Booth's Brewing outfits customers with quality beer- and wine-making supplies, from Briess dry malts to brew kettles by Blichmann Engineering. Hops-savvy staffers also guide students through the basics of crafting custom beers at home with beer-brewing classes. The sessions familiarize students with standard brewing equipment and ingredients, arming them with the theoretical and practical knowledge to successfully make beer at home without fitting their bathtub with a blowoff hose.
A towering wine rack spans an entire wall and glimmers with more than 1,000 bottles. Across the room, a lineup of nitrogen-regulated Enomatic machines dispenses samples from 80 wines to be sipped, swirled, and theatrically spit while reclining on a leather sofa, or while sitting at the long wooden bar. Small, shareable plates populate Sarasota Vineyard's menu in the forms of cheeses, roasted olives, and prosciutto-wrapped figs, ideal for pairing with wines or barley pops from a list of 20 beers.
As a part of its continuing mission to promote the cultural and economic impacts of independent filmmaking, the not-for-profit St. Petersburg–Clearwater Film Society hosts the annual Sunscreen Film Festival. Each day of the four-day festival packs in more than 12 hours of short- and feature-film screenings, as well as workshops on the filmmaking process, such as "Tips for Creating a Talking Picture." Local documentarians and producers of comedic shorts, genre pieces, or feature-length films showcase their work for eager audiences and industry professionals. Myriad workshops cover aspects of screenwriting and acting as well as promotional arts such as how to land an agent or how to use social media as an advertising and networking tool. Many nights also feature concerts and after parties, allowing auteurs, musicians, and audience members to mingle.
Chef Scott Vogel calls upon fresh, seasonal ingredients to inspire his dynamic dinner menu of European-spun sustenance. Practice your dish-passing skills before Thanksgiving by sharing some tasty tapas with your table, such as lump blue crab cakes, which come paired with spicy aioli and Asian slaw ($12), or pulled-duck quesadillas, which will pull at your stomach's heart strings with a symphony of meat, asiago cheese, and roasted peppers ($10). The bistro specializes in fresh fish dishes; opt for the wild-Norwegian-salmon entree ($16) if you have the appetite of a Viking or if your body's omega-1 and omega-2 fatty acids need a mediator. Diners that prefer a finless feast can savor a citrus-soy- marinated sirloin with chipotle balsamic glaze ($18), and vegetarians can indulge in the creamy wild-mushroom and grilled-vegetable risotto ($17). Complement your meal with something from the bar's ample selection of craft beers, specialty martinis, and wines by the bottle or glass.
Though most vintners have made their wines from grapes, the Shook family turned their focus to other fruits. Starting in 1991, they began fermenting batches of juice from mangoes, red raspberries, limes, and oranges. In 1997, they opened their farm winery—a small barn-shaped building shaded by trees—where licensed winemakers and distributors ferment and bottle dozens of varieties of exotic wines stamped with the Sunshine Tree, the Florida Department of Citrus's mark of quality. Their eclectic selection encompasses citrus, tropical-fruit, berry, stone-fruit, and vegetable wines, each made entirely from the juice indicated on the label. The winery also makes and distributes wine-smoothie mixes and wine pouches, sherries, ports, and champagnes.
Winner of two gold metals and five silver medals at the Indy International Wine Competition, the Florida Winery prepares its Vino Florida wine on-location and often infuses it with tropical fruits, including raspberries, strawberries, kiwis, and melons. Vino Florida's blends and traditional wines are sure to please both vino novices and difficult-to-impress wine connoisseurs alike. A bottle of the Vino Florida ORWI, a species of flavorful fermented Florida orange juice, arrives stuffed with enough fruit to stave off scurvy in malnourished sailors' monkeys ($14.99). Free wine tastings are offered at The Florida Winery store, so you can meet the winemakers and hone in a bottle that best complements your taste buds. The shop also concocts ice cream made from its own wine and stocks a diverse supply of gourmet foods sourced from the Sunshine State, including coconut candies, spices, salsas, and more.
Located mere steps from where Gulf fishermen dock, The Reef’s glass counters overflow with a bounty of fresh catches from the sea and meats flown in daily, complemented by a robust collection of wines. The warm, shallow waters of the Cedar Keys yield baskets of fresh clams (market price, changes daily), prized for their easy home preparation and for dumping over the heads of winning water-polo coaches. The mild, sweet meat of Florida spiny lobster (market price, changes daily) requires little in the way of spice or preparation to unlock its flavor, and thick filets of mahi mahi (market price, changes daily) await only the kiss of fire to provide a succulent meal. Bottles of wine ($5–$17) line the shelves, including the Tabali sauvignon blanc, which pairs nicely with fish, and the Puerto Viego pinot noir, whose full, palate-expanding flavors provide safe harbor for storm-wracked model ships.