In Part I, writer Vicki McCash Brennan took you on a walking tour of the Central Avenue arts district, and along the way we visited Green Bench Brewery, Cycle Brewing and St. Pete Brewing.
The Tampa Bay area, and St. Petersburg in particular, has emerged as a Florida hot spot for independent craft brewers, artisans who are setting the pace with exciting new variations of malt beverages.
Beer is being elevated to higher levels of respect in these pubs, appealing to a broader spectrum of tastes, and its purveyors are finding offbeat approaches to attract patrons: pet-friendly beer gardens, board games, table shuffleboard and even Pictionary, taking the neighborhood pub a step beyond the usual pool tables and dart boards.
The owners of St. Petersburg’s 3Daughters Brewing,, like to say they decided to open a brew pub to pay for their three daughters to go to college. This large brewpub is successful enough to easily cover that expense.
Open since December 2013 on the edge of the growing Warehouse Arts District, 3Daughters has become known as a laid-back place to bring kids, dogs and friends for a beer and a game of … whatever.
You name it. Game tables for Scrabble, chess and checkers, Candyland and Sequence dot the room. There’s a white board for Pictionary, a few sets of dominoes, an entire bookcase filled with board games, three foosball tables, dart boards, bar shuffleboard and a stage where local and national bands rock out most weekends.
Outside, where a food truck often is parked, there are several corn hole sets, giant Jenga and giant Connect-Four.
Inside, next to the tasting room, is a room with ping-pong tables.
3Daughters is a destination, a place to hang out and play. There’s almost always something going on, even on Monday nights the tasting room is packed with people playing live bar trivia.
3Daughters’ most popular brew is the Beach Blonde Ale, which is available at many restaurants in Florida, by the six-pack in stores, and always on tap at the brewery. Beach Blonde (5% ABV) is a clean-finish beer, not too heavy, great for Florida’s heat.
3Daughters’ other regular brews include Bimini Twist IPA (7% ABV), a smooth, not-too-bitter pale ale; Rod Bender Red, a refreshing red ale; and Sternline Stout, a lighter oatmeal stout.
Recently 3Daughters added a line of ciders and hard seltzers to its mix. The lemon-lime hard seltzer (4.2% ABV) is refreshing, a less-sweet version of Sprite, and barely any alcohol flavor.
The ciders are on the sweet side, but the ginger-lime one has a pleasing bite and the dry rose cider (8%ABV) goes down like a smooth dry rose wine. The seltzers and ciders are available in cans. Or 3Daughters will be glad to fill your growler with any of their brews for around $10 for 32 ounces, but they don’t sell growler bottles.
The first weekend of the month, it’s a party all day Saturday and Sunday at 3Daughters, which is across the street from the once-a-month Brocante Vintage Market. People wait in line to get into the Brocante space to see what the antique-sellers have to offer. 3Daughters obliges the afternoon crowd with a food truck and live band from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The second Saturday every month there’s an art walk sponsored by the St. Pete Arts Alliance.
The biggest attraction near 3Daughters is the hot shop and garden at the Duncan McClellan Gallery, a warehouse the nationally recognized glass artist converted into a stunning gallery and work space.
Glass art from respected national and international glass artists are on display. On the second Saturdays, the artists who work at Duncan McClellan’s kilns do demonstrations.
Also open to the public in the Warehouse Arts District on Art Walk Saturdays are three clay centers, the Zen Glass Gallery and the Arts Xchange where local artists demonstrate and discuss their work. 3Daughters is a natural stop during the art walks to cool off and relax. Try: Dry Rose Cider
3Daughters Brewing, 222 22nd St. South, St. Petersburg, FL 33712. Hours: Monday –Tuesday, 2-9; Wednesday – Thursday 2-10; Friday 2-12; Saturday 12–12; Sunday 1– 8.
Around the corner from 3Daughters, and next to the Clay Center of St. Petersburg, where members of the potters’ guild demonstrate and teach their craft, are two relative newcomers to the craft brewing scene: The Cage and Pinellas Ale Works, both of which opened in 2016.
The Cage has an open-air bar next to the caged-in beer brewing equipment. It’s a retro sort of place with pinball machines, an air-hockey table (watch your knuckles!) and foosball.
The popular beer at Cage is the Static IPA (7% ABV). It’s a slightly bitter but satisfying brew. Cage helpfully posts the IBU – international bitterness unit – rating of each of its beers. The Static IPA rates a 50, about midway in the range.
For a less-bitter option, try Cage’s collaboration with Flying Boat Brewing (1776 11th Ave. N., St Petersburg). “Beware the Glob” is an India Pale Lager, smooth and not globby at all.
Cage’s brewmaster likes to play around with fruity flavors, offering two mango beers – a Berliner and a double IPA – plus a strawberry kiwi blonde ale on a recent menu. Another favorite at Cage is the peanut butter stout, which tastes better than you might think. All beers are available by the growler. Cage has live music a couple of times a week, plus fundraisers for local causes. Try: Static IPA
The Cage, 2001 First Ave. South, St. Petersburg, FL. Hours: Monday-Thursday, 3-11 PM; Friday and Saturday, 12 PM-12 AM; Sunday, 12 – 8 PM
Pinellas Ale Works
The peanut butter stout is a favorite across the street at Pinellas Ale Works (PAW) too, but don’t let that or the cute doggie theme fool you. PAW is a serious microbrewery run with passion by brewer/owner Dennis Decker.
Dogs are welcome inside or out in a shaded garden. Free popcorn is served in a dog bowl (not used by dogs – they get water in a stainless steel bowl). The beer, sold by knowledgeable beer tenders, will bring you back time and again.
Top of the menu is a beer called “Harold’s” billed as a St. Pete-style lager, a testament to the city’s growing reputation as a beer-centric destination. With 5% ABV and a low 27 IBUs, Harold’s is refreshing, good to quaff when it’s hot outside.
PAW also makes the best milk stout we’ve tasted in St. Petersburg, Milk Bone, which is used as the base for the peanut butter and vanilla stouts also on the menu. Puppy Love, a New England IPA that’s similar to Cage’s Static and Green Bench’s eponymous IPA, is also a favorite of Pinellas Ale Works’ customers.
All of PAW’s brews are available in 32-, 64- and 128-ounce growlers. If you happen by at the right time, Decker might give you a nickel tour of his brewery, but there’s no formal tour. Wednesdays are trivia night with a $30 prize, and the second Thursday each month is a “Yappy Hour” fundraiser for Pet Pals. Bring your dog. Try: Milk Bone stout
Pinellas Ale Works, 1962 First Ave. S., St. Petersburg, FL. Hours: Monday & Tuesday, 3-9; Wednesday & Thursday 3–10; Friday 3-12; Saturday 12–12; Sunday 12–8
If you need a break from beer and art, Cage and PAW are just down 20th Street from Haslam’s Books, 2025 Central Ave., a St. Petersburg institution and one of the largest new and used book stores in the state.
The store has been in business more than 60 years. While it devotes much of its space now to new books and best-sellers, there are plenty of treasures to unearth on its shelves.
The blocks of Central between 20th and 24th streets – known as the Grand Central District — are home to several interesting consignment and vintage shops. Food choices in this area are more limited than closer to Tampa Bay on Central Avenue, but try Queens Head Pub for delicious British-inspired dishes, Nu-Mex for spicy New Mexican cuisine, or Nitally’s for a fusion of Thai and Mexican food.