Green Bench Brewing officially opened its doors Wednesday in St. Petersburg's Edge District, with a soft opening showcasing four of the brewery's beers.
It features a tasting room and large, outdoor beer garden — a 6,000-square-foot patio featuring seating, lawn games and a throwback brewery logo mural, designed to look like a classic Florida postcard.
St. Petersburg's past is a pervasive theme at Green Bench, which is named for the iconic benches that lined Central Avenue in the early 1900s. Several green benches were installed, including an original one in the tasting room. A bench outside was decorated with small stingray cutouts. (Tropicana Field is visible from the beer garden.)
Although the brewery will eventually serve 12 beers on tap, only four were available for the soft opening. These included Green Bench IPA, a hop-forward but sessionable 4.5 percent alcohol by volume pale ale; Stay Dry Stout, a classic dry stout; Skyway Wheat, a classic American wheat ale; and Saison de Banc Vert, a Belgian-style saison that's fermented in a traditional oak foudre.
Green Bench is one of only a handful of breweries in the eastern United States that uses these large wooden fermenting vessels — relics of Old World Belgian brewing, typically reserved for rustic farmhouse ales and sour beers, both of which Green Bench will be focusing on heavily in the future.
The Green Bench tasting room will remain open until the grand opening on Oct. 19, which will feature beers brewed in collaboration with other area breweries such as Cigar City, 7venth Sun, Saint Somewhere and Orlando's Cask & Larder.
This is the second of three breweries for downtown St. Petersburg. Cycle Brewing opened not far away on Central Avenue in mid August. And 3 Daughters is scheduled to open in the Grand Central District in November.