale ale brewed last summer in partnership with the Ocean Media Institute and infused with mango, passionfruit and pineapple.

LOCAL BEER OF THE WEEK: Pulp Friction grapefruit IPA by Motorworks

BAR REVIEW: Les Partners Lounge goes old-school in Clearwater

BAR REVIEW: Sample whiskey, vodka, rum, absinthe and more at Fish Hawk Spirits in Ybor

Barley Mow's tasting room features a full liquor bar, but the focus at the Raven is shifted even more in that direction, with a house cocktail list as well as an extensive and well-selected spirit menu.

The spirit list focuses on bourbon, American whiskey and scotch, including some uncommon finds, like the Glenfiddich Experimental Series No. 01, which is finished in casks previously used to store IPA; Compass Box's Hedonism, a rare (and fantastic) example of blended grain whisky; and Hudson Maple Cask Rye, an American rye aged in casks used by Woods Syrup.

You may want to peruse the cocktail list, too. Of the dozen-odd selections, most are time-tested classics like the old fashioned, margarita and mai tai. Some feature local spirits, such as the St. Pete Hemingway Daiquiri, which uses the vanilla-rich Righteous Rum from Old St. Pete Distillery.

There's also a rotating list of seasonal cocktails featuring fresh ingredients, such as the refreshing Cucumber Smash, which features fresh cucumbers, lime and strawberries across a cucumber vodka backdrop, or the Infused Gin Tom Collins, which is a traditional version of the classic — vodka, fresh lemon, sugar, club soda — save for a rotating infusion that dramatically changes the drink. What could very well be the ultimate summer cocktail is made more seasonally appropriate by the current infusion: hibiscus.

It's nice to see Barley Mow grow, especially since it has followed a somewhat unique trajectory relative to other local craft breweries (remind me to mention its Largo Brewing Co. offshoot next time). With its new chef locked in and a drink program that has a little something for everyone, the Raven is coming into its own. Cheers on five years, Barley Mow, and here's to many more for the Raven.

Contact Justin Grant at [email protected] Follow @WordsWithJG.

 
Comments
Shake Shack, Momofuku and more: Please come to Tampa Bay

Shake Shack, Momofuku and more: Please come to Tampa Bay

Fabio is coming! Not the Fabio on your romance novel, with the billowing hair and large quantities of artificial butter. This Fabio, in all likelihood, uses real butter. And olive oil. Fabio Viviani, the charming Top Chef alum known for appearances...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Time to carbo load: Three new bakeries include an Australian bakery, second La Segunda

Time to carbo load: Three new bakeries include an Australian bakery, second La Segunda

LA SEGUNDAA Tampa Bay giant has stirred and is on the move. La Segunda Central Bakery, a family-owned Ybor City institution for nearly 103 years (they celebrated that birthday Jan. 15) and the largest producer of Cuban bread in the world, will open a...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Shake Shack inches closer to Tampa Bay with new Florida restaurant

Shake Shack inches closer to Tampa Bay with new Florida restaurant

Beloved burger restaurant Shake Shack, which once inspired hungry diners to wait in hours-long lines at New York's Madison Square Park before expanding with dozens of locations across the U.S., is inching closer to Tampa Bay. A lease agreement  with...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Healthful eating is just a one-pan fish dish away

Healthful eating is just a one-pan fish dish away

By Ellie KriegerI recoil at the repentant food chatter that crops up this time of year, dominated by words such as "cleanse" and "detox," which, from what I can tell, are just modern code for "extreme diet." But part of cultivating a healthy, balanc...
Published: 01/17/18
We tried eating the recommended serving of fruit and vegetables for a week, and it was harder than we thought

We tried eating the recommended serving of fruit and vegetables for a week, and it was harder than we thought

I sat at my desk eating chunked pineapple straight out of the can, reading about how much fruit and vegetables we should all be eating every day: 1 1/2 to two cups of fruit, 2 1/2 to three cups of vegetables, at a minimum, per the United States Depar...
Published: 01/17/18
Taste test: pot stickers

Taste test: pot stickers

Whenever I order meals at a Chinese or Japanese restaurant I always look for pot stickers on the menu. The tasty Asian dumplings are filled with pork or chicken and veggies and cooked with a perfect balance of steaming and frying. The reason I order ...
Published: 01/16/18
From the food editor: Recipe for warm, cozy Pita Ribollita soup

From the food editor: Recipe for warm, cozy Pita Ribollita soup

When I first made this soup, Florida was in the grips of a cold weather snap, the likes of which rarely happens in this part of the state. We’re talking a whole week of lows in the 30s. The 30s! It was everything I ever wanted and more — the rare win...
Published: 01/16/18
Restaurant review: Byblos Cafe has busted out of its mold with a broader Mediterranean menu, and that’s good

Restaurant review: Byblos Cafe has busted out of its mold with a broader Mediterranean menu, and that’s good

TAMPASeldom have I paid such close attention to a restaurant closure, remodeling and reopening. Byblos Cafe began a major renovation last year, keeping the restaurant open as long as possible during the summer with some nifty temporary walls to shiel...
Published: 01/16/18
Restaurant review: Ichicoro Ane brings ramen, Japanese small plates and a whole lot of fun to St. Petersburg

Restaurant review: Ichicoro Ane brings ramen, Japanese small plates and a whole lot of fun to St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURGWhen Station House restaurant opened on Christmas Eve 2014 it was a totally reinvented space, Steve Gianfilippo’s vision for the basement level of a 104-year-old, five-story, 30,000-square-foot building he’d bought for $3 million. For y...
Published: 01/12/18
Updated: 01/13/18
Top Chef’s Fabio Viviani will open a restaurant in downtown Tampa

Top Chef’s Fabio Viviani will open a restaurant in downtown Tampa

The Tampa Bay restaurant scene has hit a certain kind of critical mass. For several years, rumors have swirled that the nation’s celebrity chefs were considering this part of the Florida peninsula as "the next big thing," a place to colonize and set ...
Published: 01/12/18