Tampa is one of the most fun and unique beer scenes in America. A hotbed and incubator for the latest styles and trends, beer lovers of Tampa are spoiled with a diverse selection of breweries. With world-class IPA, decadent pastry stouts, and unconventional sours, Tampa has it all.
We take a look at the top breweries in the Tampa Bay Area that you need to explore on your next foray into the Sunshine State.
- Cigar City Brewing
- Cycle Brewing
- Green Bench Brewing Company
- 7venth Sun Brewery
- Angry Chair Brewing
- Coppertail Brewing Co.
- Rapp Brewing Company
- Arkane Aleworks
- Tampa Bay Brewing Company
- BarrieHaus Beer Co.
Florida’s most famous and prolific craft brewery – Cigar City – is an American institution. They’ve been crafting exquisitely brewed ales and lagers since 2009. Known worldwide for its immaculate quality, Cigar City nails every style they brew.
Jai Alai IPA is routinely considered one of the world’s best IPAs. We certainly included it in our list. The pungent, dank, and orangey hoppiness is balanced by a unique malt complexity. Despite its 7.5% ABV, Jai Alai is immensely refreshing under the hot Florida sun.
On the darker side of things, Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout was one of the original pastry stouts. Brewed with cinnamon, vanilla, cacao nibs, and chile peppers, Cigar City was an early adopter of big, sticky, flavored stouts. They’ve served as an inspiration for the droves of Florida stout brewers who followed.
There aren’t many breweries in the world like Cycle. A seemingly modest and regular tasting room opens into their relatively typical brewery. Austere rows of oak barrels, typical of many modern breweries, are on display. But at Cycle, the beer inside those barrels is essentially liquid gold. Cycle’s barrel-aged imperial stouts are prized among beer lovers. They’re insanely flavorful, round, complex, and unique.
Aside from sticky, sweet stouts, Cycle offers up a slew of interesting beers from their St. Petersburg brewery and tasting room. Cool down with their Crank IPA, hopped solely with tropical Citra hops. Once settled in, treat yourself to one of those famous stouts. Rare DOS is one of the best. A straightforward enough Imperial Stout aged in whiskey barrels, it’s complex, warming, and comforting.
It seems Green Bench has brewed almost every style of beer. And more often than not, their beers are stellar, no matter the genre. Anything from foeder-aged sour beer, crisp lagers, and hazy IPA, the St. Petersburg hot spot is precise and consistent. With a beautiful taproom to enjoy their range of well-crafted brews, Green Bench is a must-visit when in the Tampa Area.
Bench Life, a 4.6% ABV American light lager, is a crisp, refreshing take on an often derided style. Crystal clear pale yellow, the body is light and thirst quenching from the use of flaked corn. Subtle herbaceous hops remind you that you’re drinking craft beer, while not taking away from the pristine drinkability.
With two locations – a production brewery in Tampa and their cozy original facility in Dunedin – 7venth Sun is a modern craft staple in the Tampa Bay Area. Refreshing beers is their modus operandi, but that doesn’t mean they skimp on flavor. Their IPAs and hoppy beers are all packed with dank and juicy hops. Sours – from fast and fruity Berliner Weisse, to oak-aged complex wild ales – are expertly brewed as well.
For one of the most refreshing summer beers (or any season when you’re in Florida), give Graffiti Orange a try. It’s a wheat beer brewed with lactose, orange peel, and vanilla beans. This Creamsicle-inspired ale is nostalgic, cooling, and terrific.
World famous for its range of extreme, indulgent barrel-aged sweet stouts, Angry Chair is no one-trick-pony. Their entire range, from hazy IPAs to Berliner Weisse, to crispy lagers, is well-brewed and delicious. Continuously growing its brand and innovating since 2012, Angry Chair is a Tampa treasure.
For the ultimate whale, if you can get your hands on the Barrel-Aged Imperial German Chocolate Cupcake Stout, consider yourself lucky. This highly sought-after pastry stout is packed with rich, chocolatey, cakey flavor. It’s rounded out in Bourbon barrels for an extremely smooth finish. On the lighter side, their Space Grass, a hazy IPA hopped with Simcoe, Azacca, and El Dorado, is juicy, resinous, and soft.
Brewing in the Ybor neighborhood since 2014, Coppertail beers are meticulously brewed. Refined and well-crafted, the entire lineup, from IPAs to stouts, to sours, is delicious.
Unholy is one of the best American-brewed Tripels. Distinctive Belgian yeast character meshes perfectly with a heavy hand of pungent American hops. They manage to push the classic style toward IPA-level hoppiness without hindering the Belgian yeast complexity. The delicate nature of the Tripel style is preserved and the balance is refreshing and unique.
Rapp is an eclectic little nano brewery in Seminole. With over 20 taps, there’s always something new to try. Locals love the diverse lineup of American, European, and – yes – Floridian styles.
With small production and a penchant for experimentation, Rapp has brewed some wonders over their eight years of existence. They’ll often showcase obscure styles, like their deliciously smoky-sour Lichtenhainer. And when they keep it classic, like with their excellent Hefeweizen, Rapp nails it in nearly every batch.
Embracing the obscure, Arkane Aleworks is one of the most creative breweries in America. They consistently push the boundaries of what is considered beer. Over-the-top fruited sours and dessert stouts are their specialties. The methods of their hugely popular, contemporary offerings certainly remain arcane.
What the Fluff is a fantastic sour ale brewed with blackberries, raspberries, and marshmallows. This ultra sticky-sweet Berliner Weisse is tart and juicy, but with a layer of soft, vanilla sweetness from the marshmallows.
Their extra sumptuous stouts also feature unusual flavor combinations. Dessert Eagle is a rotating brand of Imperial Dessert stouts. That beer has seen additions of graham crackers, marshmallows, cacao nibs, and walnuts, among other tasty adjuncts. Delicious and intensely rich, Arkane Aleworks are masters at crafting luscious dessert-like beer.
Brewing legends Tampa Bay Brewing Company have been making ambitious and innovative beer since 1995. Their original Ybor City brewpub has a small 10-barrel brewhouse that supplies a rotating selection of fresh beer to their taproom. In 2014, TBBC opened a full-scale production facility in Westchase to meet the growing demand for its products statewide.
TBBC is known for its highly drinkable range of unique ales. For hoppy beer, Reef Donkey Pale Ale and Old Elephant Foot IPA are both balanced, modern, and fruity takes on West Coast classic styles. Their range of Floridaweisse – fruit-packed Berliner Weisse style sour beer – is juicy and flavorful.
And no matter your stance on pumpkin beer, their epically Floridian named Gourds Gone Wild is a delicious, seasonal pumpkin brown ale. Spicy, rich, and vanilla-heavy, classic pumpkin pie flavors make for a comforting dessert in a glass.
Newcomers in the Tampa beer scene, BarrieHaus Beer Co. focuses on traditional lager brewing in the Ybor City neighborhood. Opened in 2019, their small, community-oriented brewery offers a cozy taproom to enjoy its range of expertly brewed beer. Though brewing primarily top-notch lagers, they have a diverse selection that caters to all craft beer lovers.
For the purists, Family Tradition, a rich and malty Vienna lager, keeps it traditional with a toasty backbone and delicate spicy hop note. Complex enough to thoroughly geek out on, but still light and thirst quenching, it’s meant to be drunk by the stein. More on the modern side, Unconscionable – a West Coast style India Pale Lager – is bright, fresh, bitter, and incredibly refreshing.