Yazoo Brewing Company’s Brandon Jones serves samples of Cassis Deux Rouges at Hunahpu Day in Tampa, Florida.

Brandon Jones fills a tasting glass with a few inches of Cassis Deux Rouges, a sour Flanders red ale that tastes of cherries and wine. In front of him, a line of 20-plus people wait to taste the Cassis. Some for the very first time.

“It’ s so exciting when someone walks up and says, ‘ this is fantastic! How have I never heard of you?’” said Jones, the so-called “Wrangler of Funk” at Tennessee’s Yazoo Brewing Company. Jones and Yazoo were one of more than 140 brewers gathered in Tampa, FL, this March for Hunahpu’ s Day. Now in its eighth year, the spring festival started as a way to celebrate the release of local brewery Cigar City Brewing‘s prized Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout.

Yazoo was one of 140 brewers that gathered in Tampa.

Today, Hunahpu’s Day is considered one of the country’ s premier craft beer events. More than 4,000 people gathered in downtown Tampa to sip and sample some of the best beers from around the globe. Like Jones’ Cassis.“I love doing these events,” Jones says while pouring beers and answering questions about yeast and bacteria. “I think people get a kick out of getting their beer directly from the people who make it.”

This is his third or fourth Hunahpu’s Day (who’ s counting?) and each year he says he is amazed by the quality of the beer, the camaraderie of the brewers, and the passion of the people who queue up at the festival gates hours before they open. “People are literally sprinting across the field to get a two-ounce sample of beer,” he says. “That shows you the passion that this festival brings out. The concentration of incredible brewers and incredible beers is something to behold.”

This year’ s Hunahpu’s Day may be over, but that doesn’ t mean the beer is done pouring in Tampa. Whether you come for next year’ s event or a weekend getaway, here are nine places you can’ t miss.

Cigar City Brewing. This is the brewery that put Tampa’ s beer scene on the map. Flavors like Jai Alai IPA and Cubano-Style Espresso Brown Ale pay homage to Tampa’ s rich Latin history, including a stint as the cigar capital of the world in the early 1900s. When it opened eight years ago, CCB (that’ s what the locals call it) quickly caught the attention of beer connoisseurs around the world. You’ ll find a rotating cast of about two dozen taps in the tasting room. Locals’ favorites include Invasion Pale Ale, a fruity mix of grapefruit, pine and malt flavors.

Angry Chair. Once a stretch of car lots and gas stations, the Heights area of Tampa is now home to some of the city’ s newest bars, breweries and restaurants. One of the popular stops in these neighborhoods just north of downtown is Angry Chair Brewing. Their approach is simple: Angry Chair brews beers they like to drink. Today, that’ s sessionable pale ales. Tomorrow? Who knows. The brewery hosts frequent bottle releases that have visitors and locals lining up around the building.

Fodder and Shine. Another popular stop on the Heights circuit is the restaurant Fodder and Shine. Here the specialty is pre-Depression-era Florida Cracker food. It tastes better than it sounds; trust us. Dishes like smoked mullet, bacon fat cornbread and Frito pie are served along with a rotating menu of Florida beers. Fodder and Shine is also praised for its creative cocktail menu. Try the Tear in my Beer, a mix of whisky, spiced pear and IPA foam.

Hidden Springs Ale Works. Located at the southern end of the Heights strip, Hidden Springs’ lineup includes Deja Moo, a milk stout brewed with cocoa nibs and chipotle peppers, and the Ginger Mullet, a citrusy red ale. The brewery is also quick to embrace seasonal ingredients like kumquats and citrus. When Hidden Springs opened in 2015, it was among the first businesses to popularize an area of town called “Yellow Brick Row”. A new meadery and food hall are set to open nearby in the coming months.

Hidden Springs Ale Works 

Southern Brewing and Winemaking. One of the smaller breweries in the bay area, Southern Brewing and Winemaking has about 20 craft beers, ciders and meads on tap. Batches are small and specialty brews go fast. The vibe at Southern is delightfully chill. Bring your beer into the large backyard for a round of cornhole or Connect Four. Or just make yourself at home by the fire pit. Southern Brewing and Winemaking is also a homebrewer’ s shop where you can load up on hops, yeast and carboys.

Coppertail Brewing. Located at the edge of Ybor City, Tampa’ s entertainment and historic center, Coppertail gets its name from a monster that supposedly lurks in the waters of Tampa Bay. Proudly Floridian, Coppertail uses local flavors like kumquat and grapefruit to craft its Free Dive IPA and the appropriately named Unholy Trippel (which boasts a 9.0 ABV). The recently renovated tasting room is a spacious and comfortable upgrade from its original headquarters on the lot next door. Bring your drink to one of the outdoor tables; there’ s bound to be a food truck nearby.

Cycle Brewing. Located just across the bay, the city of St. Petersburg is also home to a host of passionate brewers making delicious beers. Take Cycle Brewing, where beers like the Fixie session ale and Granny Gear lager play up the brewery’ s bike theme. Cycle also gets in on the Hunahpu’ s Day fun by holding its own release party for the Whiskey Barrel Aged Imperial Stout. Hundreds of people gathered before dawn to queue up in a several-block line for the 10% ABV special release.

Green Bench Brewing. Run by two proud grads of nearby St. Petersburg High, Green Bench Brewing was the first microbrewery to open in St. Pete. Their mission is to create easy to love beers like their highly hopped Green Bench IPA, made with citrus and a hint of tropical fruit. Then there’ s their Oak Fermented Sour Farmhouse Blend, which introduces drinkers to flavors like pink sage blossoms and marigolds.

St. Somewhere is a must visit on any craft beer aficionados list.

St. Somewhere Brewery. Up the road in Tarpon Springs, St. Somewhere brews small batches of traditional Belgian-style ales. All the beers here are unfiltered and re-fermented in their bottle. St. Somewhere’s Anne, a farmhouse saison, is a malty mix of citrus and grape flavors with a surprisingly clean finish. The Cynthiana keeps things interesting with notes of anise, flowers, grass, lemon and white pepper.

Helen Anne Travis is a writer based in Tampa, Florida