On 1/29/14 we trekked west from where we were staying in Tampa to explore the beautiful ocean-side city of Dunedin, FL. We started off with a stop by 7venth Sun Brewery where we met with brewer Megan O’Boyle who was in the middle of a brew day and beginning the boil. She was kind enough right off the bat to offer to let me get my brewing feet wet by adding the first hop addition, which I gladly accepted. 7venth Sun opened on January 7th 2012 and had just celebrated their two year anniversary a few weeks before our visit. The brewery is the brainchild of Devon Kreps and Justin Stange who both have a range of previous brewing experience. Devon graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in fermentation science before working at Anheuser-Busch then Sweetwater in Atlanta, GA. Justin also brewed at Sweetwater as well as local Tampa brewery Cigar City. The focus at 7venth Sun is on wood sour aged beers but they also brew a range of Belgian styles, IPAs, spirit barrel aged beers, and culinary inspired creations. When I asked Meagan about the motivation for recipes, she replied, “We brew what we like.”
Megan, who is also Chairperson for Tampa Bay Beer Week, showed us the brewing space which consists of a 3.5 bbl brewhouse with two 3.5 bbl and four 7 bbl fermenters. The brewery has a small amount of keg distribution throughout the Tampa Bay and Orlando areas but, having brewed only about 850 bbl this past year, most sales occur through their appealing on-site taproom. Last year they began utilizing bottles for certain small batches which are filled by hand and sold on site. 375 mL bottles of Bretta Off Dead – a 100% Brettanomyces bruxellensis fermented Belgian Wit beer with coriander, cardamom, and orange peel – are available now and, intriguingly, the label is a painting done by owner Devon. Devon’s father has been involved with creating much of the brewery’s other artwork, including the logo. 7venth Sun takes craft beer seriously and all bartenders are Cicerone certified. Both owners are still very involved in recipe creation and currently brewer Mike heads up the experimental pilot program. From what we gathered during our short stay, the brewery is constantly testing out new approaches so each visit could result in a unique flavor experience. They are looking into expanding – the barrel aging program is limited by their current small space – but would like to remain local and would still maintain the current facility after a larger space is located.
With the experimental, rotating nature in the brewhouse, it would be difficult to cover all of the beer styles produced so I will just focus on what was on tap during our visit. Many of these creations are crisp and refreshing, utilizing local ingredients and pair well with a warm Florida day. The bestselling beer is the Graffiti Orange (creamsicle wheat) which is made with orange peel, vanilla bean and lactose. Additional citrus inspired beers include the Key Lime Time Bomb IPA – a tweaked version of their Time Bomb session IPA featuring Nelson and Citra hops – and the Light Fuse Get Away brewed with Mosaic and Citra hops, utilizing 150lb of zested and juiced blood oranges in the batch. FYA (no that’s not a new style abbreviation, it stands for f*** yeah) is an extra pale ale. Amping up the IBUs is the complex Mangrove Double IPA. Aside from the aforementioned Bretta off Dead, 3 additional Brett inspired beers were on tap that day: Glass House amber, Throwing Stones amber with Nelson hops, and I Wanna Riot IPA brewed with Mosaic hops. The brewery is also well known for a variety of Berliner Weisse style beers created with the likes of watermelon, strawberry, kiwi cherry, dragon fruit, and more.
7venth Sun hosts a variety of events starting off with their anniversary parties that boast an impressive tap list. In addition, Hunahpu’s Hangover Day is a celebration of barrel aged beers held during Tampa Bay Beer Week following Cigar City’s Hunahpu imperial stout release. This past year they hosted a Halloween party, Night of the Living Brett, with a Brett inspired costume contest that stimulated a lot of creativity from the local patrons.
The taproom consists of 10 taps and is open Tues-Thurs 2pm-12am, Fri-Sat 12pm-12am, and Sun 12pm – 10pm. The flavors pouring out of this small storefront brewery are truly unique and inspired. Generously priced beer samples are available from the knowledgeable bartenders in 4oz, 12oz, and 16oz pours and certain beers are available for growler fills. Guest taps are on rotation, providing the opportunity to try out beers from other Florida breweries. Come to Dunedin and explore the outdoors with a short trip over to the beautiful Honeymoon and Caladesi Islands then wind down at the brewery and enjoy a couple hand crafted beers on the patio. A big thank you to Meagan, Mike, and Kat for their kindness, hospitality, and for sharing their knowledge of 7venth Sun Brewery.
Author: Brandon Wurtz