Thursday, March 20, 2014

Ask the Locals: Nathan & Sara Stonecipher, St. Pete entrepreneurs

Posted By on Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 2:23 PM

  • Photo by Heidi Kurpiela

St. Petersburg natives Nathan and Sara Stonecipher are poster children for the city’s indie business scene.
Sara, a former advertising stylist for Dillard’s southeast headquarters, put the 600 block of downtown St. Pete on the radar of hipsters, artists and fashionistas when she opened MISRED Outfitters four years ago on Central Avenue. The clothing boutique carries recycled, reconstructed and vintage pieces, including Sara’s own line of salvaged designs, MISRED Black Label.
In September of 2013, her husband Nathan helped enliven downtown’s Edge District when he and business partner Steven Duffy opened Green Bench Brewing Co. in a converted warehouse in the burgeoning district. Named after the thousands of green benches that lined Central Avenue in the early 1900s, the 15-barrel brew house made a memorable first impression thanks to its distinct microbrews, 1,500-square-foot tasting room and 6,000-square-foot beer garden, complete with live music, lawn chairs, horseshoes and a walk-up window where you can order a quick round without having to leave your friends.

Favorite date night restaurant: Alésia. Sara: “It’s French Vietnamese. The inside of the restaurant is beautiful, crisp and white. It transports you to another place.”

Where they meet for drinks after work: The Ale and the Witch. Sara: “We like the private feel of the courtyard. [Owner] Brett [Andress] is so deliberate about music choices and what beer is on tap. The details he puts into the place really show through.”

Where they go to unwind: Pass-a-Grille. Sara: “My family has an old Florida house in Pass-A-Grille, so it’s where we go to get out of town. Pass-A-Grille is a great place to hide. We also appreciate the fact that it’s not stacked wall-to-wall with condos. Things run at a slower pace out there. It’s low key.”

Where they score vintage duds: Pasadena Community Church Thrift Shop. Sara: “Church-run thrift shops are filed with untold treasures. Pasadena has a big one. All these little old ladies give away their prized possessions. I’ve found some amazing vintage dresses in church thrift shops.”

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Ask the Locals: Arielle Stevenson, journalist

Posted By on Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 2:21 PM

  • Photo by Heidi Kurpiela

Arielle Stevenson, 24, got her start in media as a teenager reporting for WMNF Community Radio’s newscast. She later moved onto hosting the station’s Artful Dodgings program, a weekly musical grab bag that served as a platform for her rich and eclectic taste in artists, nurtured in part by her parents, longtime Bay area jazz musicians. A graduate of USF St. Petersburg, she worked as staff writer and food editor for Creative Loafing from 2012-14, stalking strip malls and dark pubs in pursuit of good eats and good stories. She is now pursuing documentary film and video with her boyfriend, Charlie Diaz, and continuing her freelance writing career, which has included assignments for the Tampa Bay Times, Huffington Post, and the New York Times.

The best underground happy hour: The Bends. “I go around 6 or 7, when there’s a quieter, chiller happy hour crowd. There’s always a smattering of young artistic people. If I want a Cigar City beer, I can get it. If I want an Old Fashioned with Bulleit Bourbon, I can get it. If I want a Framboise, I can get it. They have $2 wells and the bartender, Lynnsey, is cool as hell.”

The best place to be a regular: Bodega on Central. “Everything is made from scratch and done correctly. You order at a window and then sit outside with a beer and a Miami-style Cuban. I usually get two Cuban sandwiches and two café con leches to go. They serve it all in a paper bag. I love it.”

The best place to order a brew: Cycle Brewing. “The beer is amazing. It’s very chill, stripped-down and cash-only. I go there to get growlers. I love Cream and Sugar Please. I think it’s got coffee in it. If not, it certainly tastes like it.”
The best hump-day breakfast: Buddy Brew in Tampa. “I order a cortado and eggs on a big ’ol piece of multigrain toast.”

