RAISE A GLASS: TAMPA BAY BEER WEEK
Tampa Bay Beer Week returns with another monster lineup of events. During this celebration of the local craft beer scene, started in 2012, everything from festivals and bottle releases to tap takeovers and pairings invade venues across the region. The Florida Brewers Guild Craft Beer Festival (Perry Harvey Sr. Park, Tampa), Hunahpu’s Day (Amalie Arena, Tampa), Foeder for Thought (Green Bench Brewing Co., St. Petersburg) and Hangover Day (7venth Sun Brewery, Dunedin and Tampa) are among the signature happenings. The Ultimate Brewer competition kicks off Beer Week at Tampa Heights brewery Hidden Spring Ale Works, 1631 N Franklin St. Through March 15. $35. 7 p.m. Friday. For the full schedule of events, visit tampabaybeerweek.com.
DIG IN: WILD GAME DINNER
Billed as “guys only,” the Rotary Club of Brandon’s Wild Game Dinner brings a buffet of wild game like venison, gator, moose, wild hog and quail. The 44th annual all-you-can-eat spread also offers barbecue ribs, fried chicken and other food favorites for less adventurous eaters, as well as an open bar, premium cigars, a gun raffle and door prizes. Benefits local charities. VIP sold out. $100. 6-10 p.m. Friday. Boggy Bottom Ranch, 8407 Lupton Place, Plant City. (813) 748-2076. eventbrite.com.
POP OFF: CHAMPAGNE 101
Champagne 101 promises a tasting flight matched with light bites. You sample the pairings while learning more about the featured sparkling wine from Moet and Chandon representatives. $75. 2-4 p.m. Saturday. Flute & Dram, 259 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. (727) 350-5657. flutendram.com.
SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE: COCKTAIL COMPETITION
Top local bartenders whip up their best specialty libations, facing off to win a trip to the Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Ky. The first round of the Four Roses Race to Kentucky Cocktail Competition tasks them with mixing a classic cocktail. Then the highest-scoring contenders move on to the second round, in which they use a mystery box of ingredients to create the sipper of their choice. Dean Hurst of R&D Hospitality, United States Bartenders’ Guild Tampa Bay president Brenda Terry and Raul Moreno of Four Roses serve as judges, grading each bartender on execution and creativity. As a spectator, nab specially priced Four Roses cocktails (the signature Old Fashioned included), food and giveaways. Free, food and drink additional. 6-9 p.m. Tuesday. Big Easy, 1704 E Seventh Ave., Tampa. (813) 248-3444. eventbrite.com.
GO GREEN: SEVEN DAYS OF ST. PATRICK’S DAY
The Lucky Dill observes St. Patrick’s Day for a week with Seven Days of St. Patrick’s Day. In addition to live Irish music, this party features whiskey tastings, green beer and more than 10,000 pounds of corned beef and cabbage. Through March 17. Free, food and drink additional. 11 a.m. March 11. 33180 U.S. 19 N, Palm Harbor. (727) 789-5574. See eventbrite.com for the full schedule of events.
IL RITORNO: PLANT-BASED MENUS
A couple of innovative plant-based menus have hit downtown St. Petersburg modern Italian spot Il Ritorno. One is designed for vegetarians, showcasing dishes from chef and co-owner David Benstock that include mezze rigatoni (charred Brussels sprouts, charred rapini, cherry tomatoes, toasted garlic, fiore di sardo) and Spring Bounty (English pea, morel mushrooms, charred asparagus, foraged greens, blood orange vinaigrette). Vegans can chow down on the other, a selection built upon items like Wild ’Shrooms (salsa verde, farro, foraged mushrooms, pickled scallion, charred broccoli rabe) and cauliflower soup (fennel spaetzle, charred shishitos and toasted garlic). Interestingly, two pasta plates — the vegan spring spaghetti and the vegetarian cavatelli — showcase stinging nettle. I asked our food critic Helen Freund about this, and her response? Watch out, dandelion greens! “I think it might be the new trendy green,” she said. 449 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. (727) 897-5900. ilritornodowntown.com.
LIGHTNING: FOOD AND DRINK CHANGES
Tampa Bay Lightning fans can now enjoy more wallet-friendly food and drink during all games, including the potential playoff games, at Amalie Arena. The team has implemented an average overall reduction of approximately 15 percent on the venue’s pricing of beverages and bites, according to a news release. The cost of the snack pretzel and large popcorn, for example, decreased by 26 percent, and the Aquafina bottled water and peanuts by 25 percent. “We understand our fans must consider the all-in price of attending a Lightning game at Amalie Arena, and we want to help address that,” said Lightning chief executive officer Steven Griggs in the release. Unveiled on the heels of the team’s pledge to revamp the Amalie food and drink experience, the changes went into effect at the Feb. 25 home game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Season ticket holders will continue to receive their discounts on top of the new reductions. nhl.com/lightning.