Mike Harting’s new life as a brewer started off with beer-battered fish.
The co-owner of Bella Brava New World Trattoria in St. Petersburg asked his restaurant colleague Ty Weaver if they could make beer in-house for the batter. Everything else is made fresh, Harting thought. Why not the beer?
Weaver, who home-brews as a hobby, came back with the fish. Which made Harting wonder if they could make more beer. Weaver said they could.
About a year ago, they started featuring a rotating variety of TOBE beers — as in “Whatever Ty wants it to be” — on the restaurant taps. Last month, the TOBE line was popular enough to account for 33 percent of the restaurant’s beer sales.
Which got Harting to thinking: Could we produce enough for a tasting room. Weaver said they could.
Harting pulled a group of investors together, raised almost $1.5 million and began renovating and retro-fitting an 18,000-square-foot building on South 22nd Street in St. Pete. Sometime before Thanksgiving, he expects to open 3 Daughters Brewing.
Weaver has nine beer recipes finished, including a dunkelweizen, a Russian imperial stout, a brown ale, an India pale ale, an Irish red an oatmeal stout, a summer wheat and a porter. The signature beer to start with: the Beach Blonde Ale, which comes in at a very drinkable 5 percent alcohol by volume.
Build-out is finishing on the tasting room at the front of the building, which will include a 30-barrel brewhouse and a 1-barrel pilot system and about 180 barrels of brewing space. Harting already has plans for three more expansions to add fermentation capacity.
“With the package we have now, we can support about 300 taps, depending on how popular the beers are,” he said.
Another nice feature: Harting is building a lab at the brewery for home-brewers to bring their own batches in for analysis.
With Green Bench Brewing Co. and Cycle Brewing now open and St. Petersburg Brewing Co., about to open its doors, 3 Daughters is joining a quickly maturing craft beer scene on the Gulf Coast.
“It’s going to be fun,” Harting said.
For information, go to 3DBrewing.com.
The Pumpkin Tap Kit by KegWorks. “This tap kit has everything you need to turn an ordinary pumpkin (or watermelon) into a pumpkin drink dispenser that will have your friends thinking you’re more clever than Martha Stewart.”
The tap kit is available at KegWorks.com for $31.25.
On the Denver Post’s First Drafts beer blog, beer writer Heather Vandenengel named Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing and Dunedin’s 7venth Sun Brewery as among her favorite in the southeast United States.
About 7venth Sun, Vandenengel said, “The brewery has a knack for droolworthy names, such as Graffiti Orange Creamsicle Wheat and Donut Porter — a chocolate porter with glazed donuts. But seek out sours like the Berliner Weisse, Midnight Moonlight and fruit-augmented Berliner releases like watermelon, key lime and kiwi-cherry coconut.”
NEW CARMEL CAFE COCKTAILS
Carmel Cafe’s lineup of specialty cocktails now includes an Apple Pie Martini that blends cinnamon apple tea with Stolichnaya vanilla vodka, agave, toasted apple slices and a sprig of mint. Another favorite: The Guava Ginger Splash, which mixes reposado tequila with fresh, chopped ginger, guava juice and a splash of lime.
Bartender Ryan Pines’ Edison Oldie at Edison Food + Drink Lab. Imagine a traditional Old Fashioned with a smoked ice cube and a spicy marinated cherry.
Dean Hurst’s Vesper at the Elevage pop-up. It was made with Sazerac Rye whiskey instead of vodka, Beefeater Gin, and Cocchi Americano aperitif wine. The clean flavor cut through the starchy, bold-flavored food on the menu. Can’t wait to see what he concocts at Edge Social Drinkery in the Epicurean Hotel.
Founders Brewing Co.’s Breakfast Stout at The Stein & Vine in Brandon.