TAMPA BAY BEER WEEK: Florida’s Sports Coast teams with Escape for signature brew

The “sunshine in a can” is available at several Pasco County locations.

The tourism bureau, Florida’s Sports Coast, is constantly brainstorming unique ways to promote its namesake destination — and have hit on a local beer that sums up the experience.

The beer is “a perfect sensory journey of who we are as a destination,” says Adam Thomas, Florida’s Sports Coast tourism director.

The Pasco County firm, which markets athletic attractions and outdoorsy adventures, also spotlights local businesses. It has teamed up Escape Brewing Company to create a signature beer called the Sports Coast pilsner.

Escape Brewing Company Instagram

“Our brands really aligned,” says Thomas, in a release by the bureau. “Florida’s Sports Coast is all about getting back to adventure, while [the brewery’s] name comes from wanting to escape from reality.”

The pilsner style is a pale lager originating from 1800s-era Bohemia. Its creation is credited to Bavarian brewer Josef Groll, who produced his beer in the town of Pilsen, now part of the Czech Republic. It is a fitting choice by Escape Brewing co-owners John McGregor and Matt Thompson, pairing well with light seafood, crisp salads and spicy dishes.

Or, refreshing and effervescent with notes of citrus, it can be enjoyed on its own.

“It’s like sunshine in a can,” says McGregor.

Escape Brewing Company was founded by McGregor and Thompson in 2014. It boasts a 2,400-square foot production facility and taproom in Trinity.

The Sports Coast pilsner is among the brewery’s highest-rated products on the craft beer social media network Untappd.

The pilsner’s signature graphic, seen on the 16-ounce cans as well as various co-branded merchandise items, features a kayaker and a coastal stilt house. It was created by Pasco County artist Veronica Steiner, the in-house graphic designer at Escape Brewing.

“It was important we created a cohesive look that perfectly blended both brands into one design,” says Thomas.

The Sports Coast pilsner is available at select Pasco County locations including Widow Fletcher’s, Ordinance One, Top Shelf and the Escape Brewing tasting room.

For now, the beer is a limited-run production. But there is a chance it could end up in Escape’s regular rotation.

“Our hope is to continue to brew the Sports Coast pilsner to provide residents and visitors alike with a unique way to enjoy Florida’s Sports Coast,” says Thomas. “Plus, what goes better with sports than beer?”