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Ask the Locals: Joey Redner of Cigar City Brewing

Posted By on Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 2:19 PM

  • Photo by Heidi Kurpiela

Stepping out of the shadow of his notorious father (he’s the son of Mons Venus strip club owner Joe Redner), Joey Redner has made a name for himself as a craft beer entrepreneur and all-around good guy. The owner of Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing, Redner led the way in a Bay area brewery scene that is now winning national attention. In 2013, Cigar City was named the fourth best brewery in the world by ratebeer.com, and its Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout has won major awards on the way to becoming an insanely hot commodity for brew geeks the world over. (Hunahpu’s March 2014 release party drew such huge crowds that the beer ran out, and the ensuing uproar led Redner to cancel future parties.) Redner, 41, has a history of hard work in the industry. As the owner of Yeoman’s Pub on Davis Islands from 2002 to 2005, he greatly expanded the beer offerings and made the bar a relevant player on the craft beer scene. He followed that up with a run as a salesman for Dunedin Brewery before leaving in 2008 to launch Cigar City. One of his first moves was hiring Wayne Wambles, an award-winning brewmaster from a rising brewery in North Carolina. Together the pair has brought a string of popular beers (Jai-Alai IPA, Jose Marti American Porter, etc.) to market. In addition to the original Cigar City Tasting Room on Dale Mabry in Tampa, his operation has expanded to include brewpubs at Tampa International Airport (the first such in the nation) and in the Northdale area of Tampa. When he’s not toiling away at Cigar City or earning kudos from the craft beer industry, Redner, who lives in Tampa’s Riverbend neighborhood, can be found walking Lowry Park or motoring down the Hillsborough River in a boat with his four daughters and wife, Jennifer. On hot summer days, you’ll catch him anchored off Beer Can Island with a cold one in his hands.

Where all Tampa Bay newbies must go: Ybor City. “It speaks to Tampa’s roots. You’ve got the old cigar factories and The Columbia, which is a nice entryway into Tampa. The cuisine exists outside of the chains. Ybor in general exists outside of the chains.”

The Cigar City brews he loves best: Maduro Brown Ale and Puppy’s Breath. “I generally favor porters and brown ales. I like the rich slightly sweet maltiness of Maduro or Puppy’s Breath.”

Where the cool kids go to drink: American Legion Post 111 in Seminole Heights. “A lot of my brewery staff hangs out there. They love that place. It’s weird. You’ve got old military vets and 23-year-old hipsters. It’s an interesting dichotomy.”

Where a brewer goes to drink: Dunedin Brewery. “That’s the classic brew club experience. It’s old school. I tend to go to businesses similar to mine where I can shut my brain off and not have to think about the minutiae.”

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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Largo's Barley Mow Brewing expanding to production facility

Posted By on Sat, Jan 4, 2014 at 9:41 PM


Expansion was always part of the plan for Barley Mow, the little Largo brewpub Jay Dingman owns with his wife and fellow brewer, Colleen.

But not this soon and not this big.

The original plan was to add a 20-barrel brewhouse at the end of the third year of brewing. Instead, Barley Mow Brewing Company will be adding a 30-barrel brewhouse in a few months and increase production eight-fold.

“That’s definitely in response to what’s going on in the industry,’’ Dingman said. “It’s kind of a race to get into that next chapter for us. We’ve worked really, really hard for two years and built a brand and dialed in our recipes.”

New breweries have grabbed much of the recent attention and continue to sprout around Tampa Bay. At least four new breweries are planned in the next few months: St. Petersburg Brewing, Motorworks in Bradenton, Angry Chair in Seminole Heights and Coppertail in Ybor City. But existing breweries are expanding to keep up with demand, in widely varying degrees.

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Downtown St. Pete's Cask and Ale is a new shrine to craft cocktails

Posted By on Wed, Jan 1, 2014 at 5:22 PM


Cask and Ale, downtown St. Petersburg’s newest high-end watering hole, opened to an overflow crowd Friday night in the reimagined space once home to The Independent, 29 3rd St. N.

The narrow space with the soaring ceiling features a long bar to the left and seating to the right, the walls covered in unfinished wood, as if you were cradled inside a wooden cask. It’s a warm and inviting space that would be great for quiet conversation over a hand-crafted cocktail, if not for the humongous crowd that filled the joint opening night and spilled out on the the sidewalk.

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Best of the day: Ron Burgundy scotch is kind of a big deal

Posted By on Mon, Dec 16, 2013 at 7:00 AM

  • Anchorman and Paramount Pictures

Ron Burgundy loves scotch. Scotchy, scotch, scotch.

And now, thanks to Riviera Imports, everyone can get a taste with Ron Burgundy Great Oin's Raven Special Reserve Scotch.

