One of the best aspects of the local craft beer scene is its emphasis on collaboration and cooperation, whether between competing breweries or other local businesses.
Mastry's Brewing Co. started out as a unique collaboration of sorts, its brewery and tasting room housed inside St. Petersburg's CD Roma restaurant. Last year, Mastry's moved to a new standalone location, making it the first brewery in St. Pete Beach.
One of Mastry's year-round beers is its JMC Coffee Porter, which is flavored with coffee and chocolate sourced from two other local businesses. The coffee doesn't have to travel far — it's roasted in-house, in a space shared with Evil Twin Coffee Co. Jenna White, Evil Twin's co-owner, is also the inspiration for the beer's name: Jenna's Morning Coffee.
For chocolate, Mastry's uses cacao nibs from Pinellas Chocolate Co., a Largo bean-to-bar chocolate producer that has supplied cacao to more than a dozen bay area breweries, as well as out-of-state breweries like the Answer Brewpub in Richmond, Va.
The resulting brew pours nearly pitch-black, with a creamy tan head. The aroma is heavy on the coffee, with dark-roasted grain in the background. At first sip, the beer is surprisingly bitter, almost over-aggressive. Once it warms, however, the chocolate notes shine through nicely, adding some welcome balance. Have an Evil Twin cold brew on nitro as a sidecar, for extra effect.
JMC Coffee Porter is currently in the tasting room only, as Mastry's beers won't be in distribution until early next year. That's a great excuse to head to the beach and check out the tasting room at 7701 Blind Pass Road.
For bonus points, stop by on Tuesday for the Beer and Sunshine Bottle Share, which will feature a release of Mastry's new Norwegian-style farmhouse ale blend, fermented with Norwegian kveik yeast and aged in white-oak barrels ($15 for 22-ounce bottle).
— Justin Grant
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