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For Beer Week 2014, the 8 quintessential beers of Tampa Bay

Key Lime Sublime Berliner Weisse, 7venth Sun Brewery

One of the hottest trends in brewing over the last year has been "Florida Weisse," fruit-forward takes on a classic German wheat beer. Dunedin's 7venth Sun Brewery uses key lime-infused tea to make this crisp, slightly tart version pop. It can often be found on draft in the brewery's tasting room, and it's a favorite at local beer festivals. 7venth Sun Brewery, 1012 Broadway, Dunedin. (727) 733-3013, 7venthsun.com.

Hunahpu's Imperial Stout, Cigar City Brewing

Consistently rated one of the world's best beers (it's currently No. 21 in BeerAdvocate's Top 250 list), Hunahpu's is the beer that put Florida on the map for serious beer drinkers. This bold imperial stout is aged with cacao, cinnamon, vanilla and Central American chili peppers. It's released only once a year, sold at the brewery during the annual Hunahpu's Day festival (this year's sold-out event is March 8). Cigar City Brewing, 3924 W Spruce St., Tampa. (813) 348-6363, cigarcitybrewing.com.

Florida Avenue Ale, Cold Storage Craft Brewery

With many Bay area breweries focusing on pushing the boundaries with new, niche styles, Cold Storage's flagship beer seems almost plain in comparison. This is deliberate, as Florida Avenue Ale is designed specifically with the typical Florida climate in mind. It's an American wheat ale with light citrus and spice notes that's highly thirst-quenching on a warm summer day, making it accessible for connoisseurs and novices alike. It's widely available in bottles and on draft in many bars across the Bay Area. Cold Storage Craft Brewery, 4101 N Florida Avenue, Tampa. (813) 374-2101, floridaavenuebrewing.com.

Old Elephant Foot IPA (cask version), Tampa Bay Brewing Company

Old Elephant Foot IPA has been the big seller at this Ybor City brewery for many years, but the cask version takes the beer to another level. Served with only natural carbonation and at cellar temperature, this "real ale" version of the brewery's classic IPA is rich, hoppy and highly drinkable. A different cask beer is tapped at the brewery every Thursday, though this particular one often pops up at other area bars and at festivals. If you can't find the cask version, the standard Old Elephant Foot IPA is readily available on draft and in 16-ounce cans in stores. Tampa Bay Brewing Company, 1600 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. (813) 247-1422, tampabaybrewingcompany.com.

Apricot Peach Ale, Dunedin Brewery

Long before the current boom, Dunedin Brewery, Florida's oldest craft brewery, was churning out this fruit-forward wheat beer in large volumes. To this day, it remains the brewery's most popular beer. And for good reason — it tastes every bit as refreshing now as it did a decade ago. This beer is a fixture at the brewery itself, and it makes regular appearances at other beer bars around the bay area. Dunedin Brewery, 937 Douglas Avenue, Dunedin. (727) 736-0606, dunedinbrewery.com

Gose, Rapp Brewing Company

Seminole's Rapp Brewing is known for resurrecting archaic European beer styles, and its version of the German gose — a slightly salty cousin of the Berliner Weisse, spiced with coriander — has become so popular that its now the brewery's de facto flagship beer. You'll find this one at Rapp's tasting room, although bottles are released on occasion. Rapp Brewing, 10930 Endeavor Way, Seminole. (727) 544-1752, rappbrewing.com.

Saison Athene, Saint Somewhere Brewing Company

Tarpon Springs' Saint Somewhere focuses on Belgian-style farmhouse ales fermented with the help of local microflora. Saison Athene is brewed with chamomile, fresh rosemary, and black pepper, and is then fermented with a house yeast strain, containing wild yeast from the surrounding area. The result is a floral, peppery saison that offers a taste of Florida terroir. The beer is usually available during limited brewery tours (6 to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday), but Saison Athene is easy to find in 750ml bottles at local beer stores, as well as on draft at local beer bars. The brewery is located at 1441 Savannah Ave., Tarpon Springs. (813) 503-6181, saintsomewherebrewing.com.

Fixie Session IPA, Cycle Brewing

St. Pete's Cycle Brewing is well-known for beers coming from opposite ends of the spectrum: boozy, barrel-aged stouts and old ales, as well as light-bodied, hop-centric pale ales. Fixie belongs in the latter category, representing the up-and-coming "session IPA" category. These beers are under 5 percent alcohol by volume (Fixie is around 4.7 percent) but contain floral, citrusy aromatic qualities characteristic of stronger IPAs. As such, you can safely drink more than one, and with Fixie, you'll want to. Fixie is always on draft in the tasting room, and it's commonly served at other local beer bars. Cycle Brewing, 534 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. (727) 320-7954.

For Beer Week 2014, the 8 quintessential beers of Tampa Bay 02/25/14 [Last modified: Thursday, February 27, 2014 2:22pm]
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