That was my reaction on a recent trip to Tampa with Herr Hordeum to visit his progenitors. The “what” was a Cigar City brewpub. The “where” was Airside Terminal C of the Tampa International Airport.

Regular Aleheads may recognize Cigar City from coverage of previous Tampa adventures, or, if you’re lucky, from drinking a Jai Alai IPA or the coveted Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout. The enterprising folks at this pillar of craft brewing recently teamed up with TIA and four other local restaurants* as part of a $6 million concessions renovation to jazz up the Tampa air travel experience. Herr and I were excited enough about the prospect of not eating lunch at a Chili’s and paying $7.50 for a Sam Adams on our way back to the Midwest that we actually got to the airport early. To hang out. In the terminal. I know.

*No. Not Hooters., when I called this enterprise a brewpub, I really do mean it.  In addition to providing a full menu of amazingly delicious Cuban and Cuban-inspired dishes, they have a 1.5-barrel brewhouse and two 3-barrel fermentors. They actually brew an exclusive beer onsite, the Tony Jannus Extra Pale Ale (named for the first commercial pilot; solid, refreshing, and great pre-takeoff relaxer). Also on tap were the Hotter Than Helles Lager, Jai Alai, and a seasonal, the Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Stout (probably my new best favorite pumpkin beer).

Are we witnessing a paradigm shift? Will offering reasonably-priced local craft brews in airports catch on? Will Aleheads begin to make travel plans based on what rare brews are available during their layovers? Only time will tell.

Lady Jay


  1. Thanks for the headsup… Now that Southwest has eaten Airtran and the soulcrusher known as Delta is the only game into Sarasota from Atlanta, I might as well fly the soulcrusher into/out of Tampa and know that I’ll at least get some good beer pre-flight…

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