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Tampa City Council shelves proposal that would have forced bars to stop serving alcohol at midnight

Posted By on Thu, Dec 5, 2013 at 2:20 PM

Two draft ordinances that might have rolled back the hours that bars, nightclubs and restaurants in Tampa could serve alcohol — from the current 3 a.m. back to midnight — died at today's Tampa City Council meeting.

The 5-2 vote against even convening a workshop on the matter came after the board received an overwhelmingly negative response from members of the public who spoke out today. Only Yolie Capin and Mary Mulhern supported moving forward.

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Monday, November 25, 2013

A feast from Creative Loafing Tampa's recipe archives

Posted By on Mon, Nov 25, 2013 at 10:07 AM

  • cindyjespinoza.blogspot.com

Cooking a Thanksgiving meal is a daunting task. Period. Anticipation for the multi-dish feast builds up all year. It's a day when everyone gets to indulge in incredible culinary gluttony.

But what recipes should you use? Certainly, you've pinned dozens by now on your Thanksgiving Pinterest board. But have you sorted through that mess of broken links and hard-to-find ingredients? Then there are the family classics, but perhaps Granny's old-timey cursive didn't stand the test of time.

Whether you're in charge of the entire feast, or just bringing a dish to share, we organized some of our best Thanksgiving-friendly recipes to your browsing pleasure.


CL Food critic Jon Palmer Claridge's Complete Turducken recipe is a lofty undertaking, but a respectable and rewarding one. Luckily, Claridge's five-page recipe walks you through every precious step.

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Best of the day: Eggs & Kegs brunch at Tampa's Cigar City Brewing

Posted By on Fri, Nov 22, 2013 at 11:34 AM

  • Cigar City Brewing

Cigar City Brewing and LOKO Cuisine's Eggs & Kegs (formerly Eggs n' Kegs) takes the time honored tradition of Sunday brunch to a whole new level. Bloody Mary's and Belgium waffles have had their day, time for beer and some innovative breakfast-creations.

On the third Sunday of every month, Cigar City's Spruce Street tasting room fills with beer/brunch-lovers, eager to get a hot plate of funky fresh cuisine and a pint or two. Did I mention that the dishes have some beer-inspired elements? This past weekend was November's "It's all gravy, baby" event, featuring a four-course feast with items like pumpkin pie french toast.

The next event is Sunday, December 15. Eggs & Kegs will feature a Winter Wit Wonderland complete with a Belgian White Ale and chili pepper-inspired feast. Tickets are available here or inside the Cigar City tasting room (cash only at CCB).

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The rise, fall, and rise (again) of Cycle Brewing’s Rare D.O.S. stout

Posted By on Wed, Nov 20, 2013 at 4:05 AM

BARRELED ALIVE: Cycle Brewing releases its latest Rare D.O.S. batch this weekend.
  • brewbokeh.com
  • BARRELED ALIVE: Cycle Brewing releases its latest Rare D.O.S. batch this weekend.

The first sign of trouble showed up on Cycle Brewing’s Facebook page. Soon, similar messages were appearing on influential online craft beer boards.

Something was seriously wrong with Rare D.O.S., the bourbon-barrel-aged stout that earned brewer Doug Dozark world acclaim in craft beer circles. Ranked as high as 11th best beer in the world by beeradvocate.com reviewers., the latest batch of Rare D.O.S. (Doug’s Original Stout) was released in June during a special event at Peg’s Cantina, where Dozark began his brewing career on a nano system out back.

It sold out in less than a week, all 150 gallons, and $20 a 16-ounce growler. People bought them by the case, many to trade with craft beer friends.

But it wasn’t long before the online beer-trading community was writing things like this on beeradvocate.com:

“So. Either this is infected, or just plain bad. I know this beer is supposed to be good, but I’m not getting it. It smelled a little tart, and it tasted fairly tart. Left like a tinny, chemical feel on my tongue. I’d try this again, hoping that it’s just a 1-time infection issue, but it’s bad. Buyer beware with the recent batch.”

The howls came from Alaska to Massachusetts to the Netherlands. Emails, too, from dissatisfied customers seeking recompense.

It couldn’t have come at a worse time for Dozark, who was working overtime to open his second brewery, in downtown St. Petersburg, He would spend the next weeks losing sleep and trying to make amends and protect his signature brand.

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