TAMPA BAY, Fla. — Despite the pandemic, the Tampa Bay area continues to boast one of the most vibrant and active craft beer communities in the nation. Bay News 9’s Brews Dispatch checks in regularly to find out what’s happening with our local breweries, behind the bar and behind the scenes. Got any related news? Let us know.

What You Need To Know

  • Four St. Petersburg business are participating in a COVID Crowler Crawl

  • Cigar City Brewing is introducing a new take on its Jai Alai IPA

  • Pumpkin beers are back for fall

Three St. Petersburg breweries and one extremely craft-friendly restaurant—Dissent, Flying Boat Brewing Co., Avid Brew Company and Old Northeast’s Bier Boutique—have joined forces for the COVID Crowler Crawl. If you visit all four businesses between September 4 and 13, spend $25 at each location and hand in your checked-off crawl card, you’ll receive a one-of-a-kind T-shirt as well as the satisfaction that comes with knowing you’ve supported local businesses in a trying time. (You’ll also taste some really, really good beer and food along the way.)

Also in St. Pete, 3 Daughters Brewing is offering a valuable Labor Day Weekend BOGO deal on its six-packs. Whether you’re a fan of the brewery’s beer, cider or seltzer, when you buy one sixer, you’ll get a second one for free. This deal is only good at the 3 Daughters tasting room (222 22nd St. S.), and only through Monday, September 7.

On the Tampa side of the bay, local craft behemoth Cigar City has some big news: Next week, they’ll release a low-calorie version of their beloved Jai Alai IPA. Dubbed Jai Low, the brew is said to contain just 120 calories, as opposed to the original’s reported 225. The trade-off includes a lower ABV of 4%, so you’ll be able to session your way through the end of summer in style.

If you’re ready to say goodbye to summer completely, however (wishful thinking, people), downtown St. Pete craft beer mecca The Ale and The Witch has you covered. The bar is currently—already?—featuring mixed four-packs of pumpkin beers from Missouri’s O’Fallon Brewery. The packs are $16 for four 16-ounce cans and feature Mexican Hot Chocolate Pumpkin Stout, Salted Caramel Pumpkin, Jack O’Latte Pumpkin Cream Stout, and Pumpkin Whip Cream Ale. 

And finally, one of the Bay area’s favorite annual beer events, Busch Gardens’ Bier Fest, will return this month, despite the pandemic and including new COVID provisions. The fest runs from September 12 through November 15, and will feature 16 tasting stations. It’s an open-air affair, and the theme park will employ special sanitization and serving processes to help keep visitors safe. They’ll be limited attendance, too, so you might want to grab your tickets now.