The biggest gift this season came to craft beer lovers in St. Petersburg and the rest of Tampa Bay. Pour Taproom in St. Pete’s Downtown District is unlike anything in the Bay Area, with 75 taps for beer alone. Local breweries are well-represented, and the rest are small-batch craft brews that come from independent beermakers across the world. The selection is constantly changing, and the best part about it... you serve yourself and pay by the ounce!
This is like being a kid in a candy store!
The tap wall at Pour Taproom St. Pete.
One of Pour Taproom’s well-trained and enthusiastic guides will greet you at the door. I like to think of them as "Taproom Sherpas", because they can literally guide you through and create a unique experience everytime you go. And you need them because there's so much great beer you might miss something!
After exchanging your credit card for an activated wristband, it’s time to get started. Choose between a pint or a goblet style glass and head to the tap wall, where above each tap is a touchscreen that toggles between the name and origin of the beverage and a description of the taste, how it’s made, and special ingredients. It also tells you the proper glass style to use, so once you’ve decided on a selection, simply tap your wristband onto the screen and a green light will indicate you're ready to pour.
Touchscreen display at Pour Taproom St. Pete.
Then just pull the tap and the fermented nectar flows. Once you’ve pulled the perfect amount, push the tap back and the touchscreen will display how many ounces you’ve served and the price. So if you’d prefer something else, move on without wasting your time and money. It will also tell you how many ounces you’ve had in total. This system is genius and I can’t figure out why I didn’t think of it first!
There are 75 craft beers, eight wines and prosecco on tap. And for the designated driver in your party, they have cold brew coffee and ginger beer on tap as well. I put myself in the hands of my sherpa, Avery, a man who really knows his beer and is a perfect ambassador for Pour Taproom. We went straight for the craft beer wall, conveniently grouped into ciders, sours, Belgians, lights, IPA’s specialties and darks.
First up was a sour style beer called El Gosa from the Avery Brewing Company. The sea salt and coriander notes came through nicely and the hint of sour was a nice finish. One of the most popular beers is the Sweet Baby Jesus Chocolate Porter. This is a malty dark beer whose nose and flavor is accented by chocolate, coffee and peanut butter. My wife sampled this and said it was just sinful. The Lagunitas Brewery offered a Brown Shuggah Sweet Release has a bit of brown cane sugar in it. This was my favorite because it had the perfect weight and mouthfeel. In spite of the brown sugar, it wasn’t sweet on the front end but finished off with a nice slight molasses-flavored dance on the back of the tongue. It’s just delicious and worth a trip from anywhere in the Bay Area.
“The pour-and-pay-by-the-ounce is really unique,” says Tanner Moody, a lifelong St. Petersburg resident and the owner of Pour Taproom. “The average pour size is four ounces so most of our guests are here to really explore their beer horizons.” His inspiration for the place came on a trip to Asheville, NC where he visited the first Pour Taproom, and later convinced those in charge to let him open one of his own.
High top benches, plush leather sectionals, corn-hole, board games and a bing pong table can also be found at the Burg location, with food trucks swinging by on Friday and Saturday nights. They will even offer mimosas and bellinis on special occasions using their prosecco tap!
Pour Taproom in St. Petersburg is unique and offers a beer festival every day of the week. Its located on 2nd Avenue North and open from noon to midnight... but don’t worry, if it’s midnight and you’re still pouring, they’ll stay open. On my drive home I was already planning a return trip and counting all my craft beer-loving friends I want to bring to this fantastic new spot in St. Pete.
All photos by author.