Name:  AR-160429348.jpg
Views: 331
Size:  99.2 KB

New brewery looks to add to Ybor’s beer, music culture - See more at:
Special Correspondent Published: April 27, 2016
YBOR CITY — Sweet-smelling cigar smoke and sounds of crowing roosters has long been a part of the Ybor City experience, but the taste of craft beer is cementing its place around the historic neighborhood.

Soon, Rock Brothers Brewing will be the newest spot in town to fill pints, growlers and kegs, but if you’re thinking the location will be a run-of-the-mill brewery complete with vacant warehouse décor, a thrown together cornhole game setup and a simple bar with draft beer, think again.

For years, Rock Brothers Brewing’s founders Tony Casoria and Kevin Lilly have made as many connections in the music industry as they have in the beer world. Long before shifting his career to festival planning — and beer — Lilly worked as a professional musician, playing guitar in various bands. These connections have helped the duo regularly collaborate with popular artists such as 311, Hootie and The Blowfish and Have Gun, Will Travel. The best part of these relationships is each band customizes a personal beer, which is brewed and canned in their honor.

It’s the pair’s homage to music, they say, that’s going to give the brewery an original atmosphere. For the past year, the duo has collected rock memorabilia, along with classic pinball machines, that will have a clear reflection on the vibe and feel of the brewery, which they envision as a mashup between the House of Blues and Cigar City Brewing.

The 10,000-square-foot building at 1901 North 15th Street was purchased last year, when the owners started renovating the brick building to handle both brewing equipment and large crowds. The space was formerly home to a novelty gift shop and a printing company.

Casoria says the 120-year-old building needed considerable plumbing and electric work, but construction shouldn’t slow down their deadline for an early fall opening.

Aside from some small construction headaches, everything is falling into place, the owners say. Just recently, the brewery received a license to serve full liquor, an option that few, if any breweries in the area can boast.

“We’re going to bring a different flavor to the area,” says Casoria. “There’s going to be a lot of reasons for a whole mix of people to check us out.”

If the full bar, live music, take-home growlers and on-site brewing of more than 9,000 barrels of beer a year isn’t enough, there is aways introduction of their “beertails” to pique the public’s interest.

Each of Rock Brothers’ beers will have a “beertail” option — think of a classic mixed drink, but with beer. For example, a Dark and Stormy — traditionally made with dark rum and ginger beer — could have a few different ingredients, including a rich stout, to add some kick.

Despite the company’s four years of brewing beer, the Ybor location will be its first on-site location. Since the start, Cigar City Brewing has provided them a place to brew their beer, free of charge.

“(Joey Redner, owner of Cigar City of Brewing) gave us the space to brew and never asked anything in return, he just wanted to see us grow,” said Casoria. “He helped our success and didn’t get anything out of it besides watching a small brewery grow. He cares that much about the movement of making good craft beer.”

In addition to the big name bands with their own themed beer, the brewery’s owners are anxious to use the building as a venue to showcase other rising stars.

The second-story stage, appropriately named “The Attic,” will be used as an intimate setting for live tunes. Rock Brothers is hoping to attract music lovers who might enjoy a show with the VIP-like experience of less than 200 patrons.

“It’s going to be like an ‘MTV Unplugged’ setting, with a story teller, café style vibe,” says Lilly. “It’s going to be an intimate feeling when someone like John Mayer is playing to a small crowd. There’s really nothing like it.”

Lilly hopes Thursday through Saturday nights will be a hit for large bands on national tours, while slower nights like Wednesdays and Sundays will create an opportunity for local talent.

The new location will be located in at 1901 N. 15th St. in Ybor City, Tampa. For information on the brewery, visit www.rockbrothers