Trail to Tavern: Brews, Bottleshops and Bars in St. Petersburg

As part of our Trail to Tavern series, we reached out to one of our favorite road warriors, Katherine, to see if she had been hitting up any local trails and taverns around the country lately. In true form, she was on her way to Florida for a few days. Sticking to the downtowns and side streets of Tampa and St. Petersburg, FL, here's Katherine's take on the urban Trail to Tavern. Please read responsibly. goodbeer My boyfriend and I love the craft beer scene. We'd heard a lot of good things about the breweries and beers coming out of the Tampa area and if you know anything about nearby St. Petersburg, you know it's like the Mecca of craft beer in Florida's central Gulf Coast. By no means an exhaustive list, here are some of the best places to blaze an urban trail and find a beer on either side of the Howard Frankland Bridge, from Tampa to St. Petersburg. Green Bench Brewing is located in a hip area of St. Petersburg, FL. There are murals everywhere, good food, shops, and palm trees galore. The weather was HOT, but a cold beer made the warmth so much more enjoyable! It's got outdoor seating and a huge, lively bar inside. And the best part is that it's super dog friendly - pilsners and puppies make a great combo. Per the locals' suggestions, we headed down the street to Bodega to grab an authentic Cuban sandwich and a fresh smoothie - to detox and refuel for the bars ahead… greenbench1 bodega greenbench3 As we wondered 4th Street, we popped into Shep's Beer Emporium. They had just about every Florida beer you could ever want, some great collaboration beers (where two breweries collaborate on a style/flavor) and some really knowledgable employees. One gal spent time showing us around, explaining a bit about the area and seemed to be the preemptive expert on all things hoppy and bubbly. Sheps1 Sheps2 Sheps3 If you're in St. Petersburg, you have to stop by the Salvador Dali Museum. Even if you don't go inside, you can still grab a beer at the cafe and walk around the outdoor exhibits. Just incredible architecture and outdoor art installations that make for a great boozy stroll on the way to the marina which is across the street. The vibrant landscaping and palm trees pair excellently with any local beer. Next stop, Cycle Brewing. This place is the real deal when it comes to small batches. They only serve their beers and you have to actually go there to try them. Each brew has a limited bottle release, meaning they only bottle a limited number and there's a limit on the number of bottle each person can buy. Grab a drink before or after lunch then explore the blocks surrounding the brewery. dali cycle1 cycle2 cycle3 Across the bridge is Tampa's Jug & Bottle Dept. Browse the fridges or grab a beer on draught, and shop while you sip. They also have a good assortment of snacks and a few grocery items if picnicking is more your style. Definitely stop by this place on your way to a friend's house if you need something to bring! While at Jug & Bottle, some the employees explained the blossoming Florida craft beer scene and recommended that we head to the Independent Bar & Cafe to see it in action. It was the best suggestion of the trip because I had one of the best drinks of my life: The Brewski Slim Pickens Make Mama Proud Passionfruit Sour. My, oh my, this hit the spot in that heat and humidity! They were also hosting a Founder's Tap Takeover on the patio (that happens to have giant air conditioners, so you can beat the heat outside!). Walk it all off with a stroll through Tampa's Seminole Heights neighborhood, known for it's eclectic restaurants and bars and charming bungalows and victorians, and of course the Taco Bus. Might I suggest the butternut squash tacos - you won't be disappointed! jugs Indpendent1 independent