Saturday, February 22, we did a brewery tour of northern Pinellas County with three of our friends. We had a real blast.
We stopped at Lueken’s Liquors on our way to our first stop because Hubby heard they have a great beer selection – and they do! Lots of rare finds there. They have developed good relationships with a lot of distributors and breweries, so they get stuff that’s hard to find anywhere else in the state. They ship within the state, so even if you’re not over that way, you can check out their selection.
We started our tour at 7venth Sun in Dunedin a little before 4. One thing we love about 7venth Sun is their 4 ounce pours. Hubby and I got 4 ounces of all of the 7venth Sun beers on tap. My favorites were the Galaxy IPA (made with galaxy hops) and the Bretta Off Dead.
We left 7venth Sun about 4:30 for Dunedin Brewery. We thought we’d try some beer and have dinner. I was looking forward to trying their cheese curds. But when we got there about 4:30 the waitress informed us they were doing last call because a special (ticketed) event (Stouts & Stogies – you shouldn’t smoke while you drink craft beer) started at 5. We didn’t bother getting a beer, we just left. I looked at their site just a few days before and saw nothing about the event so … yeah. Annoyed. (I do notice that as of the posting date, the banner for the event is STILL up.)
Barley Mow is a small, very charming brewery in Largo. The inside looks like an Irish pub (dark wood, muted lights) and there is a huge patio area. As a bonus, there is a great barbecue joint, Smokin’ Rib Shack, next door. We tried two flights of four beers. My favorites were their pepper beer (very authentic pepper flavor) and the coffee stout. I drank almost the whole sample of the stout and that’s not even my favorite style! The Grape Tinkler (hilarious name) is really good, too – refreshing with a very light grape flavor.
Smokin’ Rib Shack
We smelled it as soon as we parked. After we put in our beer orders, various members of our party began venturing next door for takeout. Hubby got smoked wings (ridiculously good), ribs (huge), pulled pork sandwiches (delicious), collards (quite good), and mini sweet potato pies (awesome). I’m very picky about barbecue and theirs was some of the best I’ve had in Florida. The pies were the really impressive part for me. A lot of places just do not know how to make a pie crust but theirs was really good.
If you haven’t been to Rapp Brewing in Pinellas Park, you haven’t had the best beer in Florida yet. (Ok, J. Wakefield MAY be just as good but it’s so damn hard to get any right now it’s hard to say.) They make my most favorite beer of all time: their gose, which is what I had Saturday night. But everything I’ve had there has been really amazing. Their lichtenheiner (smoked Berliner weisse) is the best smoked beer I’ve ever had. Their peanut butter stout tastes like you put peanut butter in your beer. Their beers just have really pure flavors.
Pair O’ Dice
Rapp was really busy (a kayaker gathering) so we thought we’d get over to nearby Pair O’ Dice before they closed at 9. Pair O’ Dice has an amazing brewery set up:
The tasting room is very nice, too. The owners are UF electrical engineering grads who decided to open a brewery and they are super nice. We tried half pints of a few different brews. Their stout was really good. It’s a fun place to hang out. There’s cornhole in the back and they have playing cards at the bar (we played some rummy). The ladies’ room is one of the nicer brewery/bar bathrooms I’ve been in. You can tell one of the owners is a woman. I look forward to seeing what they do next.