The Choir of Man is set in a British pub. The beer the pub is serving is distinctly Floridian.
In place of U.K. standbys Guinness Stout and Newcastle Brown is a brew reflective of the Sunshine State and the Tampa-based brewery that makes it. The beer, Sun Runner, was created and produced by Tampa’s highly-regarded Coppertail Brewing Company. It’s described as a tropical wheat ale flavored with pineapple and passion fruit.
“A fruited wheat ale that isn’t particularly sweet is a pretty accessible style of beer,” said Sam Bips of Coppertail. Sun Runner, he said, is “a beer that the average consumer would be into, even if they weren’t a huge beer fan.”
That’s an important consideration as the beer is shared with audience members who arrive before showtime to have a beer with the cast. Members of the audience are also chosen to come on stage for a beer during the performance. It might be some folks’ first craft beer. A light and refreshing quaff could be the gateway into a world of hops and malt and fruit and stone crabs.
Yes, stone crabs. Coppertail brews its Stone Crab Stout once a year, with 300 pounds of crustacean claws tossed in and boiled with the brew. If your eyebrow remains raised, know that reviews on craft beer forums are overwhelmingly positive.
Stone Crab Stout establishes three important elements of Coppertail: One, it dares to be different. From its innovative blends of flavors to the dark and distinctive artwork of its cans, Coppertail stands out in the crowded craft beer field.
Two, Coppertail is Floridian and proud. “Florida inspired. Tampa brewed” is its slogan, and the citrus and pine aromas of its best-selling Free Dive to its use of guava and pineapple, Coppertail celebrates the Sunshine State.
Third, Stone Crab Stout is part of Coppertail’s community involvement. A portion of the proceeds from this brew go to the Florida Keys Commercial Fisherman’s Association, an organization formed to promote sustainable fishing and help preserve the way of life of Florida fishermen. It’s one of several local and state nonprofits and service organizations Coppertail supports.
Like Stone Crab Stout, Sun Runner is “absolutely a very Florida inspired beer, as most of our beers are,” Sam said.
Coppertail’s brewers work with familiar beer types, such as IPAs (India Pale Ales), “that we tweak a little bit to make them really work for Florida,” Sam said.
“We take the IPA style and we do it in a way where it’s a little bit lighter, a little bit more crisp,” Sam said. “It still has all the hop character you’re looking for, but it’s not particularly bitter. We take that IPA style and do it in a Florida way.”
Sam and Coppertail are excited that their beer is part of The Choir of Man.
The partnership, Sam said, unites “two Tampa institutions.”
“I’m so glad that the team at The Straz thought of Coppertail and reached out to me when this opportunity showed up,” Sam said. “It’s a great partnership and it’s a really great experience, and anyone who goes to see The Choir of Man and drinks some of our beer is going to have a blast.”
The Choir of Man is on stage now through Dec. 10. Get tickets here.