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
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.
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.
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