Both of the teams I went to watch at Marlin’s Brewhouse lost: the Tampa Bay Lightning lost game 7 of the Conference Finals to the Washington Capitols and the Cleveland Cavaliers lost game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals to the Boston Celtics. That part of the experience sucked.
Thankfully, good company, an impressive beer list, and some refreshingly great service helped bring some balance to the disappointment of seeing two of my favorite teams shit the bed.
Upon arriving, our server Ryan walked right up and asked me what I’d like to drink. I threw the question right back at him and with the shift of his eyes and a slight lean-in he told me they had “weed beer.” Done.
It was called The Hemperor HPA by New Belgium and boy did it smell like the devil’s lettuce. Everyone within a twenty-foot radius was turning their head towards me to make sure I hadn’t just lit a joint. It was more than a novelty — it was delicious. Sorry to disappoint, but it doesn’t get you stoned.
The Lightning had allowed a goal within the first 20 seconds of the game so I decided I needed some hometown vibes: I ordered a Slam Piece by Tampa’s own Coppertail Brewing Co.
Coppertail is quickly becoming one of my favorite local brewers. Everything they brew is good — everything. To prepare your palate for the Slam Piece, think Warhead (the candy). However, It didn’t do much to change the puck luck of the Lightning and the Cavs were now down by 20.
Next, I ordered The Full Breakfast by Point Ybel Brewing Co. It tasted like a spiked black coffee. I was hoping for a touch more sweetness, but it was as bitter as my mood. It’s worth noting that originally I had ordered the Funky Buddha Maple Bacon Stout, but my server Ryan pointed out that it was a huge, $15 dollar beer. He could have easily just grabbed it and taken my money, but he didn’t. I appreciated his consideration for my beer budget.
After that was down the hatch and all hope was lost, I decided to get one more, brighter brew to lighten the mood before ordering my Uber ride home.
The way I would describe this Blonde Ale by Scotty’s Bierworks is the same way I would describe pretty much every other blonde ale I’ve ever had. Light, clean, simple — a better tasting version of your typical American lager.
The decor and feel of this place is very much like your modern brewery minus the actual brewery. The high ceilings, Edison lights, reclaimed wood, and garage doors give it that warm, open, sort-of-hipster feel craft beer drinkers tend to like.
The food was really good. I tried the pretzel and some friends had the tots and quesadillas, but none of us really came for the food. However, the Taco joint they have inside definitely passed the eye-ball test. It was set up similar to a Moe’s or a Chipotle.
In summary, despite the devastation of watching my teams get demolished I had a great experience. Our server, Ryan, was an awesome dude who really went the extra mile for us. It’s a place focused on craft beer and good food to match. In that regard, it is exceptional. Prices and menu ( not counting Chronic Tacos) are very similar to World of Beer. As far as watching sports goes, it was ok. They had a few issues programming the TVs, forcing me to watch the Cavs game on a single, faulty TV in the back corner, but that’s as far as my complaints go. I will definitely be back again.