Bright orange T-shirts and mysterious brown bottles circulated around the main dining room of Mr. Dunderbak's restaurant Tuesday night during a celebration of greatness. Not only did Tampa Bay B.E.E.R.S. homebrewing club win the best homebrewing club award at the Best Florida Beer Championships over the weekend, they also took home the Coconut Cup for the fourth straight year in the Miami Area Society of Homebrewers contest, said J.B. Ellis, owner of Mr. Dunderbak's.
"We didn't even show up for that one either," Ellis said. "Not one person went to Miami. We just sent down some beers and won."
After special guest Jeremy Cowan, owner of New York's Shmaltz Brewing Co., talked to the group about his anniversary beer, Jewbelation, homebrewers took out their own creations and flitted from table to table handing out paper cups and samples.
David Edwards, 55, of New Port Richey brewed a Hefeweizen for his girlfriend that he named "Skinny Little Heffy." The light tasting brew smelled of bananas and cloves. Michael Cohen, 51 of Tampa, won mass approval with his Russian Imperial Stout Mikhail's Black Madness. Even Cowan was impressed.
"It's aged with ancho chiles and cinnamon sticks," he said. "I'm really honored Cowan likes it. He and I seem to share a similar taste."
Cowan brought some Jewbelation with him, though only 10 small kegs have been imported to the state. "Get it while it's here because once it's gone that batch will never be made again," he said.