About Alafia Brewing Co.
The Alafia Brewing Co. was started in the beginning of 2018 when a couple friends and local brewers sat down and decided to form a new brewery that focused on producing beautifully crafted, award winning beers. The Taylors are accomplished home brewers that had won dozens of awards over the years for their exceptional beers and Dan brought the experience, passion and flare needed to create a truly new concept that sets them apart.
As they started the journey to find a home for this new venture, Gibsonton’s rich and colorful history, made it the perfect place to create a new facet in the craft beer industry here in Tampa. Their friendly staff and cast of cirque performers bring a lively and daring twist to the traditional taproom experience that’s unique, fun and family friendly.
The founding partners...
George and Mary Taylor
Throughout college and my early working life, beer was the social drink that most of us could afford. The shelves of available brands were many, or so we thought. The usual range of brands like Bud, Schlitz, Miller, Ballantine, Black Label, Hamms, Falstaff, Old Milwaukee and others were the faire of the day. We were told and believed that we were drinking the finest brews in the land.
Many still view it that way, but in 1994, something happened…to me at least. That’s the year we attended a party hosted by one of Mary’s friends who happen to be trying out one of those homebrew kits where they sell the extracts for the different types of beer you could brew. Our host presented us with a Cherry-Mocha Stout….BOOM! For a novice craft beer drinker, flavor was fantastic! I sat with him for a while that night and he explained how he did it. From our conversation, it wasn’t much different from the winemaking I had done while in my early twenties.
Christmas 1994, Mary presented me with my own extract kit with a 2 ½ gallon plastic barrel. Even though I made a mess in the kitchen, my first batch turned out rather well. From that point on, I was on a flavor safari to see what I could turn out. As I shared with others, I soon needed to make multiple batches. That’s when I began to notice that not all the batches tasted the same. I read what I could and tried to find other people who were brewing, but most of them were as in the weeds as I was.
The answer to my quest for consistency came from joining a homebrew club and having a couple of mentors work with me. For a time, I stayed with extract brewing and steadily improved my process control. During the meetings, both extract and all grain brewing were discussed. It was during one of those discussions that I met Dan Castanera. He and a handful of others encouraged us to switch to all grain brewing for the freedom of flavors it gave us.
It was also at one of the club meetings (that I dragged Mary to) that we learned that we could serve our beer to the public to which Mary responded, “ We could do that?” Since the festivals wanted 5 gallons from each brewer, we invested in all grain brewing equipment and started brewing together. We began to grow in our knowledge of beer styles with each festival we attended. With our attention to detail and process beginning to show promise, we joined the competition group within the club. For us, that held us closer to a strict process of development and self-education.
Beginning in 2010, we began completing in intra-club monthly competitions and were encouraged to compete in state-wide competitions. And Mary replied “We can do that?” With that, we became competition brewers! What competing with other brewers did for us was the evaluation of everything from beer style to flavor to process to recipe. Judges in the competitions strive to aid the brewer on how to create better beer through better recipes and process control, so egos have no place in how beer stands. Over the next couple of years, I honed every recipe we submitted. Mary became an accomplished brewer in her own right and honed the processes that we used even further.
During the 2013 Florida Beer Competition circuits, our first medal came from the First Coast Competition. From then on, we worked steadily on competitions from the Midwest to the Far West. In all, we have garnered more than 70 medals and accomplishments to date.
Having won the respect of the craft beer producers and homebrewers alike, the most important judge of our efforts is you. We hope that you enjoy our small batch beers, ciders, meads and wines.
My passion for beer truly began when I was in Europe. When I came back to the states after nearly a year of full bodied, flavorful beers from England and Germany, it was hard to find a good, go to beer when I was out. Thankfully the craft beer movement finally exploded and I was starting to see a lot more options.
Now, Beer is my life! Once I learned how to make beer all those years ago, I never looked back. From the early days of Water to Fire Brewers Collective in Valrico with D.I.Y. Brew Supply and the start of Bootleggers Brewing and almost a year with Bullfrog Creek and now finally it all comes to fruition with Alafia Brewing Co. I get to put my knowledge and passion for the industry to work so we can create fun, exciting beers that are not only different but special.
My love of music, theater and performance arts helped spark the concept behind our tasting room. We’re really trying to capture the essence of Gibsonton and want our guests to feel the warmth and vibe that make this place so unique. For years, this was a refuge for Americas favorite sideshow performers and that spirit lives on. So no matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like, you are accepted and welcome here.