Cheers for local beers! Tampa Bay’s microbreweries are well known and widely recognized for brewing award-winning beers. Tasting rooms and brewery tours offer opportunities to try new brews, meet brewmasters and take behind-the-scenes peeks at the brewing process. Many locally owned and operated craft beer businesses also offer special events, live music and activities that can make for a great date.
Brew Bus Terminal & Brewery
A hub for fun, The Brew Bus Terminal & Brewery offers a well-rounded roster of activities for beer aficionados. A variety of bus tours depart from its parking lot that deliver passengers to the doorsteps of “over 100 different breweries and other destinations in Florida.” There is The Eatery, an on-site kitchen known for its creative takes on classic dishes that pair well with beer. There are events held throughout the week within this well-designed 15,000-square-foot space that include live music, beer and food pairing dinners and special release parties. Tasty tacos and trivia tournaments have made this the place to be on Tuesdays. If you’re just here for the beer, enjoy an ever-changing array featured on 20 taps pouring beers, meads and ciders including Brew Bus Brewing’s own signature beers. brewbususa.com/terminal-and-brewery
Green Bench Brewing Co.
A benchmark of success in Tampa Bay, the first microbrewery to call St. Petersburg home pays homage to its history with the name Green Bench Brewing Co. It was the early 1900s when this Florida city became known for the 2,500 green benches found throughout its downtown. They were popular spots to sit, chat and hangout. That legacy lives on within the red brick walls of a warehouse located in the eclectic Edge District. Instead of crowding on and around benches, folks huddle within the 1,500-square-foot tasting room overlooking the brewery or the 6,000-square-foot garden to hoist a pint and share stories. There’s a lot of creativity here throughout the year and it’s not limited to the beer. Movies, music, yoga classes, markets featuring made-by-hand crafts, food, jewelry and more are among the offerings hosted here. greenbenchbrewing.com
Rock Brother Brewing
Music to their “beers,” Rock Brothers Brewing came up with a crowd-pleasing idea, and an award-winning beer, when it crafted its first band branded brew in 2014, a beverage inspired by a Tampa Bay group, Have Gun, Will Travel. That concept has expanded to include high profile bands like Hootie and the Blowfish which inspired “Hootie’s Home Grown Ale.” Plans are still in the works to add on-site brewing to the Ybor City building that once housed Tampa’s first hardware store. So don’t make plans to tour the production process yet. However, you can catch bands and musicians on tour booked into The Attic, a 150-seat venue located on the second floor where fans can enjoy sipping craft beers and craft cocktails in an intimate setting. rockbrothersbrewing.com
81 Bay Brewing Co.
Open daily, 81Bay Brewing Co. is a hopping place and not just because it brews beer. It is cultivating tastes for far more than craft beer. Mondays highlight Flights and Open Mics, which welcomes all sorts of creative types to take the stage and step into the spotlight. Poets, storytellers, musicians and other artists perform. Tuesdays are literally all about books when the Man Book Club convenes for the reading and discussion of “manly books.” Don’t let the name discourage attendance. All are welcome. Weekly trivia contests and monthly yoga classes help to keep the fun going while the beer is flowing. For a fun weekend date night check out the Second Friday Fringe Bazaar Vendor Market that sets up shop for local art, vintage goods and live music. 81baybrewco.com