These are trying times. People are doing the exact opposite of what they should be doing and flooding supermarkets and grocery stores for toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and chicken. Opening Day for MLB is supposed to be on Thursday but now I have no idea what I’m going to watch in the evenings. Cities and states are going on lock-down and college kids don’t give a fuck because they’re still going to the beaches for spring break. Instead of going to the beach, how about you go to a brewery and buy a couple of growlers or crowlers to go. Now to be honest, I just recently learned what a growler/crowler was. A growler is a glass jug and crowler is a can, however, the point is that they are large. Most crowlers are 32oz (1 quart) and most growlers are 64oz (half gallon). Also, they tend to be cheaper than when you buy the beer by the pint. Now during this pandemic, it’s not hard to imagine that business for a lot of breweries has been significantly reduced due to the fact that they are not allowed to let people sit at the bar and drink, thus increasing the demand of growlers/crowlers for those people who need their craft beer fix. If you live in the Tampa Bay area and want to support your local economy stop by one of these breweries below and pick up a growler or some merch.
Green Bench Brewing – St. Pete
1133 Baum Ave N, St. Petersburg, FL 33705
Located right next to Tropicana Field, Green Bench has become a staple in the area and they also make some great beer. Although they aren’t currently selling growlers, they will fill yours up and have plenty 2, 4, and 6-packs to choose from. For example, they are selling 12oz 6-packs of their Bench Life (American Lager-4.6%), Sunshine City IPA (6.8%), Honey Saison (6%), Postcard Pils (American Pilsner-4.7%), and Green Bench IPA (6.8%) for only $8. They also have a bunch of cool merch on sale so check that out as well.
Cigar City Brewing – Tampa
3924 W Spruce St, Tampa, FL 33607
Rated #5 by ratebeer.com and the creator of Jai Alai, Cigar City was birthed in 2007 and was well established in Tampa by 2009. When you think of the Tampa brewery scene, you think of Cigar City above everyone else. Since they are a little more commercial these days, they won’t fill your growlers as they have prepackaged, 12oz cans waiting to go. They have 20 different beers available that range from IPAs to sours to stouts and you can expect high quality every time. They also have a kitchen fulfilling to-go orders such as burgers, meatloaf, salads, and flat-breads.
Coppertail Brewing – Ybor City
2601 E 2nd Ave, Tampa, FL 33605
Opening in 2014, Coppertail made a quick name for itself and took Ybor City by storm. Their signature beer, an India pale ale called Free Dive, is a local favorite and can be found at just about every Publix nowadays. The atmosphere is great to hang out in and enjoy some beer and finger food with friends but, given the circumstances, they too are forced to provide takeout only. It’s a good thing that they are automatically knocking 10% off all cases of beer during these times. Similar to Cigar City, they also have a limited food menu that includes burgers, wings, and sandwiches.
Bootleggers Brewing – Tampa/Brandon
10256 Causeway Blvd, Tampa, FL 33619
While they might technically be in Tampa, most people would say that they are really in Brandon since it’s spitting distance from the Brandon Mall. Bootleggers used to be located deep in the heart of Brandon but just recently moved to their new location and let me tell you, it is really nice. Bootleggers started out selling home-brewing supplies but ultimately ended up making their own beer and damn they’re good. They are currently filling up and selling 32oz and 64oz growlers for various prices for 20 different beers. The cool part is not all of them are Bootleggers’ creations as they also work with other local breweries to spread the love.
Leaven Brewing – Riverview
11238 Boyette Rd, Riverview, FL 33569
A low-key favorite of mine, Leaven has a nice, home-y feeling and is the poster child for the term ‘local brewery.’ You can tell that it is run by people who genuinely care and have stakes in it’s success. They are selling 32oz crowlers to-go and offer online ordering with same-day pickup (I recommend The Red). It’s vital that in these times, you support small businesses like this as they could easily become the next big thing.
While the breweries listed above are awesome, there are plenty more around Tampa that need the support to keep their doors open. All you have to do is google ‘brewery near me’ and just go to the closest ones to you. Buy a growler/crowler, buy a case, buy some merch; it all helps. We all have to do our part in helping each other and our local economy. Drink more beer.