PINELLAS COUNTY — Pinellas County is peppered with dozens of craft breweries stretching from St. Pete to Tarpon Springs, so naturally there’s a hearty selection of seasonal brews available for everyone’s favorite beer lover this holiday season. Most of the flavors mentioned here can be found on tap and for carry-out at the listed establishments, while some are available for sale in area grocery and liquor stores.
Local breweries started their seasonal brewing cycle with everybody’s favorite drinking holiday, Halloween, and several establishments are still offering pumpkin ales, including Soggy Bottom Brewery in Dunedin, Arkane Aleworks in Largo and the Palm Harbor Brewery. Crooked Thumb Brewery in Safety Harbor crafted a trio of Imperial Sweet Stouts made with popular chocolate candies including Snickers, Reese’s and Mounds, and 7th Sun in Dunedin also brewed a Halloween treat, the Corpse Imbiber Imperial Stout, made with tangerine, blood orange and blackberry with a hint of star anise. Officials for the Broadway Avenue brewery, which also has a location on Nebraska Avenue in Tampa, said to watch their website for more seasonal releases in the coming months.
As the Sunshine State transitions from an unseasonably warm fall to a (hopefully) milder winter, local breweries plan to feature a sleighful of appetizing seasonal options, including the colorfully named Dunder and Blixem, a spiced ale with cinnamon and orange peel, from Clearwater’s Big Storm Brewery that was expected to hit store shelves in November, as well as the equally awesomely named Frosty Nibs, a golden peppermint ale Crooked Thumb plans to release just in time for the holidays. Officials with Southern Lights Brewery, which is set to open in an industrial complex off Hercules Avenue in Clearwater on Thanksgiving weekend, said they plan to “hit the ground running” by offering a Christmas porter, with more seasonal flavors to come in the New Year. And speaking of Thanksgiving, Stilt House Brewery in Palm Harbor isn’t ignoring everyone’s favorite food holiday, as the Alt. 19 brewhouse released its Sweet Potato Casserole, a pale ale made with sweet potatoes, marshmallows, nutmeg and cinnamon, on Nov. 13. The unique concoction is being touted as “the best part of your Thanksgiving dinner in a glass” on the brewery’s Facebook page.
And while Those Who Served isn’t strictly a seasonal beer, the collaboration between Tarpon Springs breweries Five Branches and Unrefined was released in conjunction with a holiday, Veterans Day, and it benefits a great cause. According to Five Branches co-owner Ramey Simpson, an active member of the Air Force, officials for the two breweries decided to create a pair of beers with part of the proceeds going to the Paws for Patriots organization.
“They have a veteran as part of their ownership group as well, so the owners came up with the concept because we wanted to do something for Veterans Day,” Simpson said of the beers, an Imperial Sour from Unrefined to go along with 5 Branches co-owner and head brewer Jerry Brown’s Citrus IPA. “One dollar from every beer sold and four dollars from every four-pack purchased at both locations will go toward Paws for Patriots, a program that pairs therapy dogs with disabled veterans. So, we think it’s a great way to honor a great cause.”
In a press release announcing the new releases, Unrefined co-owner Tommy Scott said, “We are constantly looking at ways to give back to the local community… and joining forces with 5 Branches Brewing on a collaboration that honors America’s veterans and raises money for Tarpon Springs veterans just made perfect sense to us.”