10 of the Country’s Most Interesting Breweries
Cigar City Brewing at Tampa International Airport
When Hans Groberg starts his brew day, there can’t be spur-of-the-moment changes. No additions to the malt bill, no switching out hop varieties, and, if a piece of equipment falters, he’s got to improvise.
For Groberg, making beer requires at least a day of planning to allow for everything he uses—from ingredients to cleaning solutions—to pass through security and arrive on time to his 126-square-foot brewing space in the Airside C terminal of Tampa International Airport. Aptly titled “airport brewer,” Groberg oversees the first brewing location in the country inside such a space. On site, visitors can grab a bite to eat and choose from six Cigar City Brewing Co. beers, including one rotating tap that features beers brewed by Groberg on a 1.5-barrel system.
“I used to take yeast from our main location, but TSA decided they didn’t like that because it looked suspicious bringing in a gallon carboy of this mystery sludge,” says Groberg, who took over as airport brewer in May 2016. “We had to make the switch over to dry yeast.”
Since Cigar City’s satellite brewery opened in 2012, more than 130 batches of beer have been made at the Tampa airport, most of which have been one-offs only available at the brewpub. In recent months, Groberg has made a pumpkin spice stout and New England-style IPA. It’s a different kind of airport attraction for the estimated 10,000 people who pass through the terminal each day.
“We get to be the first thing travelers see when they land or the last piece of vacation as they go out,” says Justin Clark, chief operating officer. –Bryan Roth