Sunday, January 21, 2018
Bars & Spirits

Citrus Park House of Beer brings rare brews, wine drafts to Odessa

I would have been hard-pressed a few months ago to tell you anything about the beer scene in Odessa. Part of that is because I live pretty far from there, and the other part is, well, what beer scene in Odessa?

That last quip may have worked a year ago, but with new breweries like Big Storm and Wild Rover on the map, Odessa is unquestionably coming up in a big way. It's appropriate, then, that Odessa's newest beer bar, the Citrus Park House of Beer, holds its grand opening on Friday, right at the tail end of Tampa Bay Beer Week.

Florida has a lot of beer-bar chains, so allow me to clarify the lineage. Citrus Park House of Beer is the first franchise location of the House of Beer chain that started in Dunedin and spawned locations in Palm Harbor and Gainesville. (An aside: The Dunedin location is part of what I like to call the Dunedin Beer Triangle — two breweries, Dunedin and 7venth Sun, and a taproom that are all within a short walk of each other.)

Citrus Park House of Beer follows the HoB formula insofar as there isn't much of a formula at all, just a lot of good, fresh beer. The interior is modest — a relatively small but open space, with brick and terra cotta-colored walls, and wooden tables and benches. The place isn't just new; it looks and smells new.

There are 40 beers on draft, including five nitro taps for stouts, bitters and other Irish- and British-style pub drafts. The range is as diverse as one could hope for, including world-class imports like St. Bernardus Abt12, Cuvée Des Jacobins Rouge and Radeberger; limited-release domestics like Green Flash Hop Odyssey: Double Columbus and Full Sail LTD #4; and lots of locals from Cigar City, Florida Avenue, 3 Daughters, Saint Somewhere (Caroline, a coffee saison, if you can believe that!), and, of course, Big Storm.

Beers are also available in small, 4-ounce tasters (priced from $1.50-$3 each), which gives you the option to make flights of any quantity you'd like, or simply the ability to drink a tiny beer, if that's your thing. Citrus Park HoB also offers 32-ounce and 128-ounce growlers, and presumably will fill 64-ounce growlers as well, once Florida lawmakers inevitably come to their senses. A modest bottle list is also available for on-site or package sales. My pick: The Bruery's Oude Tart, a Flanders-style red ale aged in wine barrels. It's pricy, but it's so good.

Speaking of wine, that's one of the unique features at Citrus Park HoB: Six wines are served on draft. Citrus Park HoB is one of only two local bars that I'm aware of (the other being the Flying Pig Taphouse in St. Pete) that does this. The wine keg system — which was approved in Florida last year — keeps wine fresh long after uncorking, with no oxidation whatsoever.

The final component of this House of Beer is the kitchen, a feature unique to this location. Chef Jeremy Denny is both a chef and a homebrewer, so it's no surprise that his menu experiments with beer-infused ingredients, including beer-boiled peanuts (the version I tried used Green Flash Double Stout) and Innis & Gunn-braised sauerkraut, which is used in the Reuben flatbread.

For Friday's grand opening, Citrus Park House of Beer will feature Rapp Brewing beers on tap, live music and giveaways throughout the day. And an expanded menu and beer classes are in the works for the weeks to follow. Citrus Park HoB will be a great place to stop by for Beer Week if you happen to be in the area, and what better time than that to welcome the latest addition to Odessa's emerging beer scene?

[email protected]

Comments
Bar review: Florida spirits and brews at the newest Local Draught House in Tampa

Bar review: Florida spirits and brews at the newest Local Draught House in Tampa

I donít consider myself "old" ó though I have gotten into a bad habit of informing door people insistent on checking my ID that Iím halfway to 70. But Iím frequently made aware of how far removed my lifestyle is from that of my 20s.So when I walked i...
Published: 01/18/18
Local craft beer of the week: Electric Wizard IPA from 7venth Sun Brewery

Local craft beer of the week: Electric Wizard IPA from 7venth Sun Brewery

The past six months have been kind to Dunedinís 7venth Sun Brewery. In August, the breweryís long-awaited Tampa expansion finally happened, with its much larger Seminole Heights facility and tasting room opening in a town eager to try its range of ul...
Published: 01/18/18
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...
Published: 01/17/18
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...
Published: 01/17/18
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...
Published: 01/17/18
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. Weíre talking a whole week of lows in the 30s. The 30s! It was everything I ever wanted and more ó the rare win...
Published: 01/16/18
Restaurant review: Byblos Cafe has busted out of its mold with a broader Mediterranean menu, and thatís good

Restaurant review: Byblos Cafe has busted out of its mold with a broader Mediterranean menu, and thatís 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