Florida Craft Brewery: Coppertail Brewing Company
Established: August 20th, 2014
Location: 2601 East 2nd Avenue, Tampa, Florida 33605
Known For: The Coppertail Brewing Company tends to brew their beers on the drier side. They brew a lot of, and some of the finer, Berliner Weiss in the state. They also focus on darker beers like porters and stouts more often than other styles. In 2015 they brewed a Dunkel (German style dark lager), which was the official beer for Tamp Bay’s Oktoberfest. It was a great representation of the style!
Current Beer Menu: My first flight consisted of Coppertail’s four core beers, which are all bottled. First up was an American style Trippel called ‘Unholy’. It was easily the hoppiest Trippel I’ve ever tried and I loved it. The ‘Free Dive’ IPA was filled with dank hops giving a lovely pine and citrus aroma. Following the hop parade was ‘Wheat Stroke’, a hoppy wheat ale meant for the hot and humid Florida summer. The 4th core beer was ‘Night Swim’, a porter boasting dark chocolate and roasted coffee. It was a nice way to end the hop fest I had just sampled. The ‘Passion Fruit HRIS’ is a Belgian style rice beer with the addition of passion fruit. This beer was all about the passion fruit for me. It came through marvelously. Hris is an Old English surname that means brushwood, which eventually became Rice over time. ‘Allusion’ was yet another deliciously hopped beer. It’s an unfiltered Pale Ale with both Amarillo and Victoria Secret hops. The only Berliner Weiss on tap was brewed with Kumquats and named ‘Quats Up’. The Kumquats came through effectively finishing with a very light tartness. ‘La Chasse’ is a generously hoppy Farmhouse Ale. The hops actually almost overpowered the feel of the Saison, but I was still a big fan of it. ‘Double Barrel Unholy’ takes the base Trippel and ages it separately in both rum and white wine barrels. The two are then blended together to form a blasphemous blessing for your taste buds. The white wine and rum went together surprisingly well. ‘Sometimes You Don’t’ is a Porter brewed with coconut, cacoa nibs, and vanilla. This was a Mounds liquefied into a flight glass. It was my favorite of the day alongside the ‘DB Unholy’. ‘Silver Bar’ is a hoppy Pilsner. Pilsners are definitely not a go-to for me, but this one stepped up its game. I thoroughly enjoyed it! ‘Seasonal Relief’ is a Baltic Porter brewed with both Elderberries and Goji Berries. Both berries are known anti-inflammatories so this beer must be good for you. I enjoyed the hint of berries that came through. ‘Captain Jack’s Stone Crab Stout’ is brewed with three hundred pounds of Key West caught Stone Crab claws, which are added to the brewing process in the last 15 minutes. Those few minutes are just long enough to add a bit of a salty brine to the brew. Coppertail hosts a Stone Crab dinner using part of the day’s catch that didn’t go into the brew. The Shift Manager, Jeff, mentioned the claws were absolutely delicious after being removed from the beer. That’s a beer pairing I would love to have been privy to.
Price Range: Flights are offered in four 4oz glasses. The large majority of offerings are $2.00 per, but a limited release such as the ‘Double Barrel Unholy’ will run you $3.00. A 12oz pour will range between $4.00 and $7.00. A 16oz pour available for the bulk of Coppertail’s offerings will run you $5.00. Growlers in both 32oz and 64oz are available. The growler pre-pour will cost you $4.00 and $6.00 respectably. On my visit, the pour for a 32oz ranged between $7.00 and $8.00 while a 64oz was between $13.00 and $15.00. Six packs of ‘Free Dive’ ($11.00), ‘Unholy’ ($11.00), ‘Night Swim’ ($9.00) and ‘Wheat Stroke’ ($9.00) are available along with 750ml bottles of both ‘Seasonal Relief’ ($12.00) and ‘Captain Jacks’ ($13.00). The rotation on 750ml bottles changes as their seasonal bottle offerings change.
Wine Menu: Wine is only offered during private events in the upstairs loft/event space.
