After leaving 7venth Sun Brewery, my wife and I headed toward Largo's Barley Mow Brewing, stop 6 on #EpicTampaBreweryTour. When I was planning this trip, I asked Twitter for recommendations and to critique the schedule I had laid out a few weeks in advance. Twitter follower and Tampa area beer geek "Ginger" JMcDiddlez (go follow, I'll wait) insisted that Barley Mow was a MUST STOP, rivaling Cigar City and the best the area has to offer. "I promise. Barley Mow is OUTSTANDING. I put them on Cigar City level. They are amazing." When I plugged the address into my map, yeah, no brainer!
Barley Mow's tasting room has a fairly roomy inside space and a large outdoor patio as well (their website says that's called "The Nest.") The guy sitting next to us at the bar was more than willing to share little tidbits about the brewery and area in general. He let us know that the bartender was one of the brewers, so should we have any questions, not to be shy. In addition to the small-scale brewing done on-site, with the tanks in full view around the tasting room, Barley Mow also has a 30 BBL production brewery.
There was also a woman working behind the bar, presumably one of the owners based on our conversation. She "caught" me taking notes while drinking, you know old-fashioned pen and paper. "Uh-oh! Should I be worried? Well, I didn't brew it so it's OK!" That's a 6th-brewery-memory-a-week-later, pretty-close quote!
Anyway, we ended up in a discussion about the history of the brewery. I think I heard that Barley Mow was one of the first five breweries in the area, opening right at the start of the craft beer boom in Tampa in 2011.
I asked about the cooperation of local brewers. The woman I identified as the owner above mentioned that it's been great, citing an example where in the beginning they used to take their kegs to 3 Daughters Brewing because that brewery offered to share their automated keg washing machine in the spirit of helping out fellow brewers! Pretty awesome stuff!
Flight One: Quackalope IPA; Passion Fruit Blonde; Calliope Tart Cherry Wheat; The Huntsman (Hoppy Red): Foolery (American Barleywine)
Quackalope has a nice fruity sweetness overcome by big bitter hoppiness, very flavorful; Passion Fruit Blonde has lots of, um, passion fruit flavor, not too sweet; Calliope was nicely tart and full of cherry flavor, not close to sour if you were worried.
The guy at the bar recommended The Huntsman and it did turn out to be my favorite. Really rich caramel to start followed by an awesome hoppy bitter finish. Great see-saw battle between sweet and bitter. Finally, we tasted Foolery. Full of butterscotch sweetness, really delicious, lots of flavor, and alcohol, though that was craftily disguised.
On the way out, we checked out the outside beer garden area. We also got a dinner recommendation for DeLosa's Pizza down the road! My wife and I polished off a pretty big mushroom pizza no problem!
Next stop... Rapp Brewing!