Opened in 2010 in an old Florida Avenue grocery store, Cold Storage Craft Brewery was one of Tampa's first in a wave of craft breweries to follow. Its signature beer, Florida Avenue Ale, became the namesake of the brewery when it rebranded in 2013 as Florida Avenue Brewing Co.
Founder Bruce Talcott enjoyed a nice five-year run before deciding to retire at the end of 2015, selling his brewery and its beers to Brew Bus, which had previously been brewed out of Cigar City. Today the Florida Avenue taproom is home to both Brew Bus beer and a small range of beers brewed under the Florida Avenue Brewing Co. banner, including that old flagship, Florida Avenue Ale, which has recently gone into distribution in canned six-packs.
Florida Avenue Ale is a bit different than it was in 2015. The most striking difference is the beer's brilliant clarity. Where its predecessor had a haziness that one would easily associate with the style (pale American wheat ale), the new Florida Avenue Ale is crystal clear, with near-sparkling carbonation and a fluffy, white head.
The flavor is not far off from the original. It's light-bodied, with a wheaty finish that accentuates the beer's natural sweetness. The beer is mostly hop-neutral, which adds to the effect. The addition of lemon peel contributes a very slight tart bite that works well to balance the finished product out, while also adding a little extra character to keep things interesting.
As a hot weather brew, this is one to buy in sixers. Fortunately, they're widely available in beer shops across the bay area, along with Florida Avenue IPA. This beer is a great alternative for open-minded fans of light and macro lagers, but it'll also be a good fit for any beer drinker in the market for something light and refreshing that's still quite lively. Cheers to the folks at Brew Bus/Florida Avenue Brewing for keeping this one alive.
— Justin Grant, tbt* correspondent
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