While the UK enjoys its own craft beer revolution, thirsty travellers on a quest for liquid inspiration while on holiday stateside – where the artisan movement began – are in for a treat in Tampa Bay.
Over the years Florida has established itself as one of the USA’s most influential craft beer destinations, with Tampa Bay thriving as the Sunshine State’s craft brewing capital.
In its most recent ranking, USA Today named Tampa Bay the number two beer city in the country.
The region’s pioneering brewing culture, which began centuries ago with a Native American ceremonial brew called the “Black Drink,” continues to evolve with the times.
These days it boasts more than two dozen breweries and craft brewpubs, one of the largest concentrations in the country.
Patrick Harrison, vice president, marketing and communications at Visit Tampa Bay, said: “There was a time that holidaying ale aficionados looked down their noses at American beers.
“Once you taste Cigar City’s award-winning Jai Alai, Coppertail Brewing Company’s aromatic Freedive IPA or Ulele’s mixed berry fruit “wedding” beer, you will instantly understand why along with sunshine as a backdrop, our local artisan beer maestros have positioned Tampa Bay as one of the most exciting places on the world’s craft beer scene.”
Beer runs through Tampa Bay’s veins.
The State’s first brewery opened there.
The man who brought cigars to Tampa Bay, Don Vincente Martinez Ybor, founded one of the oldest breweries in the USA, the Ybor City Brewing Company in 1896.
Columbia, Florida’s oldest restaurant and the largest Spanish restaurant in the world, began as a corner saloon serving beer in Ybor City.
At the time – a century ago – the cigar capital of the world teemed with saloons to quench the thirst of thousands of cigar workers.
And Busch Gardens Tampa started as a beer garden in 1959, serving as a hospitality estate for Tampa Anheuser-Busch brewery on the grounds of the manufacturing plant.
Many of the brews draw on Tampa Bay’s culturally rich past.
They help visiting taste buds sample the area’s authentic flavour.
Award-winning Cigar City Brewing – rated as one of the world’s best craft brewers – incorporates Ybor City’s Cuban influences by infusing its beer with Cuban espresso beans to create something truly local.
Florida Avenue Brewing was founded by Tampa Bay natives to reflect what they felt was the essence of the Floridian way of life.
The region’s subtropical climate has certainly played a leading role in Tampa Bay’s fast-growing craft beer movement and its international accolades.
Capitalising on local flavours, some beers were created to quench the adventurous appetite of visitors.
Summer months bring refreshing cucumber concoctions or orange peel infusions.
Pumpkin spices or pine aromas infuse the beers during autumn.
All craft breweries offers free tours as well as tasting rooms, so there are plenty of opportunities to raise a glass to Tampa Bay’s craft beer expertise.
Visit Tampa Bay
Visit Tampa Bay is the destination marketing organisation for Hillsborough County, Florida.
It is a private organisation with more than 700 partners who help promote Tampa Bay as the ideal destination for family vacations, sporting events, corporate meetings, festivals and conventions.
Visit Tampa Bay encourages all adventurous travellers to unlock the unique treasures found in the hip, urban heart of Florida’s Gulf coast.
To find out more visit the official website.