Food Menu/Food Trucks: Coppertail allows patrons to bring food from home or food to be delivered. They also have food trucks Tuesday through Friday from 5:00 – 10:00pm as well as Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 – 5:00pm. Coppertail has also partnered with local favorite Stein & Vine to open their second location within a 1,000 sqft space in the brewery to be called S&V Kitchen at Coppertail. The opening is tentatively scheduled for Spring 2017.
Ambiance: When pulling into the parking lot a hulking two-story 34,000 sqft building gazes back at you. There is outdoor seating on both the ground and second floors (private events only) and a mural containing two of their beer labels. A welcoming feeling washes over you when you walk inside. I’m not sure if it’s the red brick or the natural light that was pouring in through the windows, but the warm feeling is certainly there. I’ve always loved when the time is taken to refurbish a building while still keeping the history intact. There are a number of pieces of art on the walls that were created by the same artist who designs the bottle labels. The old-time style pieces help to bring the building to life. It has certainly become one of my favorite taprooms.
Bar Seating: The bar area held 18 seats while the main floor consisted of 15 tables of various styles and seating as well as a very comfy looking L-shaped leather couch.
Staff: The Shift Manager, Jeff, handled the bartending duties while I was in-house. He has been with Coppertail for two and a half years. He was a pleasure to chat with and definitely knew what he was talking about when it came to the brewery. Bartender/Tour Guide, James, gave me a quick tour of the brewery, which gave me a chance to snap a few pictures.
Brewing System: Coppertail brews on a four vessel 50 bbl Brewhouse, which was fabricated by the German company Rolec. It consists of two 50 bbl fermenters, four 100 bbl fermenters, one 50 bbl brite tank, and one 100 bbl brite tank.
Merch: Men’s and women’s t-shirts are available for between $20.00 and $22.00. Hats range between $20.00 and $25.00. They also offer a number of other products from beer soap to beanies. All of which can be seen here.
Membership offered: Nothing is offered at this time.
Best days or time of year to go: If you’re looking for a quieter experience earlier in the week before the work crowd begins to file in for the evening should be your plan of attack.
Regular Hours: Monday – Thursday: 12:00pm – 11:00pm, Friday – Saturday: 12:00pm – 12:00am, & Sunday: 12:00pm – 7:00pm
Happy Hour: Happy hour is not offered, but for those in the biz, both Sunday and Monday nights will garner you a 20% off discount.
-President, Kent Bailey, credits his then five-year-old daughter Sophia for coming up with the Coppertail name. In conversation one evening she had mentioned a Coppertail sea monster that lived in Tampa Bay. The name stuck in his head and the rest is history.
-Head Brewer, Casey Hughes, worked with the now shuttered Key West Brewing on their bottling line while working his way up to a brewing position before the age of 21. He then moved to New Jersey to take the head brewing position at the Flying Fish Brewery where he won a number of Great American Beer Festival (GABF) medals. Eventually, the sunshine and Coppertail’s head brewer position lured him back to the great state of Florida where he belongs.
-Coppertail’s building was once home to Hellman’s Mayonnaise, an olive cannery, and a refrigeration repair shop.
–The confessional located in the taproom is a play on ‘Unholy’, a seriously hopped up Trippel that would make a Trappist monk lose sleep. It’s so sacrilegious you’ll need to confess your sins after drinking one.
Overall Rating (1-5): I have been looking forward to visiting Coppertail for a long time. Everything I tried from them before my visit from a bar or beer festival was spot on and I’m happy to say they did not let me down. The beer, staff, and atmosphere of the taproom were delightful. I’m happily rating them a 4.75.
What was missing: Coppertail had the majority of beer styles on tap with literally something for everyone. If I had to get nitpicky though they didn’t have a Barleywine or a Scotch Ale available, which are two of my favorite styles. Of course in saying that I’m just being greedy. It’s not my fault, though. It’s the ‘Unholy Trippel’!
In closing, with so many breweries to choose from in Tampa and the surrounding areas, the Coppertail Brewing Company certainly stands out. It will be hard not to stop by when I’m in town for another brewery review.
Is there something else you would like to know about the Coppertail Brewing Company? Please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment below.