Make us your home page
Instagram

Bar review: Hidden Springs Ale Works is at home in Tampa Heights

Just a few blocks from downtown Tampa lies a mostly barren section of the Tampa Heights neighborhood, where a few popular businesses reside, such as Café Hey and Oceanic Market, bordered by shuttered old buildings and dirt lots.

A couple of weeks ago, a mural appeared on the side of Café Hey's building, boldly proclaiming its place in Tampa Heights. The mural was in response to the Department of Transportation's plans to expand Interstate 275, which would doom the businesses surrounding the existing overpass. But it's more than a protest; it's an expression of pride in a neighborhood and community that many see as on the rise.

Indeed, there are plans for a nearby retail and condo complex. In January, the Tampa Heights Civic Association held its Franklin Street Better Block Project, an event that brought the Tampa Heights community together in an effort to revitalize Yellow Brick Row, as the distressed stretch of Franklin that lies west of the interstate is affectionately known by locals. A new monthly market — Tampa Indie Flea — is now being held in the old Rialto Theater building.

Two new business have opened on Yellow Brick Row in as many months: Tampa Muay Thai, and the long-awaited Hidden Springs Ale Works. I don't know much about Muay Thai, but I know a fair amount about beer, so I paid a visit to Hidden Springs.

Like most brewery tasting rooms these days, the look is minimal and vaguely industrial. An unadorned metal bartop is lit by Edison bulbs, hanging in front of exposed ductwork. The long, communal tables that populate the balance of the interior are crafted from unstained, lightly lacquered wood.

There's a lone flat screen above the bar, next to a display of cards and board games. There's some interesting artwork on display, such as the colorful oil paintings by local artist David Kramer, depicting small scenes of Tampa life. The decor is sparse, but it feels clean and modern, rather than unfinished.

Despite the minimalist look, Hidden Springs' tasting room is quite welcoming. If Tampa Heights grows in the way that many are hoping, then Hidden Springs is well-positioned to be the local watering hole, an analog to Seminole Heights' Angry Chair. It's the spot where residents of the soon-to-be condos will grab a pint after work, or visitors from downtown will wander to after a matinee at the Tampa Theatre.

Let's talk about the beer.

Hidden Springs has 20 taps that feature a selection of the brewery's core beers, along with rotating one-offs and seasonal releases, as well as several guest brews from fellow bay area breweries, such as Cigar City Cider & Mead, Coppertail, Angry Chair, Six Ten and Mad Beach.

Of the core beers, the Hidden Springs IPA and Tropic Thunder Floridaweisse really stand out. The IPA is expertly balanced, with a smooth bitterness to round out bright notes of melon, orange and papaya. It's the most dangerously-drinkable IPA in town, and a new favorite of mine, right behind Coppertail's Free Dive. Tropic Thunder is a crisp, tart Berliner flavored with pineapple, strawberry and mango. The fruit jumps out immediately, followed by a wheaty, cereal-like finish. These, and the other core offerings, are surprisingly well-executed for a brewery that has only been open for two months.

The rotating non-core taps are winners, too. For example, there's Tater Pie: an English-style barleywine flavored with sweet potato, vanilla, maple syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg. It sounds like it would be cloyingly sweet, but it's actually extremely balanced and drinkable, not to mention perfect for the season. Upcoming brews include a gingerbread stout and a raspberry-lemon gose.

Hidden Springs Ale Works may be taking a chance on its location, but I think it's a wise one. There's good reason to believe that this part of town is on its way up, and Hidden Springs' opening is part of that reason. It's yet another sign of life on Yellow Brick Row, and that's something that both bay area beer fans and Tampa Heights locals can be proud of.

— jg@saintbeat.com; @WordsWithJG.

Hidden Springs Ale Works

1631 N Franklin St., Tampa; (813) 226-2739; hiddenspringsaleworks.com

The vibe: A minimalist but welcoming neighborhood brewery and tasting room.

Food: Snacks, $2.

Booze: Beer, cider, and sangria, $4-$6. Happy hour is 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday from, featuring $1 off full pours of the brewery's core beers.

Specialty: The brewery's core beers — Deja Moo milk stout, IPA, Tropic Thunder Floridaweisse, and Ginger Mullet red ale — are joined by a rotating cast of seasonal and limited-release beers, like the Tater Pie sweet potato barleywine, Siduri Belgian golden strong ale, and Nefarious double IPA. .

Hours: 5 to 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 3 p.m. to midnight Friday; noon to midnight Saturday; noon to 9 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday and Tuesday

Bar review: Hidden Springs Ale Works is at home in Tampa Heights 11/18/15 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 10:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of May 29-June 4

    Events

    Memorial Day: Among the free events paying tribute to fallen soldiers today is the Bay Pines VA Memorial Day Ceremony in St. Petersburg, with speakers including Sen. Bill Nelson and Rep. Charlie Christ, musical performances, a rifle salute and taps. (727) 319-6479 . The Florida National Cemetery …

    Young blonde boy carrying an American Flag over a wooden Bridge.
  2. Fans in Florida and beyond won't forget Gregg Allman

    Music & Concerts

    The end can come quickly for those who live fast and live hard, who create worlds with their talent and sometimes come close to throwing them away.

    This Oct. 13, 2011 file photo shows Gregg Allman performs at the Americana Music Association awards show in Nashville, Tenn. On Saturday, May 27, 2017, a publicist said the musician, the singer for The Allman Brothers Band, has died. (AP Photo/Joe Howell, File)
  3. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for May 28

    Events

    Alabama: The country music all-timers hit the road for the Southern Drawl tour with openers, the Charlie Daniels Band. 7 p.m., Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $26-$86. (813) 301-2500.

    Handout photo of Alabama, performing 5/28/17 at Amalie Arena in Tampa. Credit: Alan Messer
  4. Find serenity at Grand Cayman Island's Cemetery Beach

    Travel

    GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND

    Hey, cruisers, if you've been to Hell and back, snuggled with the stingrays and taken photos with the turtles at the Cayman Turtle Centre, you might be looking for something different on your next trip. (Guilty!)

    Good snorkeling can be found off shore at Cemetery Beach in Grand Cayman.
  5. Karen Bail, who helped Gibbs kids get to Broadway, retires

    Stage

    ST. PETERSBURG — When neatnicks retire, they leave no trace behind. Their desks are clean, like a runway after the plane has taken off.

    Karen Bail warms up seniors Jonathan O’Brien, left, as Juan Peron and Addam Setzer as Che Guevara before the dress rehearsal of Evita in April.