Last year on this site, I posted the Top 6 must-attend 2013 Tampa Bay Beer Week events.
Seeing as how the celebration continues to grow, so does the list. This third annual ode to all things beer in the Tampa Bay area is in its third year, runs from March 1 to 9, 2014, and at the time of this writing, has around 200 events scheduled with more being added every day.
The videos and photo montages embedded in this post are from last year’s events.
Without further ado, here are the Top 12 must-attend 2014 Tampa Bay Beer Week events.
Saturday, March 1
18th annual Florida Brewers Guild Beer Fest
Last year, many attendees criticized this event for being disorganized, crammed into too tight of a space, and too short on having enough restroom facilities for the crowd. This year, a venue move from Ybor City to the larger Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park on downtown Tampa’s downtown waterfront promises to alleviate all those issues. FBG member breweries from across the state will be there pouring samples, and food trucks will sell their wares. Tickets are $35 in advance online, and $45 at the door, but if it sells out online, none will be available at the event. More information and tickets are available here.
Sunday, March 2
14th Annual Best Florida Beer Championships Brewers Ball
If you have to skip the FBG Beer Fest, don’t miss this. You’ll get a chance to taste as many of the winners of this year’s Best Florida Beer Championship as you can handle, and learn which specific medals the winners are taking home. It also will be at Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park, and will feature live music and food trucks. Tickets cost $50 and are available here – and they’re almost gone!
Monday, March 3
Intro to Craft Beer Experience
Whether you’ve been awash in craft beer for years or are a newbie, it’s always fun to learn more about what goes into the brews and what you’re tasting. This event at Pair O’ Dice, one of the Tampa Bay area’s newest breweries, promises to include a history of beer, a discussion of beer styles, tips on how to taste beer and detect off flavors, and how glassware enhances different styles. Cost is $20 and includes tastings of Pair O’ Dice beers and a branded tulip glass. For more information or to make reservations, email firstname.lastname@example.org with “Intro to Craft Beer” in the subject line and provide the name or names of attendees and a contact phone number. Or call 727-755-3423 and mention the Intro to Craft Beer course.
Tuesday, March 4
Tampa Bay Brewing Company 3rd Annual Beer Dinner, 7 p.m.
This is the third year for this beer dinner, but I did not attend until last year. I cannot stress enough the awesomeness of this event. The chef and crew at one of the state’s pioneering brewpubs hold nothing back in preparing a special six-course meal paired with Tampa Bay Brewing Co.’s beer, and this year’s guest brewery Thomas Creek Brewing Company out of Greenville, South Carolina. A beer collaboration between TBBC and Thomas Creek will debut there. Check out the menu here. Arrive hungry and sober; you will leave stuffed and buzzed. Cost is $75. To make reservations, call (813) 247-1422.
Wednesday, March 5
All About Beer Magazine & Florida Beer Company Collaboration Brew and Beer 201 at Brewers’ Tasting Room
The Florida Beer Company and the All About Beer magazine crew will come together to brew a one of kind collaboration beer in honor of Tampa Bay Beer Week. They will be brewing all day at the Brewers’ Tasting Room in St. Petersburg, followed by a “Beer 201” from 6 to 8 p.m. led by All About Beer’s Director of Beer Programs Adam Harold, who will discuss the ever-popular India Pale Ale. FBC will have some of its beer on draft, including new brews White IPA and Florida Pale Ale. Tickets are $30 each, which includes samples of 12 different beers, an All About Beer tasting book and a style guide, a commemorative tasting glass, and some Florida Beer Company gear. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.
Travel from Saint Somewhere: A Belgian Beer and Food Sampling , 7:30 p.m.
Join Saint Somewhere Brewing Company’s Brewmaster Bob Sylvester at Mr. Dunderbak’s Biergarten for a journey in pictures and food to his favorite Belgian breweries. Bob helped host a tour to Belgium last year, so expect some great stories. Samples will be poured of five different beers from Cantillon, as well as De Stuise, Thiriez, Cazeau, Straffe Hendrik, and of course Saint Somewhere. There will be also be samples of Belgian cuisine to nosh on. Cost is $35 and seating is limited. For more information or reservations, call 813-977-4104.
