I am a big fan of Big Storm Brewing, and now that they have three different locations to choose from along the Florida West Coast, I have multiple options to get my Big Storm fix in.
That being said, I always prefer going to the main production facility in Clearwater, since that’s where most of the really fun stuff happens. Obviously it’s got the huge production facility behind giant picture window, but there’s a great chef driven menu that I took my family to for dinner one evening.
We had ulterior motives for going as well, but I will chat about those a bit later.
Anyway, sitting underneath their large and envy-inducing merchandise area, we settled in for a few beers (and in my wife’s case, an absolutely killer Bloody Mary).
The first beer I went for was Kick in the Grass (Pilsner, 4.3% ABV). This beer is getting a lot of advertising play on billboards around the region, seeing as it is Big Storm’s collaboration with the Tampa Bay Rowdies minor league soccer team based in St Pete.
There’s a lot of their signature green and yellow colors around town, and all of that has made it on to the artwork for what is a very true to style Pilsner. It’s got a light, Noble hop character and a great, simple malt bill that is very refreshing and easy to drink. I can see a lot of these flowing during local soccer games.
For my other beer (at least the ones I can talk about, hint hint), I went for their Six Year Storm Imperial Rye Ale (Rye Ale, 8.8% ABV).
This was as far from the pilsner as I could possibly get. It is big and chewy, practically drowning in notes of vanilla, caramel, and toasted bread. It is fantastic, but it is not a beer that can be consumed several times in one sitting. It is definitely an end of the evening beer, which is exactly when I had it.
What’s interesting about Big Storm in Clearwater is they now have a full-service coffee and ice cream bar. The main window is on the side of the building next to the parking lot, but all of those products can be had at the tables as well. This is one of the big reasons we came, as my three-year-old daughter is obsessed, much like all other children, with ice cream. She got a nice big cone of strawberry, and my wife had a cone of their birthday cake flavor.
I, however, went a little off the deep end and chose their 8 flavor flight, served an 8 mini cones on a specially-built tasting paddle. They have individual small cones or a four cone flight, but with the sizable number of flavors that were created in house by Big Storm themselves, how could I not want to try as many as possible?
On the monstrosity in this picture, the flavors are Coffee, Cookie Dough, Mint Chip, Toasted Coconut, Cyclone, Gator Trax (which is their variation of the classic Moose Tracks), Salted Caramel Pretzel, and Brownie Fudge.
They were all fantastic, but I had two particular favorites. One was Coffee, since it tasted exactly like a nice, light latte. It didn’t taste artificial like most coffee ice creams tend to. My other favorite was Cyclone, which our server told me was usually called the rather unappetizing Trash Can, a treasure trove of every addition they could find swirled in luscious vanilla ice cream. One moment you get caramel, the next it was a miniature peanut butter cup.
We wanted to sleep that night, so we didn’t try any of the coffees. One thing I found particularly appetizing was a float made with Nitro cold brew coffee and their coffee ice cream. It sounds amazing, but I think I’ll be up for a month and a half after consuming it.
There’s going to be more coming from Big Storm, especially since they keep growing their brand and their footprint in the state and with their expansion of beer, unfortunately there will not be an expansion of coffee or ice cream. So as much as I will enjoy their beers at home, I will still have to get out to Clearwater for a meal and another flight of eight miniature cones.
I’m sure my daughter won’t have any problem with that.
Drink Florida Craft,