ST. PETE

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Travel & Life -

days.

Most of the brew­ery’s beers are named af­ter lo­cal at­trac­tions. The Sur­re­al­ist IPA, of­fered in ro­ta­tion, is a nod to the city’s Dali museum. This spring, a Ger­man wheat beer named “Amer­i­can Stage in the Park Hefeweizen” hon­ored the pop­u­lar out­door mu­si­cal staged by the city’s lo­cal pro­fes­sional theater com­pany.

The most pop­u­lar Green Bench beers are Post­card Pils, a bright Pil­sner, and Green Bench IPA, a piney IPA made from Cen­ten­nial and Sim­coe hops with 6.8% ABV.

The Cof­fee Pot Bayou stout (5.2% ABV) is brewed with lo­cally roasted espresso beans from Kahwa Cof­fee for a smooth, bet­terthan-break­fast fin­ish.

Other re­cent of­fer­ings in­cluded Oaty McOat­face, a New Eng­land style ses­sion IPA; Tan­ger­ine Cream­si­cle, a New Eng­land style sour with notes of tan­ger­ine, vanilla and cream; and Pinel­las Peach, a dry-hopped peach cider.

The bar­tenders are knowl­edge­able and en­thu­si­as­tic beer lovers who will be glad to help you choose. Most brews are $5 or $6 for

12 ounces, also avail­able by the pitcher or a take-home

32-ounce growler re­fill for

$11.

There’s of­ten a food truck parked next to the pa­tio, or you can or­der ex­cel­lent tacos and bur­ri­tos next door at the Red Mesa Mer­cado. Brew­ery tours are of­fered on Satur­days from noon to 4 p.m.

Gallery stroll

From Green Bench, walk east to­ward the bay about three blocks and duck into the Chi­huly Col­lec­tion in its new space at 720 Cen­tral Ave. This small-bu­tas­tound­ing col­lec­tion con­tains pieces from each of Chi­huly’s sig­na­ture styles – huge hang­ing chan­de­liers, a boat filled with glass balls and the gar­den of glass de­light.

Next to the Chi­huly, visit a show­room of work by sculp­tor Jon D. Hair, whose mon­u­men­tal bronzes you’ll prob­a­bly find fa­mil­iar. You can sit on a bench next to Mark Twain.

Across the street is the Morean Art Cen­ter, where lo­cal and stu­dent artists show their art. Don’t miss the Morean Glass Art shop, where you can buy art glass at af­ford­able prices and watch lo­cal glass artists at work in the ad­ja­cent hot shop.

Con­tinue down Cen­tral and ex­plore bou­tiques and shops sell­ing St. Pe­ters­burg T-shirts cre­ated by lo­cal artists, an­tique and vin­tage col­lectibles, bou­tique cloth­ing and, yes, more art gal­leries.

Cy­cle Brew­ing Co.

By the time you reach Cy­cle Brew­ing (534 Cen­tral Ave.), be ready for some se­ri­ous beer. This bi­cy­cle-themed brew­ery has no cider and no fancy tast­ing flights, but you can or­der a half-pint of most beers for $3 and en­joy a gen­er­ous 10-ounce pour.

The small tap room feels like a cave with gray walls dec­o­rated with steel cutouts of bi­cy­cle-themed images. Cozy high tops for two are tucked into cub­bies along the wall. It’s a nice spot to cool off from the heat or warm up in win­ter’s chill.

Most cus­tomers go for the Crank IPA (6% ABV), made with ci­tra hops, or the Cream and Sugar Porter, a creamy cof­fee porter.

Cy­cle also makes a de­li­cious red ale, Ry­er­ish Red

(5% ABV), and, for the truly se­ri­ous, an Im­pe­rial stout called Rare Dos with

11% ABV, avail­able only in an 8-ounce pour.

Most beers are $5 to $7 for 16 ounces. You can take home most of the Cy­cle beers in a Crowler – a

32-ounce alu­minum can. Across the street from Cy­cle, at the cor­ner of 5th Street and Cen­tral, you’ll find the Florida CraftArt Gallery. This shop is filled with crafts and art­works by lo­cal ar­ti­sans, many of whom have stu­dios up­stairs (open to the pub­lic the sec­ond Satur­day of ev­ery month). Stop in to browse or buy on your way around the cor­ner to St. Pete Brew­ing Co. (544 First Ave. N.).

St. Pete Brew­ing Co.

Lighter wheat beers and ales are the at­trac­tion at this un­pre­ten­tious brew pub, where dogs en­joy hang­ing out, kids play Con­nect Four at pic­nic ta­bles on the side­walk, and there’s free pop­corn from an old-fash­ioned pop­per in the back.

The fa­vorite beer here is St. Pete Orange Wheat, an Amer­i­can wheat beer that’s fresher but oth­er­wise not too dif­fer­ent from Blue Moon or Shock Top.

Rip­tide Rye, an APA (4.6% ABV), has a pleas­ing rye fin­ish.

If you’re there when Put Me In Kolsch is on tap, get it. It has a crisp, clean taste, not too bit­ter, not too fruity. Also, the McCracken Scot­tish Ale (6 % ABV) is billed as a “Scot­tish Heavy,” but don’t let that fool you. It’s creamy and smooth. Grate­ful Stout, named af­ter the hip­pie jam band, is lighter than a typ­i­cal Ir­ish stout.

If you are into Amer­i­can sours, there is a small brew pub a few doors to the west of St. Pete Brew­ing that only serves sours.

By the time you are done, you’re prob­a­bly ready to try one of the area’s other restau­rants for din­ner, or you could head back to Green Bench and get some of those Red Mesa Mer­cado tacos.

Other fa­vorites: Hawk­ers for Asian street food (try the five-spice green beans). Bavaro’s for rus­tic Ital­ian and pizza. The Lure for sushi, tapas and free games of pool.

Ready for dessert? Stop in Swa-Rey, a dessert bar, or Hyppo for home­made ice pops.

Shop­ping, art and beer. Heaven on Cen­tral Av­enue.

Flori­daRam­bler.com gives tips on get­aways to the nat­u­ral and au­then­tic Florida.

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