It’s a little disquieting when you round the corner and see the brewery you’re trying to go to looking like this:
It’s a simple demo to get ready for their expansion. Nothing to worry about.
So let me backtrack, this is Tampa’s Coppertail Brewing, situated in south Ybor City not too terribly far from the port.
Their facility (the part that’s still standing) is nice and new and has a confession booth in the back if need be.
The gorgeous digs opened in March of 2015. It makes liberal use of one of Coppertail’s signatures, their gorgeous artwork, is all over the place.
Had I watched their grand opening video above before going, I would have realized that brewmaster Casey Hughes was around. Oh well. At least I got to try a few of his wares.
I’m starting with a few interesting sours I saw on the menu. The first was Cinchona (Berliner Weisse, 3.5% ABV), a tart berliner weisse brewed with lemon and aged on cinchona wood.
Cinchona isn’t completely familiar to many, but it’s a small tree whose bark has been stripped, dried, ground, and used as medicine for centuries. If you’ve ever heard of quinine, you’ve heard of just one of the many medicines derived from the plant.
The beer is tart and light, with a strong snap of mouth-watering citrus flavors. That comes from a combination of the lemon and cinchona, and the cinchona adds an additional bitterness that is very distinctive, very different from a normal hop bitterness.
It’s a very Miami recipe, actually, and the beer indeed was brewed for and shipped to bars in the Wynwood area for half-price as a way to help stimulate visitation when the Zika scare was at its peak. Sure, the beer probably won’t be strong enough to shoo away mosquitoes, but it’s a delicious beer with an honorable background.
Then there’s Slam Piece (Berliner Weisse, 3.5% ABV), a berliner weisse with the rather interesting addition of cucumber. Sure, it’s got the traditional bright citrus flavor and sharp flavor, but then the cucumber kicks in and brings a meaty mellowness to the beer. It doesn’t weigh the beer down or water down the flavor, but it helps to cut some of the sharpness with a great flavor of its own.
Finally, because I love the style so much, I grabbed a pint of their Dunkel (Dunkel, 4.6% ABV). It’s a very simple, strightforward recipe, finished off maybe a tad drier than most. Classic and very approachable.
I am not sure when I’ll be able to return, but I can only hope it’s when the brewery isn’t a construction site anymore. They ship pretty much statewide at this point, so it’s easy to at least get their core beers.
Assuming that wasn’t the bottling line they demolished.
Don’t worry; it wasn’t.
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