The long wait is over.
St. Pete Brewing Co. opens today with its first five beers on tap in a cozy tasting room steps away from the brew house, where the sixth beer, an ESB, sits in a fermenter almost ready to go.
Long wooden oars crossed over a lighted anchor are mounted behind the bar, and a collection of photos on the pale yellow walls documents the run up to the opening of Tampa Bay’s newest craft brewery. Beers are listed on skateboards — an homage to the skate shop that once filled the space.
“I never thought I’d see this day come,” said head brewer/partner Jon McCracken during a soft opening Wednesday night. “Every roadblock — we’d get by one and three would come up. I don’t think it’s settled in yet that we’re finally open.’’
The brewery, St. Pete’s fifth, located at 544 First Ave. N. around the corner from Cycle Brewing and down First Ave. from Green Bench Brewing, has been highly anticipated by not only its fans but its neighbors, an art gallery and Italian restaurant that hope it will help draw folks from Central Avenue. The two signature beers the brewery has produced on a contract basis are now brewed in-house along with solid new styles McCracken has developed.
The Orange Wheat is already on tap for the first time at Tropicana Field. The first beers in the tasting room include the dry Grateful Stout — McCracken is a Deadhead — with balanced notes of coffee and chocolate. The Orange Wheat has a tad more orange flavor and aroma under McCracken’s new tweaked recipe. A pale ale, a blonde and a solid IPA (Northern Brewer and Chinook hops) round out the offerings.
Owner Tom Williams was smiling broadly that his brewery was finally opening. “We’re excited to see what will sell here,” he said, gesturing around the tasting room.
Check Facebook for details about St. Pete Brewing’s opening.