I open with this: the grilled chicken pesto pizza was incredible. Just incredible. So, so good.
I got that pizza at Tampa Bay Brewing Company. Not the one in Ybor, mind you, but their new production facility, tap room, and restaurant in Westchase. It’s pretty new, having opened in August of 2015, and is really quite gorgeous.
The tap room side is quite sizeable, with a ton of seating inside and out, brick pizza oven serving pizzas with their beer baked into the crust, and a sizeable wooden bar.
The bar was made from a single log found submerged in a river in North Florida, according to Doug, who was heading the production side that day. That single log produced the bar top, long social table beside the bar, a small bar in the production facility, and the conference room table in the back.
The production side is working with a massive system (30 BBL if I remember correctly, which I probably didn’t) and has just installed a speedy new canning line for Tampa Bay Brewing’s trademark 16 oz. cans.
Right now, they are hard at work with their three canned offerings, and just pushed out their first cans of their 20th Anniversary Full Moon Madness (Porter, 6% ABV), which I was able to enjoy on draft.
They call it a ‘Subtropical Porter,’ and from what I can tell that indicates the presence of some sweet, citrusy hops that blend in with the coffee-esque roasted malt. It’s got a heavy, velvety mouthfeel and big bready presence.
Doug spent some time showing me around their fantastic facility and introducing me to everyone on staff. They have a pretty good crew, and I left them with a pepper treatment idea that I’d really like to see if they end up doing.
From there, we had a seat at that mini-bar in the back I mentioned, and grabbed a draft of Red Eye Ale (Red Ale, 6% ABV).
Once again, this was a beer with a significant hop presence, with big floral notes that dance delicately around a light dusting of caramel flavor. It’s got a moderate body, and when paired with that chicken pesto pizza really opened up.
It’s a shame I couldn’t stay for an extended period of time and try more of their beers they had on tap, but I had to keep some prior engagements. It’s a good time, though, and I hope to be back soon to try more of what they have.
And get that pizza again, too.
Drink Florida Craft,