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Food & Dining

The Sip: Tampa a top craft beer destination

BY Jeff Houck
Tribune staff

Published:   |   Updated: June 21, 2013 at 04:49 PM

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The Tampa area's beer scene continues to garner much-deserved mentions in the media.

Earlier this week, it got a shout-out on GuysGab.com. I was dubious at first because I had never heard of the site. Second, how do I put this ... guys don't gab. We talk. We converse. We grunt. We fist-bump. But we don't gab.

That didn't stop me from appreciating the site's list of the "Top 5 Craft Beer Destinations For Your Next Vacation." Coming in at No. 3 is Tampa, with Denver and Portland, Ore., above us and Seattle and Boston below.

It's impressive that Tampa could place so highly after a relatively short recent history of craft beer production.

"The Tampa Bay area is certainly making up for lost time. In particular, the South Tampa and St. Petersburg areas have led some enthusiasts to refer to the Bay area as 'the new hotbed of craft beer.' "

The big-hitters earned a mention: Tampa's Cigar City Brewing and Tampa Bay Brewing Company. Also cited were Barley Mow Brewing Company in Largo, Saint Somewhere Brewing Company in Tarpon Springs, Peg's Cantina & Brew Pub in Gulfport, New World Brewery in Ybor City and Mr. Dunderbak's and Four Green Fields in Tampa. Tampa's annual Beer Week in March got a nice thumbs-up as well.

Wine innovation

For years, the argument among wine lovers has been whether cork or screw-tops were best for wine storage and delivery.

This week, Gizmodo.com reports that cork manufacturer Amorim and bottle-maker O-I have invented a threaded, resealable cork (and matching threaded bottle neck, of course) aimed at the labels with bottles retailing for between $8 to $15.

The Helix cork was unveiled Monday at Vinexpo in Bordeaux. Your Rabbit opener is safe for the moment, though. The new bottles and corks won't show up on shelves for at least two years.

Great Sips

- SweetWater Brewing Company's Waterkeeper Hefeweizen Ale. Really dug the smooth, creamy head and light, almost citrusy flavor.

- Domaine Chandon Etoile Brut Champagne. Crisp and clean with an apple finish. Great for summer celebrations. Price: $40.

- Chimney Rock 2008 Elevage Blanc, Napa Valley white blend with herbal and grassy notes. Delicate and clean. About $42 a bottle.

Headline Of The Week

From Bleacherreport.com: "Kobe Bryant Soaks Down a Father's Day Beer at Yankees vs. Angels Game."

Macaroni Grill Gets Wine-y

In its first big promotion since its February purchase by Houston-based Ignite Restaurant Group, Romano's Macaroni Grill's is doing a Summer Uncorked program that offers all wines at half-price every day through Aug. 25. Ignite also owns Joe's Crab Shack and Brick House Tavern + Tap.

Bottles are priced under $14 (regularly $28) and glasses at less than $3 (regularly $6).

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