In parts of Germany, an annual carnival called Fasching is a bigger deal than Oktoberfest. We celebrated this Mardi Gras-like holiday Monday night at New Tampa's Mr. Dunderbak's, one of the best beer bars in town. For just $20, each person got delicious German food, passed family-style down a long table, while we learned about the six beers we were tasting from the Andechs Monastery brewery, which just recently became available in Tampa Bay. Each was so different, from the pilsner to the dunkel weisse. My favorite was the Früh Kölsch, a delicate, sessionable beer — light in body with subtle peppery notes. — Jessica Vander Velde
Suds and slices
Pizza Fusion in Downtown Tampa is holding a weeklong Pizza Party with specialty pairings featuring Florida Beer Company products. The six-combination menu could be ordered as individual-sized pizzas or group fare with a pitcher. The standout was the Very Vegan Pizza (crimini mushrooms, roasted garlic, tomato sauce, and soy cheese) paired with the crisp carbonation of Kelly's Gluten Free Hard Cider. Other pairing beers include Devil's Triangle IPA (pictured with Spinach and Artichoke Pizza), Southernmost Wheat, Gaspar's Porter and Swamp Ape DIPA. The pairings menu ends on Sunday. — Robbyn Mitchell
Sweet sounds at New World
Ybor City's New World Brewery played host to Georgia brewer SweetWater's free concert Wednesday night. The bar's patio was standing-room-only when Two Car Garage took the stage after 9 p.m. The brewer hosted a raffle for all who purchased their beers, giving out three prizes, Gasparilla Music Festival tickets, tickets to the SweetWater 420 music fest in Atlanta and a huge wooden SweetWater sign. — Robbyn Mitchell
When in Bruges...
When it comes to great beer, a brewery in Brussels, Belgium called Cantillon is at the top. Its offerings are delicious and they are hard to get in the United States. At Mr. Dunderbak's on Wednesday, we tasted five different Cantillon beers and other delicious Belgians. The room was packed to capacity with homebrewers, professional brewers and those who know good beer when they see it. My favorite was the Cantillon gueze, a simple, sour beer with floral notes and no fruit, like several of the other Belgian beers, which were lambics. While we drank and ate Belgian food, St. Somewhere's Bob Sylvester played a slideshow of his recent beer cruise through Belgium. I think we all would have been a little more jealous of his experiences if we weren't sampling so many delicious beers. — Jessica Vander Velde