Thursday, August 14, 2014

Meet the brewers: Devon Kreps & Justin Stange of 7venth Sun

Posted By on Thu, Aug 14, 2014 at 1:09 AM

click to enlarge KEVIN TIGHE
  • Kevin Tighe

The two principals of Dunedin’s 7venth Sun came to brewing via very different paths, but their complementary styles and experiences have come together to create one of the most talked-about breweries on the Tampa Bay craft beer scene.

Devon Kreps studied fermentation science at Oregon State before making her bones with Anheuser-Busch, working in the beer behemoth’s pilot brewing facility. Justin Stange started homebrewing as “a hobby that got out of control,” then volunteered to help around a Destin brewpub called McGuire’s to learn the commercial ropes, eventually working in various Colorado breweries before heading back to Florida and a job at Cigar City.

The duo met at Atlanta’s Sweetwater Brewing, and found in one another a shared desire to create their own destiny. 7venth Sun is the fulfillment of that desire, and has rapidly become one of Pinellas County’s most popular watering holes ­— with some of its beers joining the highest-rated among online craft beer sites and fellow local brewers alike.

Looking at the brewing community they joined, both Kreps and Stange consider the Tampa Bay scene much more cooperative than competitive, even given its recent, exponential expansion.

“It’s really nice when you don’t have something you need, and the guy down the street has it,” says Stange. “We all share ideas, and as a whole, it’s better for everybody.”

“Everybody has their own take on how they make beer,” Kreps adds. “It’s the same reason musicians aren’t really competitive — the more great music, the better.”

Music and art play a large part in the pair’s lives and philosophies. When they’re not brewing or visiting other local breweries, they’re checking out live shows, whether down the street at Dunedin Brewery or around the country. 7venth Sun has also earned a reputation for working within the local community to collaborative effect; Kreps’ father has contributed graphics for various bottles and batches, as has Tampa artist and designer Chris Kelly, who provided the imagery for the brewery’s Saison Caribe, which was released at Hillsborough restaurant Rooster & The Till.

Like many of the growing Bay area breweries, Kreps and Stange are currently looking for a larger production facility. Stange hopes they’ll be brewing in a new space before the end of the year, but both are intent on keeping their small, original brewpub space just outside downtown Dunedin — along with the unique, organic personality that has made 7venth Sun so successful thus far.

Favorite local beer that’s not theirs: Stange: “Fixie from Cycle. That’s an easy one for me.” Kreps: “I really like that one, too. I’m going to have to be a dork and agree with Justin. That’s a really good beer.”

Their signature 7venth Sun beer: Kreps: “That’s nearly impossible. Maybe the Time Bomb [session IPA], it’s one of the top-rated beers on ratebeer.com.” Stange: “I’m gonna go with the Wolf Moon [Berliner weissbier]. When we released it, we had a mob, it sold out in less than an hour.”

7venth Sun Brewing
1012 Broadway, Dunedin
727-733-3013

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