If you were to list the best beer states, Florida would likely not rank very high. The great Tampa Bay-based Cigar City Brewing is aware of this reputation while also fighting against it. From the "Tampa Bay Brewing History" essay on their website, to the first line of their About page (which acknowledges their state is better known for theme parks), to beers with names like Florida Cracker, to the many Florida-centric ingredients they use, Cigar City is deliberately inseparable from their home state. It's a mutually beneficially relationship. Florida gives Cigar City a unique identity and Cigar City, with their hundreds of unique beers released since opening in 2009, has seriously elevated Florida's beer reputation.
We talked to Cigar City's Vice President Justin Clark while writing Make Some Beer: Small-Batch Recipes from Brooklyn to Bamberg, so check out our book outtake if you want to more about some of the brewery's most experimental beers.