The first time I visited 81 Bay Brewing in Tampa was well before they opened. In that time, there have been quite a few changes to this up and coming brewery.
All of the AV features are up and running and look pretty cool, BTW. Their tap list has more than doubled in size. They entered into distributionand now have three beers flowing around the state. And they have a new brewmaster, recent USF Brewing Arts program graduate Jay Jones.
Jay was there during my second visit, on the top of the brewing system making a fresh batch of Ramble On Raspberry Ale. It’s interesting to speak to him, to hear about his time brewing at home and at BrewHub in Lakeland. He hasn’t been at 81 Bay for long, but has already been hard at work fine tuning the recipes of their most popular beers.
He has some great plans for the brewery once it has a proper shakedown. It looks like 81 Bay has a really good brewmaster on their hands, and hopefully the owners will let him make something nice for his upcoming wedding on their system (hint, hint).
We were joined by Shawn Bowman, Director of Operations/Co-Owner/Man with a handshake that can crush a steel beam. He’s pretty happy with their new Brewmaster, and it looks like there is a vision for the future that they have that will be exciting to see. Especially if they manage to get the rooftop hop farm started. 🙂
On my way out, co-owner Michael and Marketing Manager Briant (two of my favorite Tampa people) were gracious enough to give me a few beers to try from the quite extensive tap list they have in the tap room right now. Here’s what I got:
Double Chocolate Milk Porter (Porter, 8.8% ABV, 13 IBU) – There are few styles I love more than the chocolate milk porter. This is a good example of the style, nice and creamy with a good roasted malty kick. Quite refreshing.
Not On Porpoise Dunkelweizenbock (Dunkelweizen, 11.1% ABV, 15 IBU) is a giant mouthful of flavors. My absolutely favorite style is the dunkelweizen, and I’ve never seen a beer that combines that plus the strong malty, caramely qualities of a bock. I will say that the bock ended to overpower everything just a bit and the caramel flavors overrode any traditional fruity weizen aromas.
Trust me, there’s a lot of good stuff at 81 Bay right now, and I expect that Jay will be bringing a lot more goodness to them soon. I definitely need to thank Jay, Michael, Briant, and Shawn for their hospitality and can’t wait to hear what’s coming next.
Like a wedding beer. Hint.
Drink Florida Craft,