During a recent weekend trip to Indian Rocks Beach, I decided to stop by a local Tampa brewery. Like most of the good breweries I’ve visited throughout the United States, Coppertail Brewery is located in an industrial/warehouse district. Driving through an unassuming part of town, passing furniture warehouses, you come upon this hip looking oasis with really unique artwork on the side of the building.
Going inside you are greeted by a dimly lit atmosphere with lots of exposed brick, lighting with “Edison” style bulbs, an old Catholic confessional booth, and artwork, similar to the mural from the side of the building, extends to the walls and beer labels. The feel is very inviting.
Cutting straight to the chase, the beer! I arrived just in time for the last brewery tour of the day and promptly signed up. Included in the $7.50 price of the tour is a beer, a Coppertail pint glass, and an in depth tour. I chose to start things off right and went straight for their flagship, the Unholy Trippel. At 9.5% ABV it’s a pretty heady way to kick off my visit. It’s a cloudy orange/yellow color. The smell has a familiar Belgian smell of malt and spice with a hoppy note. Upon first taste it’s sweet like a lot of trippels I’ve had, with clove or coriander notes from the Belgian yeast. It quickly moves into a hoppy note with a strong malt backbone. It reminded me of heavily malted IPAs I’ve had in the past. The finish is sweet and not too long with a little bit of the perfume you get off some IPAs.
Feeling pretty good at this point, it’s now time to move into the tour. The first stop on the tour is just outside of their giant cooler. The tour guide gave us some history of the brewery and a sample of the Flora Cara which is a Berliner Weisse with Hibiscus flowers and Cara Cara Oranges. The color is a rich red with a nice white head on top. The smell is floral and citrusy as you’d expect. At first taste, it’s very tart and moves through phases of floral, citrus, and a kind of grassy earthy taste. The finish is crisp and tart like a Berliner should be with a little bit of Cara Cara on the back.
Moving on in the tour, our guide takes us over to the fermentation area and pours us a sample of their Citrus IPA. I should mention, the “samples” he poured us were very generous! Back to the IPA…The color is a bold cloudy straw. The nose has intense grapefruit notes. The first taste is so refreshing with bold flavors of wheat, hops, and fresh squeezed orange and grapefruit. The finish drops off quick and leaves a grain note with citrus undertones. Overall one of the best and most refreshing IPAs I’ve ever had and I used to be quite the Hop Head.
In conclusion, if you find yourself in Tampa and have time for a beer (and there’s always time for a beer!) I encourage you to go check out Coppertail Brewery. I say it’s hands down one of the coolest breweries I’ve been to in Florida. Having recently moved here from the Pacific Northwest, I’d say I’m a pretty good authority on quality breweries and beer. But don’t take my word for it! Go check it out!
By: Stephen Dumas