This is a guest post by Laura Gilstrap. Photographs by Jennifer Ring.
New local breweries are always exciting, and the good news for us Floridians is that our state has one of the fastest-growing beer industries in the country. Brewers Association, a craft brewing trade group, ranked the Sunshine State fifth for the number of craft breweries opened in 2015. Typically, every brewery offers their staple beers; on tap, there will likely be an IPA, an Amber Ale, and typically a Lager which helps promote the approachability of the brewery to the public. However, it is oftentimes the “story behind the beer” or “labor-of-love” beers that stand out on a menu and really aid in showcasing a brewery’s style and personality. Stilt House Brewery, a recent addition to Florida’s craft beer scene, has been brewing unique and wholesome beers since October 5, 2013.
Stilt House Brewery, located on the Pinellas Trail in Palm Harbor, FL (yes folks, you can exercise AND drink!), is locally owned by the lovely couple, Al and Peggy Dakoff. Al and Peggy then enlisted long-time brewers and beer-creating geniuses, Sean Greelish and Clinton Sallee. Sean, a down-to-earth guy with a wealth of beer knowledge, used his talents to design the casual beach-vibe tap room which sits strategically adjacent to a wall of windows, allowing tap-room patrons to overlook the colorful strobe-lit brewery.
Last month, Dakota Harbert, my good friend & colleague at Craft Street Kitchen Oldsmar, and Stilt House Brewery intern, invited me to witness the brewing of a collaborative new beer between Craft Street Kitchen Oldsmar and Stilt House Brewery. The goal of the Pinellas County duo was to brew a robust, yet soft and floral, one-of-a-kind Saison Pale Ale. Head brewer, Sean Greenlish’s vision was to brew a Saison that was unique to the bay area, flavorful, and appealing to all types of beer enthusiasts. Sean and his team experimented with multiple ingredients, eventually developing a Saison Pale Ale brewed with from a mixture of sterling and target hops. With a delicious sweet touch of jasmine and the wonderful spicy and funky taste of a true Belgian Saison, this brew possesses a lovely balance of zesty and fresh floral notes, coupled with a mild peppery jasmine flavor.
In keeping with the “drink local” theme, Craft Street Kitchen thought it would be great if the new collaborative brew was named by one of the local community’s beer lovers. An Instagram contest ran by @CSKOldsmar asked followers to submit their best suggestions for the collaborative Saison Pale Ale. Many loyal followers entered, but Matt Quiggins was victorious with his entry of “Stilt Street Saison.”
The new Stilt Street Saison is currently on tap at both Craft Street Kitchen Oldsmar and Stilt House Brewery.