Tag Archives: Tampa

Cigar City Brewpub

23 Mar

I forgot to blog about my trip to the Cigar City Brewpub in Tampa before I went on vacation last week. I’m getting pretty bad at this. I’ve had a few of Cigar City’s beers before and had even visited the taproom a few years back, but it had been awhile so I went with a flight to try more than one.  I went IMG_0941with the hard cider, Maduro Brown Ale, Space Race and Barley Berry Jam. The only reason I know this, by the way, is not from superior memory, but from this awesome app on my phone called Untappd. It’s how I “check-in” or log my new beers. It’s like Facebook, but for you and your beer drinking friends. But that’s another post.

Anyways, I remember liking them all, the Space Race the most, which I think was a stout. But again not the biggest fan of the cider. Just too sweet for my taste. They had a ton of beers on tap so there is definitely something for everyone. No, I don’t remember how much the flight cost.

The dinner menu had a good variety and I went with the empanada of the day, which happened to be something with buffalo chicken when I went. It was pretty good; i’d eat it again. Nicole was a total copycat and got the same thing, but our other two friends went with the flank steak, which looked delicious, and the mac n cheese with ropa vieja, which I can attest was delicious. We had an appetizer of caprese salad, which was fresh and filling. Overall for the price it was a good deal. The decorations inside were cute too with use of beer barrels, bottles, cans, etc in all the furniture and walls. I don’t think i’d drive that far again just for the beer, but if you’re in the area it’s definitely worth stopping by.


Yuengling Factory

5 Feb

Part of my 23rd birthday gift from my father was to take me on a tour of the Yuengling brewery in Tampa. There was so much information given I wish I had brought my voice recorder to help me remember it all. I was seriously impressed. They have been family owned since 1829 making it literally America’s oldest brewery. The factory makes about a million bottles a day and they are currently expanding to double that.

The tour takes you through all aspects of the brewing process. You get to see the mash press and all the huge equipment they use to sterilize and bottle the beer with. They even take you into the lab and let you smell the different ingredients they use. I had no idea that beer tasting was more complicated than wine tasting. Apparently there are around 2,000 flavors to a beer that a taster has to be able to identify versus around 200 per wine. And I thought wine was more complicated.

At the end of the about hour long tour visitors get to taste their brews on tap. They don’t have a liquor license so they can’t sell you the beer but they can give it away for free, although they limit you to two small pours. I tried the Lord Chesterfield Ale and the Bock since I had never heard of them before. The Lord Chesterfield was too hoppy for my liking but the Bock was a darker brew that went down much smoother. 

Tours are free and they have about three a day. Check out their calendar and plan a visit so next time you grab some brews you can even further appreciate the years or expertise that went into the delicious Yuengling you’re drinking.

Gallery 5 Feb

Tour of the Yuengling brewery in Tampa, FLA.

Carmel Cafe Update

10 Sep

The affordable $5 deals after 5 p.m. Carmel Cafe has on Wednesdays is now available every day of the week. They also have an expanded menu for the $5 food deals that include Calamari Fries and a Mini Mezze Platter. Now they have a full bar and offer 5 martinis as part of the $5 deals. The catch is the deal only lasts from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. I can’t wait to go check out their new location in South Tampa off Swann Ave. I will be sure to update you soon.

Carmel Cafe & Wine Bar

17 May

In the Tampa Bay Times a few days ago their “Short List” was a collection of wine bars in Tampa. You know I cut out that sucker and plan on checking out each one of them. I picked the Carmel Cafe & Wine Bar as my first excursion and went there last night with a friend. It’s off of N. Dale Mabry Hwy in the same strip mall/plaza as a Chuck E. Cheese’s so when I first pulled up I was a little put off.

Once you get inside all of your concerns are washed away by the beautifully planned out ambiance. It’s literally a hidden gem that most people would drive right by without thinking twice if they hadn’t heard about it before. 

It can be a very intimate dining experience with minimal interruptions from your waitress since they provide an iPad where you can order, pay and even play games like Angry Birds. They bring out a plain, clear wine glass full of water that they leave at your table. The wine nerd in me thought that was super cute. 

I decided to go on Wednesday because I checked out their website and saw that from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. every Wednesday they have 5 wines that are $5 for a 6 oz. pour and all 5 of their flatbreads are $5 also.

I started off with a glass of the Sangre de Toro red blend of Grenache and Carinene from Catalunya, Spain. I’ve never had Carinene on it’s own before but knew that I liked Grenache and enjoy most red blends. It had a good balance of tannins. It smelled of rose and was light and refreshing like water. This was paired with our $5.79 appetizer of Nan’s Goat Cheese which is served with garlic crostinis, sundried tomatoes, kalamata olives and roasted garlic. 

The next wine I tried was Caposaldo Pinot Grigio from Veneto, Italy. It had an apple/peach scent. The flavor was light, dry and acidic. It paired well with my slightly spicy grilled lemon chicken, artichoke and arugula flatbread. 

The last wine I tried was the Sangre de Toro white Parellada from Catalunya, Spain. It smelled slightly of petroleum. It was fruitier than the Pinot Grigio, very peachy, and had the smallest hint of tannin aftertaste. This paired well with the $5 spinach and artichoke dip served with pita chip strips. 

We got there early to take advantage of their deals but as time went on more people came. All the food comes out so quickly after you order. This place is clearly doing well since their website says they are opening two more locations very soon. I would recommend this place to anyone who is in the area. You will not be disappointed. 

Image 17 May

Carmel Cafe & Wine Bar in Tampa, Fla.