Sunday, May 20, 2018
Bars & Spirits

Beer Week: From smarty-pants trivia to Smuttynose tasting

For the sixth day of Tampa Bay Beer Week on Thursday, I made a tough call between attending two events in two different cities — the Angry Chair Brewing Night at the Cigar City Brewing Tasting Room in Tampa, and Metal Trivia, hosted by Cigar City at Copperheads Taphouse in Safety Harbor. The former was a tasting of a few beers from the soon-to-open new Tampa brewery, and the second was a trivia night where I felt I had a huge edge over the local competition. I chose Metal Trivia.

Unfortunately, we ended up arriving nearly halfway through the actual trivia event but still managed to pull through in second place. The first place team was extremely good though, so I'm not sure we would have taken the top prize (a bar tab paid in full) even if we had arrived on time. During the trivia, extra points were given for purchases of Cigar City beers on draft, including Brengles DIPA, the Humidor Series IPA, and Guanabana from the Cervezas Frescas series.

After trivia, we debated trying to hurry up and get over to the Cigar City Tasting Room, but it was too close to closing time, so we headed to Tampa's Mermaid Tavern instead, for the Smuttynose Short Batch Tasting. At this tasting, four rare Smuttynose kegs were on draft: Herbaceous fresh-hopped Amber Ale, Barrel-Aged Belgian Stout, Oaked Wheatwine and Bourbon Barrel-Aged Robust Porter. Although I didn't get information on the Belgian Stout, the Smuttynose rep told me that the Wheatwine and Porter were aged in Buffalo Trace barrels. They weren't too barrel-forward, instead giving the beers a subtle oak and bourbon flavor that allowed the original beer to shine through.

As an added bonus to all our tight schedules and running around, I actually ran into Angry Chair co-founder Ryan Dowdle at the Mermaid Tavern and got the scoop on how the Cigar City event went. Apparently, a few hundred people were also there to check out the brewery's quirky wares: German Chocolate Cake Stout, Banana Flambé, and blueberry and raspberry Berliner Weisses. Ryan hopes to open the brewery proper sometime in March.

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