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After last weeks lament that there aren't any locally owned brewpubs in the fourth largest city in the country, I just so happened to find myself in Tampa, FL for a wedding. Where was the rehearsal dinner? At Tampa Bay Brewing Company of course.
Started back in 1996 by the Doble family, TBBC is located in the entertainment district of Tampa known as Ybor City. They offer seasonal beers, year-round taps, a full menu, and a mug club frequent drinker program...all things that I feel would thrive in a beer and food-lovin' city like Houston.
I ordered the Old Elephant Foot IPA and my date, the lovely Mrs. Amber Ambrose, selected the Moosekiller Barleywine, a giant 13.1 percent alcohol malt-bomb. The IPA was pretty standard for an IPA. Hoppy goodness with citrus notes from the combination of Northern Brewer, Centennial, and Cascade varietals with a strong malt backbone. The Barleywine was boozy from the word go. Barleywines are known for being high in alcohol but sometimes you don't feel the burn like we did with the Moosekiller. Both were very tasty, but the second round was even better. Amber ordered the True Blonde Ale, which is a style that I am usually not a fan of, but this one had distinct hop nose and assertiveness that made it a treat.
The food? Not great and definitely not the star of the show but it was passable (I honestly wasn't that hungry going in so maybe it was just an off-night for me). Would this be the kind of spot I would frequent in Houston? Absolutely.