1. Bars & Breweries

Local craft beer of the week: Cherry Blonde ale, St. Pete Brewing

St. Pete Brewing's Cherry Blonde ale. [Photo by Justin Grant/special to tbt*]
Published Nov. 2, 2017

One of the major benefits of visiting your local brewery is the ability to try one-off batches, often versions of flagship offerings with various flavoring additions.

Some of these beers eventually make it to the production level, like Cigar City's White Oak Jai Alai, or 3 Daughters' Awake Coffee Blonde. Most, however, never see distribution, rewarding an in-person visit with the chance to sample experimental brews.

The caveat to this is the fleeting nature of these beers, especially at breweries like St. Pete Brewing Co., which only brews in relatively small seven-barrel (just over 200 gallons) batches to begin with. They come and go quickly.

St. Pete Brewing's Banyan Blonde ale is an ideal base beer for flavoring treatments. It's on the drier end of the blonde ale spectrum and somewhat assertively hopped, though it's balanced enough to allow ample room for a fruit treatment, like the Cherry Blonde version currently on tap at the time of this writing.

Cherry Blonde pours a brilliant cherry red, naturally, and it has a mild cherry aroma, which is intriguing in the context of Banyan's otherwise floral and spicy hop nose. At first taste, the cherries seem to provide more color and aroma than flavor, despite the fact that 15 pounds of fresh cherries were added to this one-barrel pilot batch.

As the beer warms, however, the cherry flavor becomes increasingly pronounced, adding a sweet, candylike undertone while avoiding the dreaded medicinal quality that many cherry beers fall victim to.

Of course, one barrel of beer doesn't last long, so there's a chance that you may miss this one. The good news is that St. Pete Brewing has plans for lots of beer treatments in the future, such as mango and guava versions of Banyan Blonde ale. Check the website to see what's on, and if you see one that looks tasty, don't wait!

St. Pete Brewing, 544 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg; (727) 692-8809'

— Justin Grant

Have a suggestion for the Local Craft Beer of the Week? Brewers, have a limited release coming that we should know about? Email


  1. Craft rum distillery, 82 West Distilling, opened a few months ago in Seminole Heights and recently celebrated its grand opening with neighbor Wine Bar Cafe on Saturday (Oct. 27). Special to the Times | 82 West Distilling MONIQUE WELCH  |  Courtesy of 82 West Distilling
    Tasting laws limit drinkers to two “samples,” but the Seminole Heights’ venue uses its rums to punch up craft cocktails. | Bar review
  2. Zongo IPA Tampa Bay Brewing Company
    The hazy New England-style IPA is on tap at the brewery’s tasting rooms in Ybor City and Westchase. | Craft beer of the week
  3. Sep. 15• Bars & Breweries
    Noble Crust may turn heads as an acclaimed pizza restaurant, but it also holds water as a celebrated brunch destination with a range of midday cocktails and drink buckets. Photo by Noble Crust
    Some favorite spots to catch a buzz with bacon.
  4. Kozuba and B Square vodkas. B Square is a brand produced by Kozuba and Sons. xxxxx
    Kozuba and Sons, Florida Cane and St. Petersburg Distillery make the list.
  5. Sour Beers Tampa Bay Times
    Sour beers can be found all over, and have sparked new trends enthusing brewers and connoisseurs alike.
  6. Devon Kreps, owner of 7venth Sun, pictured in August in Dunedin. ALLIE GOULDING  |  Tampa Bay Times
    These three women are part of a growing industry in Tampa Bay.
  7. Jess, Leaven Brewing, on Friday, Aug. 02, 2019 in Riverview.  ALLIE GOULDING   |   Times ALLIE GOULDING  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Planning to go out and enjoy a drink? Read up on what these popular bartenders have to say about their trade.
  8. *tbt 2019 Tampa Bay Brewery Guide Staff
    76 on Tampa in Tampa Bay
  9. Your picks for Tampa Bay’s best beach/waterfront, brewery/craft beer, cocktail, sports, neighborhood, dive, gay, Irish, live music and restaurant/hotel bars. Shutterstock
    Your picks for Tampa Bay’s best beach/waterfront, brewery/craft beer, cocktail, sports, neighborhood, dive, gay, Irish, live music and restaurant/hotel bars.
  10. The Mint + Lime Berliner Weisse Photo courtesy of Geneva Johnson
    Dunedin brewery brings back a citrus-forward favorite.