Thursday, March 6
Rapp Brewing OMG Bottle Release
This is one of the few times of the year that you can purchase a bottle of this highly-rated and much-loved American Strong Ale. How strong? Well, it varies somewhat per batch, but usually falls in the 20 to 22% ABV range, though it doesn’t taste that powerful. So watch out. There will be 300 of the 500 ml bottles available at $30 each, with a limit of two per person. For more information, email email@example.com.
Friday, March 7
Third annual Barrel-Aged Beer Day at Peg’s Cantina
Brewer Doug Dozark, who opened his second location at Cycle Brewing in downtown St. Pete last year, will be featuring his award-winning barrel-aged creations back where it all began at Peg’s Cantina in Gulfport, starting at noon. If you’re on the Hillsborough County side of the bay, the Tampa Bay Brew Bus will have a couple of round-trip shuttles to the event that will leave from the Cigar City Brewing parking lot.
UPDATE: Here’s the tap list.
Craft Beer & Bar-B-Que Festival, 5 to 11 p.m.
This event at the Tarpon Tavern will feature at least 30 local breweries, and national strong and rare beers, along with barbecue and live music. And a planned brewpub in Tarpon Springs, Gringo Cerveza Brewing Company, will be pouring publicly for the first time, offering samples of its Tequila Amber Ale. For more information, email TarponSpringsEvents@gmail.com.
BFBC Leftover Party Beer Festival, 6 p.m.
One of the best bangs for the buck during TBBW last year, it’s returning this year with even more to offer. The BFBC homebrew competition has seen the number of entries grow to more than 500, which means they receive more than 1,500 bottles of beer for judging. Generally, only one or two bottles are opened for judging, meaning that there are more than 800 beers left unopened. Rather than throw it out, the organizers are sharing them at this party at Southern Brewing & Winemaking. Besides more beer than can be possibly consumed in one night, there will be live music, food trucks and a panel discussion moderated by yours truly. Teaser: Besides myself and local beer personalities, there will be some very special panelists who are part of the national craft beer scene. Tickets are $20 and include a pint of Southern Brewing beer. More information here.
Saturday, March 8
The fifth annual Cigar City Brewing Hunahpu’s Day, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The event that draws beer-lovers from around the world will be differently formatted from previous years. Instead of being open to all with pay-per-pour beers, which caused major issues with the city and CCB’s neighbors last year as more than 9,000 people poured through the gates, it’s a beer-festival atmosphere with one admission charge and unlimited samples from its epic tap list. Tickets, limited to 3,500 this year, are sold out. But you’re resourceful, right? Get the whole scoop on Hunahpu’s Day here.
Sunday, March 9
Hunahpu’s Hangover Day
Taking place at 7venth Sun Brewing in Dunedin, it’s billed as “A Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beers.” This year, though, it is part of a wider Tampa Bay Beer Week “Wrap-Up” in Downtown Dunedin that will have multiple breweries, bars and restaurants offering events as a final hurrah. Check back here for more details on both events.
Do you ever read my scribbling here or from those of my fellow beer bloggers and writers and wonder, “How could I do that?” You might want to attend the TBBW Beer Bloggers Summit set for Monday, March 3, from 5 to 7 p.m. at The Pour House at Grand Central, 1208 E. Kennedy Blvd., in Tampa. A group of us local beer bloggers and writers will talk about our craft, offer tips, and answer questions from the audience. I’ll also talk about my Florida Breweries book that is being released on April 1, 2014, and answer any questions about that. Admission is free.
So that’s my list, but there are so many other bottle releases, tap takeovers, beer dinners, educational events, beer tastings … the list goes on and you can find it here. More will be added, but peruse the calendar and decide which events best suit your interests, your schedule, your budget – and your liver.
Remember to make arrangements so you don’t ever have to drive drunk.
See ya there!