ST. PETERSBURG — Tampa Bay’s only James Beard Award nominee this year isn’t a restaurant, but a brewery in downtown St. Petersburg’s EDGE District. It’s called Webb’s City Cellar, and it was named a semifinalist in the Outstanding Bar category.
If you’re curious about the spot that got a nod from the national food awards, here are four things to know.
It’s part of Green Bench Brewing Co.
It’s a bit odd that the James Beard nom didn’t mention Green Bench Brewing, given that Webb’s is really just its second tasting room. The neighboring spot was opened in 2019 by the Green Bench owners as a place to serve more experimental brews. It’s also a barrel-aging facility, and you can see tons of barrels lined up while you’re sipping from your pint. Webb’s does have different, more limited hours than its neighbor: 4-10 p.m. Thursday, 4 p.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday, noon-8 p.m. Sunday. And it’s only open to those 21 and older, unlike the very family-friendly Green Bench space.
They experiment with wild brews.
Webb’s City Cellar has expanded Green Bench’s offerings, with a climate-controlled cellar and special equipment like custom-built foeders that allow them to experiment with “mixed culture fermentation” and other aging processes. This space specializes in wild ales and mixed culture sours, using a house blend of wild yeast and bacteria to make beers that have a bit more funk than the traditional lager or stout. The menu at Webb’s is a rotating selection of complex pours like a sour ale with tart cherry, grapefruit zest, raspberry, hibiscus and rose hips; an oak barrel-aged ale with plum and cherry; and a wine barrel-aged farmhouse ale with honey and apricot. According to their website, they can keep 700 wine barrels in the cellar.
They serve lots of mead and cider, too.
The cellar also houses special equipment for the production of mead, a fermented beverage made from honey, and cider, which is made from fermented apple juice. They craft some of the most interesting ciders in the city, dry and crisp varieties layered with fruit and funk. Options here include a wild-fermented dry cider aged in a neutral oak barrel; a dry cider made with Wickson Crab, Yates and Harrison apples; and a “melomel” mead made with dried figs and three different kinds of honey.
They host popups and events in the expansive space.
Webb’s City Cellar has hosted everything from oyster popups to live music in its moody, oak-scented space. Its current Classical Revolution series brings live classical music (performers include musicians from the Florida Orchestra) to the cellar monthly through May. The space is large, with a bar, a lounge in the back, an outdoor patio and balcony seating upstairs. It’s a fun option for events like wedding receptions and baby showers, too.