tbt* ultimate bar guide: women in brewing

These three women are part of a growing industry in Tampa Bay.
Devon Kreps, owner of 7venth Sun, pictured in August in Dunedin.
Devon Kreps, owner of 7venth Sun, pictured in August in Dunedin. [ ALLIE GOULDING | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Sept. 14, 2019|Updated Sept. 16, 2019

Devon Kreps, President and General Manager, 7venth Sun Brewery

How did you start in the industry?

Through the ingenuity of my friends I wound up trying Bell’s Oberon before I was technically allowed to. I fell in love with craft beer right then and there. I started trying any craft beer I could get my hands on; mostly Bell's brews. Cherry Stout, Best Brown—dark beer or stout is where it all began. When I discovered Oregon State University had a fermentation science program I knew I had found my path.

What’s your most ambitious brew?

Probably one that's still in the works. The first of our foeder program and collaboration with Cigar City is nearly ready for fruit and I think anytime you are dealing with mixed culture fermentation on wood you need to stay humble and diligent. Providing the best possible opportunity for the yeast and bacteria to create something beautiful is always the most nerve-wracking part of making beer, but also one with the biggest payoff if done well.

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Women in brewing

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What beer are you proudest of?

Probably West Coast 2 West Coast, a collaboration with Cascade in Portland, Oregon. We were able to taste and select barrels in their cellar for blending. WC2WC was a 7venth Sun mixed culture barrel-aged beer specifically created to blend with that barrel and the result was really beautiful; it had notes of stone fruit and the perfect harmony of sour and funk. I was lucky enough to try one at my last birthday/7venth Sun's 7th anniversary from a friend that had saved a bottle. It still tasted amazing.

Tell me about your craziest brew day.

Bottling day for Dark Brush Stout, brewed in collaboration with Rock Brothers for Umphrey's McGee. The team started bottling at 9 a.m. while I went off to work an event; when I got back they were only halfway done so I jumped on the line and it took until close to midnight. We had only a very manual four-head filler and the beer was sweet and sticky. Everyone was covered in stout and exhausted by the time it was all said and done.

What’s your shift beer?

Control Freak, our pale ale with Citra and Mosaic hops. Or, if it's been a rough day I will enjoy a Mangrove shot—take 4 ounces of our double IPA, make a toast with friends and drink it in one shot— a tradition created by our Dunedin regulars.

Julia Rosenthal, CEO, Pair O’ Dice Brewing Co.

Julia Rosenthal, Pair O' Dice Brewing, on Friday, Aug. 02, 2019 in Clearwater.
Julia Rosenthal, Pair O' Dice Brewing, on Friday, Aug. 02, 2019 in Clearwater. [ ALLIE GOULDING | Tampa Bay Times ]

What sparked your interest in brewing?

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I was an engineering student at the University of Florida when I was recruited by Anheuser-Busch. They sent me to the Baldwinsville, New York plant where I fell in love with the entire brewery operation. It’s where I first smelled mash and it’s still one of my favorite smells in the world.

What is your most ambitious brew?

Lucky Lucy Strawberry Blonde. Florida strawberries are only available four months out of the year so we had to find a good source for them and then we had to create several processes in house to be able to use the unpasteurized fruit and still create a consistent and shelf stable product that could sit warm on a retail shelf. Taking that beer year round required the help of the entire team and everyone did a great job to get it where it is today.

What is the beer you’re proudest of?

Up Hops the Devil bourbon barrel-aged barleywine. It’s an American barleywine and it was the first beer we barrel aged because I wanted to do something different than the standard barrel-aged imperial stout. The beer came out absolutely fantastic and it is the best beer I think we’ve ever made. It’s so well balanced you’d never guess that it’s an 11% alcohol by volume beer. I’m very proud of our ability to brew deceptively drinkable, high-ABV beer. I wish the American barleywine was a more appreciated style.

What’s your shift beer?

Hop Bet Red.

Where do you drink beer when you’re off the clock?

The Ale and the Witch was my craft beer bar when I first moved back home to open Pair O’ Dice Brewing. So much of the brewery was discussed and planned there. For that reason it will always be my favorite place in town to enjoy a beer.

Taylor Corona, Head Brewer, Flying Boat Brewing Company

Taylor Corona, Flying Boat Brewery, on Thursday, Aug. 01, 2019 in St. Petersburg.
Taylor Corona, Flying Boat Brewery, on Thursday, Aug. 01, 2019 in St. Petersburg. [ ALLIE GOULDING | Tampa Bay Times ]

You’re new to Flying Boat but not to the industry. How did you get started before moving to St. Pete?

I originally found brewing when I was going to school at Clemson University. I was speaking with my archaeology professor, who has done a ton of work in Peru. She was telling me about chicha [a traditional beer made from corn and saliva] and how it is prepared, and it was so fascinating. I looked into doing an independent study on beer in anthropology and ended up with an internship at Brewery 85 in Greenville, South Carolina. I guess you could say it's snowballed from there!

What is the beer you’re proudest of?

I'm really hard on myself when brewing and I basically think everything is junk until someone tells me otherwise. But when I piloted my golden ale, the sixtel keg I filled was gone within an hour. I was so excited about it! I just made a full scale recipe for Flying Boat.

What is your most ambitious brew?

I have a love of all things historical and I would love to try brewing some ancient recipes and see what they may have tasted like. I would also like to try some old brewing techniques. I don't think I've had my most ambitious brew just yet!

Do you have any brew day horror stories?

I think everyone in brewing has had a day where everything just goes to hell. I try not to focus on the sucky part of the day and use it as a learning experience and teaching tool. If I spilled all my bad days, we would be here for quite a while. But at the end of the day… BEER!

What’s your shift beer after a brew day?

I keep bouncing back and forth between a few. Pub Ale is always a solid choice, but some days I like Sunken Gardens pale ale or The Fourteen porter.