Yup, I continue to meet the people behind Tampa Bay craft beer, and tell other people about it. I’m a couple behind, this one’s several weeks old, but I really enjoyed speaking to Chris Johnson and his wife Leslie—they’re both extremely nice, and passionate and knowledgeable about beer.
In which I continue to profile the passionate folks who make craft beer throughout the Tampa Bay area, which is exploding—EXPLODING—with handmade brews, from serious small-batch stuff to larger (but still pretty small, considering) independent commercial production facilities.
Odessa is in Pasco County, maybe half an hour from both northern Pinellas County (Clearwater, Tarpon Springs) and western Tampa proper. It’s still fairly rural as a Bay area bedroom community—compared to, say, Brandon—but it nonetheless features three craft breweries/tasting rooms to date: Big Storm, Escape and English pub The Wild Rover.
Here’s my feature on Mike Bishop, who moved to Pasco to escape the creeping sprawl of other Bay area neighborhoods, and ended up founding an artisanal brewery that’s one of the most widely distributed in the state. (Photo by Kevin Tighe for Creative Loafing.)