#floridabeer Archives – PorchDrinking.com
Bayboro Brewing Co. is one of the newest and hottest breweries in the Tampa Bay area. When James and Kelcy Coleman opened their doors on March 17, 2020, they had no idea what was coming just that afternoon: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued his executive order shutting down the state in an attempt to keep Floridians safe from the Coronavirus. In just a few hours, all breweries closed their doors; uncertainty lay ahead.
However, Bayboro kept things going when breweries were allowed to sell beer to-go. They bought growlers and crowler cans, a crowler machine and plastic cups. They were patient until things finally started to improve and they could open their doors to start flourishing in this vibrant craft beer community.
Just about everything looks different than it did a few months ago: We’re buying to-go beer and drinking at home because many of us cannot enjoy our favorite beverage at a local brewery or bar right now. Overnight, breweries have turned into delivery companies specializing in contactless delivery and carry out. Innovation is the name of the game and many breweries are offering creative options for people to stay entertained, from gift baskets to DIY pizza kits.
The fitness industry has drastically shifted as well. We cannot currently take large group fitness classes and instead are forced to participate in at-home workouts, oftentimes with dogs and small children attempting to join in.
In the current state of affairs of COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders, breweries and taprooms from all parts are working hard to stay open, keep their businesses afloat, and promote their beer to consumers during the pandemic. Most Tampa Bay-area breweries have moved to to-go sales in order to keep tapping kegs and selling great beer to anyone who ventures into their taprooms.
It’s not often that I find myself traveling back to my old college town of Gainesville, FL but when I do I make it a point of stopping into at least one of the breweries on each trip. First there was Swamp Head, but then First Magnitude Brewing Company came onto the scene in 2012 and the Gainesville brewery scene continues to grow. I was delighted at my first stop in First Magnitude’s tasting room: It was just so versatile and inviting! There is a large warehouse-style brewing area where they have some picnic tables, an intimate (and air-conditioned) indoor tasting room and bar and a spacious outdoor area where kids can play and their parents can sit and catch up under the shade. I sat down with Ursa, their flagship IPA, and took in the surroundings.
Christmas as a kid is a wonderland of gifts and anticipation for gifts; Christmas as an adult is travel and worrying about travel. The gift we receive is—once we’ve finally reached our destination—a whole new world of local beers at our fingertips. I went to the beautiful shores of Sarasota, FL where I spent most of my time in the pool sipping JDub’s Brewing Company’s Passion Wheat, pretending it wasn’t winter. The Passion Wheat definitely helped maintain my self-delusion.
Usually a crazy, spontaneous weekend starts with a beer. In this case, it ended with one… or two. During football season, an unplanned game was the last move of the fun weekend, and tailgate time was cut short so a quality beer was needed stat! Orange Blossom Pilsner 2 was found through the crazy rush to make it to the game and since then, it’s been a staple in my fridge.
The Sunshine State is more than 1,000 miles away from me and is experiencing no snow at all (but, is that any surprise?). Meanwhile, the temperature outside my house here in Massachusetts has dropped to the teens. In this totally unfair, location-based insult, what kind of beer will help me endure this unforgiving weather? A porter will do the trick, but it has to be robust, smooth and drinkable. Therefore, Pop’s Porter tops my forecast.
Hope everyone is ready for some smoking good beers…get it?! Cause it’s 4/20? Yeah, I don’t care either. What I do care about is some of the tasty brews that are starting to peek out before spring weather greets us all – Saisons, IPA, and fruited beers! In case you aren’t in a place that is hitting 60+ degrees Fahrenheit, crack that heater, put on a pair of shorts, crack a cold one and see What We’re Drinking.
Depending where you are, spring has us shivering or sun bathing. Either way, it is time for the season to bring us new beers to enjoy! A French-style saison from Walking Tree Brewery with a unique twist caught my interest and they delivered a saison that automatically makes your pinky rise while drinking it. It is that fancy.
Pair O’ Dice Brewing Company quietly produces some of the best beer in Florida while managing to honor everything about the state it calls home. Florida boasts a variety of mainstay attractions and industries that are signature representations of the state. After all, it may be the Sunshine State, but it’s equally well-known for amusement parks, beaches and oranges! You can add Pair O’ Dice Brewing Company to that list as well. Just across the bay from the huge city of Tampa, Pair O’ Dice is taking a focused approach to beer.
It really wasn’t that long ago, that the beer scene in the Southeast was… well… sad. Sure there were a few islands of beer awesome such as Asheville, and some long running southeast breweries like SweetWater Brewing Company which has been going strong since 1997, but the craft beer market and availability was truly few and far between.