My friend, Brie, and I were asked to go to Leaven Brewing for an event in collaboration with promoting the Suds Duds Society membership—of course we couldn’t say no! Once we found out we were going to Leaven, we immediately jumped to the idea of planning out a weekend away from home—in Tampa. If you don’t know Brie, she is another fellow beer-bloggin’ biddy from Orlando that I met, well, through beer blogging… if you’re not already following her on the internet, stop reading this and go on Instagram and follow @The_Pintsized_Traveler!
Let me just say, Tampa is the Mecca of Florida breweries. There are so many to choose from and it is impossible to stop in and enjoy each one in a single day. You’re going to need several days to complete that venture, or a lot of damn Red Bull.
We decided since we were only working the one event, to stay the night and enjoy all the breweries we could stuff in one evening.
We left Orlando around noon and headed down I4 (AKA the death trap highway) all the way to Tampa. Through all the construction, theme parks, and people who drive like they’re on fire or bath salts, it only took us about two hours to get there. Brie has never been to Hidden Springs Ale Works before, so we stopped there first. It’s very close to the highway, so it’s highly convenient to make a pit stop when you’re in the area.
Upon arriving, you are greeted with a friendly bartender (or two) and dogs. It seems as though everyone who goes to Hidden Springs brings their dogs with them, and it’s one of the many things I like about that brewery (and Tampa, in general). They also have a redneck dream catcher hanging in their brewery that I am pretty sure a lot of people don’t even notice. If you have seen it, comment below!
We snagged a couple of pints and 4 packs of their sweet & sour nectar brewed by the hands of some really talented individuals. I don’t even remember what I drank, but I am pretty sure it was I am the Walrus, one of their more recent releases as of right now. Pretty delicious.
After chit-chatting for a bit we decided we were talking for too long to visit another brewery and trying to GPS our way around Tampa. Our directionally-challenged asses decided it would be more simple to just head to the hotel, check in, and go from there.
We arrived at the hotel and drove straight into the parking garage, like a bossssss. But we looked like idiots because it’s valet only. No one stopped us, though. Not sure if that is a good or bad thing. We must have just looked like super important people that knew exactly what we were doing, but we didn’t. At all.
We slide up the elevator to our room and unpack. Brie brought beer (she came prepared). Instead of drinking the special release she brought (I think it was the Madame Rose by Goose Island), we split an Ezra the Lion from Hidden Springs.
Next thing we know, we are running out of time and scrambling to get ready for our event. We had to catch an Uber all the way to the little town of Riverview, where lovely Leaven Brewing is!
After working our event & spreading the word about Suds Duds, and drinking a couple of Carriage Ride pints (a delicious pumpkin stout), we decided to go back to Tampa to hit up a few more places. We stopped in at Coppertail Brewing first. We both had a beer there and I met a follower! It was such a pleasant visit. I haven’t been to Coppertail in years, so it was nice to see the place abuzz with so many people enjoying craft beer. It’s a really unique place to visit and the artwork and atmosphere is stunning. I highly recommend a stop at Coppertail, it is one of the most iconic Tampa breweries, in my opinion.
After that, we traveled to Zydeco Brew Works. A few sips of beer later, my mind becomes fuzzy and I really only remember going on a mission for great pizza after that. Which, I do remember the pizza and pizza place very specifically. It’s Due Amici Sauces in downtown Ybor, and it does NOT disappoint! Do not even go to any other pizza place in town. Stop right there. Go immediately to Due Amici’s. Not all pizza is the same. This pizza made me intelligent. It helped me avoid a hangover the next day. It was created with the most savory and delicious of cheeses. I am certain their pizza had magical powers. The slices are bigger than my face and filled my soul with so much pleasure (and even more cheese). If you’re not getting good tacos or pizza at the end of your night, what the hell are you even doing?
Ybor City has a historic, yet modern feel. The bars are shoulder-to-shoulder, as well as the people. Some are rustic, some are new, and some are a happy medium. Same as the people. All have a great selection of craft cocktails and beer, I think. Maybe not all, but I’m sure like 90% of them do.
After pizza, I think we contemplated on going to Coyote Ugly—contemplated… And that, my friends, is just how we survived Tampa in one night! Had we gone to Coyote Ugly… well, do I even need to say it?
I seriously did want to go in, though. But we had a bigger mission to successfully bring back Brie’s pizza to the hotel, and you just can’t afford the risk of losing good pizza at a second bar. Let’s be real.
So, all in all, if you go to Tampa, be careful of when you start. Obviously, drink responsibly. The most important part is get good pizza OR tacos and get back to your hotel, focused on your food.
Brie and I had such a blast! Tampa is so, so much fun. I love going there, but I definitely love my Orlando a little more.
That’s about all I got for now. If you want to know more, check out Leaven Brewing’s post on Instagram, and don’t forget to check out Suds Duds Society and The Pint Sized Traveler as well.
As always, thank you for your love and support, and I can’t wait to share my next adventures with you!
P.S. Now, after look at the pictures, I remember we went to Rock Brother’s Brewing THEN went to go get pizza. This is why it is so great having a smart phone AND a beer blog. You can always pinpoint where the night takes you and the very moment you decide to play another exciting round of “Will I be hungover tomorrow?”