Make us your home page
Instagram

Bar review: Caledonia Brewing and Soggy Bottom Brewing Co. in downtown Dunedin

It happened over the course of a year or so, but St. Petersburg's brewery count seemed to more than double overnight. Remember when it was just Brewers Tasting Room, Cycle and Green Bench?

Ditto Dunedin, which welcomed two more breweries to its rapidly growing brewery scene this year, bringing the current count to seven. Considering Dunedin's size and population, this is remarkable. Remember when it was just Dunedin Brewery, 7venth Sun and House of Beer?

The newest kids on the block are Caledonia Brewing and Soggy Bottom Brewing Co., both of which opened in April. Caledonia resides in a historic building formerly used by the Dunedin Times, while Soggy Bottom occupies a business center space that's much more lively than its setting would suggest.

Despite its young age, Caledonia has the feel of a brewery that's firmly established. The historic building has been stripped down to the basics — exposed brick walls and wooden rafters, concrete floors — with long picnic tables comprising the bulk of the seating.

But there's also a fleshed-out aesthetic, featuring a unique mix of vintage gear — a Wurlitzer jukebox, hot rod parts, old cameras and radios — and games, like the retro classic Super Pong IV and various board games. Look for the Etch A Sketch behind the bar that features a nicely rendered unicorn, Caledonia's mascot.

Most noteworthy, of course, are the brewery's 16 draft beers, which cover a broad range of styles, all executed cleanly and faithfully — no small feat for beers launched right out of the gate. Brews like the Swheat Thunder cherry wheat and Scream cream ale add some subtle flair to basic styles, while beers like Rat Arsed scotch ale and Citredonia 2: Grapefruit Boogaloo IPA allow the brewery to flex its muscles a bit.

If there's any weakness here, it's in Caledonia's relatively straightforward nature of their beers, which have the potential to seem underwhelming when compared with some of the more ambitious brews that other Dunedin breweries are known for. Fortunately, the quality of Caledonia's output is high and the setting is appealing and big enough for plenty of growth, both of which bode well for the brewery's future.

Soggy Bottom's up

Just down the street is Soggy Bottom Brewing Co. (surprisingly, not an O Brother, Where Art Thou? reference), which has a looser feel than Caledonia. Located in what could easily be mistaken as a shopping plaza dive, Soggy Bottom's low ceilings and dark interior belie a fun, funky vibe, topped off with a haphazard industrial look that features bar stools fashioned from old beer kegs and license plates, and tables covered in old steel grating.

Behind the bar is a chalkboard tally of how many days the brewery's been open — it recently hit the triple digits — and a list of its offerings, which include a variety of eclectic brews, like Hint-A-Mint stout (cacao nibs and mint leaf), a toasted coconut porter and Long Summer Walk (a wheat brew flavored with blackberries).

With the addition of a pool table and a few dart boards, Soggy Bottom has all the dive bar fixings without the seediness. You're much more likely to run into a family with dogs than you are a crusty barfly, which can be a pro or con. For a walking tour of Dunedin's seven breweries, it's perfect.

To the last point, one downside to all this growth is that it's now much harder to do a full run of Dunedin breweries in a single afternoon, which is admittedly a nice problem to have. For residents, I imagine it's nice to see the city's beer growth relative to the rest of the area. To a St. Petersburger like me, it just means that I'll have to consider a few extra trips to Dunedin this year.

Contact Justin Grant at jg@saintbeat.com. Follow @WordsWithJG.

2 BREWS FOR YOU

Caledonia Brewing

587 Main St., Dunedin; (727) 351-5105; caledoniabrewing.com

The vibe: A roomy, sunny taproom in a historic downtown brick building.

Booze: Beer and wine. Beer, $5 to $6; wine, $6 to $9.

Specialty: With 16 house taps, there are many brews from which to choose, so consider a flight ($8) of four. Standouts include the intense Rat Arsed scotch ale and Citredonia 2: Grapefruit Boogaloo IPA. While you're sampling, see if you can find the toy triceratops hiding somewhere behind the bar.

Hours: 3 p.m. to midnight Wednesday and Thursday; noon to midnight Friday through Sunday; closed Monday and Tuesday.

Soggy Bottom Brewing Co.

660 Main St., Dunedin; (727) 601-1698; soggybottom.apphb.com

The vibe: A divey tasting room with an artsy industrial feel.

Booze: Beer and wine, $6.

Specialty: In addition to core brews like Two Face east coast IPA and Outlaw amber ale, Soggy Bottom experiments with many interesting flavoring additions. Try the toasted coconut porter or the Long Summer Walk, a blackberry wheat ale.

Hours: 3 p.m. to midnight

Monday through Thursday;

3 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday; noon to

2 a.m. Saturday; noon to midnight Sunday.

Bar review: Caledonia Brewing and Soggy Bottom Brewing Co. in downtown Dunedin 08/03/17 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 2, 2017 2:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. If you miss out on Retro Futura tour, you'll be needing a little 'Tenderness'

    Blogs

    Closing out Retro Futura Week is a little bit of a cheat. We started the week with the English Beat and we end it with an offshoot of the Beat, the band General Public and their hit …

  2. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Aug. 20

    Events

    The Art of the Brick: An elaborate display of more than 100 pieces of Lego artwork including the life sized sculpture of a man ripping open his chest, a 20-foot-long T. rex skeleton, a giant skull and replicas of famous works including Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night and Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona …

    Eliana Goldberg, 5, of Wesley Chapel looks at a Lego sculpture called "Everlasting" at The Art of the Brick exhibit, which opened Friday in Tampa and runs through Sept. 4. [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]
  3. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik backs film company pursuing global blockbusters

    Corporate

    TAMPA — Jeff Vinik's latest investment might be coming to a theater near you.

    Jeff Vinik, Tampa Bay Lightning owner, invested in a new movie company looking to appeal to a global audience. | [Times file photo]
  4. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Aug. 19

    Events

    Monster Jam Triple Threat Series: Come early for the Pit Party ($15 or free at local Ford dealers) to meet the drivers and get pictures with the trucks. 7 p.m., Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $15-$80. (813) 301-2500.

    A crew member from the El Toro Loco monster truck, installs a truck tire, Thursday, 8/17/17 in preparation for Saturday's  Monster Jam Triple Threat Series at Amalie Arena, Tampa. The event will be held Saturday at 1pm and 7 pm.
  5. There's a bar in Tampa where you can roller skate and eat sushi

    Food & Dining

    Roller skating, it's not just for kids birthday parties and the 1970s anymore.

    The exterior of Pattinis features this mural by Art Aliens! [Pattinis South Tampa via Facebook]